William and Mary Corcoran Award for Excellence in Functional Craft

Craft Ontario patrons William and Mary Corcoran established this award in 2023 to support the practices of mid-career craft artists who focus on creating functional work for everyday use. The education and support Mary Corcoran received as a student at Sheridan College made a great impact on her life, and it is fitting that William and Mary are providing ongoing support to craft as an area of the arts that has greatly enriched their lives.

In 1880, English textile designer William Morris stated: “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” His vision was driven by the belief that holistic human experience must include creative expression. During a time of industrialization and goods produced in poor conditions, Morris sought to conserve traditional skills, respect for artists, and to advocate for improved social and environmental conditions. With the intention to revive a collaboration between art and design, Morris championed handmade objects that are beautiful and meaningful, and that are achieved through the use of local materials and creative originality.

Acknowledging the challenges faced, and the dedication required to sustain a creative practice for many years, this award celebrates the remarkable ability for craft artists to make everyday life meaningful through beautiful functional objects.

The Craft Awards program is able to take place on an annual basis through the valued support of many generous donors and sponsors. Our thanks go to the following organizations, businesses and individuals: JJStudioLeisa Rich and the Contemporary Textile Studio Co-opThe Pottery Supply House, Tuckers Pottery Supplies Ltd., FUSION: the Ontario Clay and Glass Association, Lacy West Supplies. Ltd., as well as members and friends of the Mather, Farndale, Copeland, Walker, Gregor, McPherson, and Yung families.


Anne Barros You are what you eat with sterling silver aluminum baroque pearl ivory bead patinated copper 2000. Photo  Tracy Clare

An example of functional work by Craft Ontario member Anne Barros, You are what you eat with, sterling silver, aluminum, baroque pearl, ivory bead, patinated copper, 2000. Photo by Tracy Clare.

Who We Are

Formerly the Ontario Crafts Council, Craft Ontario is a not-for-profit service organization that works to have craft recognized as a valuable part of life. We promote and celebrate professional craft through providing member opportunities, and advocate for craft practice by educating and empowering diverse audiences.