Adopt a Potter launches Clay College Stoke Crowdfunder

Mugs - photo by Florian Gadsby

Photo by Florian Gadsby

The Adopt a Potter charitable trust has launched a Crowdfunder to raise £20,000 towards the £200,000 total needed to open Clay College Stoke, a not-for-profit, independent training college set up by potters for the new generation of students.

Building on the success of the apprenticeship scheme and developing their remit, Clay College Stoke will be the UK’s first skills-based, independent institution to focus on teaching a new generation of potters the essential skills they require to make a living from their craft. Students will be taught by world renowned potters who share a passion for keeping this tradition alive.

Here’s Lisa Hammond MBE and Chair of Adopt a Potter, who you can also hear speak, along with her apprentice Florian Gadsby, at this years HCA Conference on 6 May 2017 (click here to book).



University of Lincoln uses virtual reality to provide experience of heritage crafts

The University of Lincoln has developed a new system to use virtual reality technology to train young blacksmiths, saying that it wants to get more people involved in trades that are in danger of disappearing. Using their virtual blacksmith’s forge, users can experience the basic principles behind blacksmithing, and the hope is that young people might go on to take it up for real.

Click on the video below to play (UK only)

iPlayer story on University of Lincoln


Eventually the university hopes to develop a virtual village that will allow users to experience a whole range of traditional crafts, and even receive one-to-one training from experts all over the world. The Heritage Crafts Alliance (set up in North Yorkshire in 2011 to focus on building crafts, and not to be confused with us) are quoted in the Look North report as supporting the project.

Heritage crafts need to embrace technology and new sections of society if they are to survive and this development look very interesting, though for me the sensation of actually being present in the environment and the interaction with the materials are vital factors in the lure of heritage crafts, and it will be a long time before technology can replicate this. If this is to become a teaching tool, is it even possible to convey the types of tacit knowledge that make up these craft skills without these sensuous factors present?

HCA welcomes new Trustee

c44a7071-f680-426b-a8ab-7788f1e622f5The HCA is thrilled to welcome onto the board a new Trustee, Richard Hefford-Hobbs.

Richard is a member of the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers and has a particular interest in intangible heritage skills, and is very keen to raise their profile and preserve them for future generations. Although Richard actively researches the area, by day he runs an engineering firm in Cambridge.

New Ernest Cook funded project

New Ernest Cook funded project

The HCA has been awarded a grant from the Ernest Cook Trust to pilot a new programme of pre-apprenticeships in countryside crafts in West Somerset.

Three craftspeople will be selected to each take on three young people over the course of six weeks to get a taste of what it would be like to have a career in heritage crafts. This project will compensate the craftspeople fairly for their time, as well as providing the students with a transferable basic-level NVQ qualification in employability skills.

The programme will provide a framework for more accredited pre-apprenticeships and full apprenticeships in heritage crafts in the South West and the rest of the UK.

January 2017 update:

Three crafts practitioners have been selected to host the nine pre-apprentices. They are:

  • Jim Patterson – papermaker
  • Sarah Webb – basketmaker
  • Marc Cox – green woodworker and charcoal maker

SEPE accreditation training, provided by Superact CIC, is taking place on 15 February 2017, with pre-apprenticeships commencing shortly thereafter. There are still training places available for young people between 16 and 21 – click here for more details.

Two new craftspeople honoured

531b41a9-469c-4f51-90aa-f52e96c33b16We are delighted that two members nominated by the HCA have been recognised in the New Years honours list. Brighton-based Jane Short is an enameller, specialising in individual pieces of enamelled silverware and jewellery. Jane has been awarded an MBE.

Also awarded an MBE is Roger Bucknall, for services to guitar making, music and heritage crafts. Roger handcrafts instruments in his Cumbrian workshop, Fylde Guitars. He has made instruments for Bob Dylan, Keith Richards and Sting, amongst others. Congratulations, both!