Rosy Greenlees awarded OBE for her crafty career in Pentonville Road

Rosy Greenlees OBE, executive director of the Crafts Council. Picture: Crafts Council

Rosy Greenlees OBE, executive director of the Crafts Council. Picture: Crafts Council - Credit: Archant

From Pentonville Road, Rosy Greenlees plots and schemes... to promote the joys of craft. After her OBE award last week, the executive director of the Crafts Council spoke to the Gazette.

Rosy Greenlees is made an OBE by Prince William at Buckingham Palace on Thursday. Picture: Dominic L

Rosy Greenlees is made an OBE by Prince William at Buckingham Palace on Thursday. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Walking down Pentonville Road from Angel station, have you ever noticed a grand chapel on your right? It’s the home of the Crafts Council, where Rosy Greenlees has been executive director since 2006.

On Thursday, she was at Buckingam Palace as Prince William presented her an OBE for services to craft.

When thinking about the work of registered charities, the Crafts Council is probably not foremost in your mind. But Ms Greenlees insists the Council, a national organisation, has a huge role to play.

She says: “Craft is worth £3.4billion in GVA [gross value added], so it has huge worth to our economy. It’s especially the case in London, as there are so many people making things. And making things also has massive social and cultural value.


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“As executive director, I am responsible for overseeing our work across the country to promote craft. This ranges from lobbying the government to supporting small businesses.”

Ms Greenlees started her career as a curator in regional galleries and on major public art projects. In the early 2000s, she was the cultural strategy manager responsible for Mayor of London Ken Livingstone’s first culture strategy for the capital.

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As well as the Crafts Council in Pentonville Road, Ms Greenlees is also president of the World Crafts Council, and says: “It really doesn’t matter where you are, whether it’s Asia or Latin America, craft is important across the world.”

But that’s not to say she overlooks her immediate community: “We are actually planning to do more work in Islington. Obviously, we work as a national organisation, but getting involved with the local community is really important to us.

“It’s why we are looking to open a new space on the ground floor of our building, so we have an inviting place to display work and host community groups and schools.”

Of her day at the Palace, Ms Greenlees adds: “It was fantastic, an absolutely brilliant experience. When I was named in the New Year Honours list, I was surprised but most of all it was a feeling of pride for the Crafts Council and what we as a group have done over the last few years.”

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