Once in a lifetime opportunity to become the next in a historic line of chair makers

Once in a lifetime opportunity to become the next in a historic line of chair makers

An amazing opportunity has come up for two people to learn from one of the country’s top traditional craftspeople and carry forward an important traditional craft.

Lawrence Neal has spent his life making rush seated chairs, a trade he learned from his father Neville, who in turn learned from Edward Gardiner. Gardiner had learned from the famous architect and designer Ernest Gimson who had was taught by country chairmaker Philip Clissett. Lawrence is now approaching retirement and is looking to pass on his skills, knowledge and tools many of which were originally owned by Gimson.

Heritage Crafts Association supporter Hugo Burge has taken a personal interest in Lawrence’s chairs and is going to fund the training process for Lawrence to pass his skills on. Not only that but once the successful new chairmakers are trained he can provide a workshop and subsidised accommodation on the Marchmont Estate in Scotland… all-in-all a once in a lifetime opportunity for the right person.

Hugo said:

“I fell in love with the Ernest Gimson’s Bedales Library and its chairs over 20 years ago when I bought six Bedales chairs from Lawrence Neal in 1994. Much more recently, I have been working with Lawrence Neal, who continues to make rush seated chairs today in a 100 year tradition from Ernest Gimson, still using Gimson’s tools. We are now looking for two individuals to learn from Lawrence directly (as apprentices), in Stockton, Warwickshire for one to two years, before moving the whole workshop up to Marchmont House stables in Berwickshire to let Lawrence retire and take the business forwards within a charitable structure.

The business will generate a good living and offers the opportunity to grow and evolve, with an incredible lineage, using the actual tools of Ernest Gimson from Daneway – one of Britain’s greatest architect designers and pioneers of The Arts and Crafts Movement. There will be a base salary and the opportunity to grow your income, taking subsidised accommodation on the Marchmont Estate when you establish the workshop. This is a unique opportunity to build and create a new legacy; a new chapter of chairmaking – it will require commitment and long term dedication, so will be highly selective and not for everyone, but for two people with a real passion for taking the legacy of this traditional process into the twenty first century…..it will be ideal”

If you think this may suit you, contact the Heritage Crafts Association administrator.

Crafts for the Future – HCA Conference 2018

Crafts for the Future – HCA Conference 2018

  • Saturday 24 March 2018
  • Royal Society of Medicine, Wimpole Street, London

We are pleased to announce that HCA Patron and ceramics producer Emma Bridgewater will be amongst our keynote speakers at our 2018 conference Crafts for the Future. After lunch we will be celebrating the winners and runners up of this year’s Heritage Crafts Awards sponsored and funded by QEST, The Arts Society and the Marsh Christian Trust. In the afternoon session we’ll be hearing from selected makers on the HCA/Radcliffe Red List of Endangered Crafts.

Keynote speakers

  • Emma Bridgewater, ceramics producer and HCA Patron
  • Sam Walton, Hole & Corner magazine
  • Paul Martin, TV presenter and HCA Patron

Afternoon speakers from the HCA Radcliffe Red List critically endangered category:

  • Martin Frost, fore-edge painter
  • Skelton Saws. saw makers
  • Wim Visscher, parchmenter
  • Jojo Wood, apprentice clog maker and wood worker
  • Jacob Moss, curator of the Fan Museum

Download the full programme here

 

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
  • Stefan Jennings – green woodworker

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.