Two fortunate trainees, Ellen Wood and Tony Hassett, learned the traditional craft skills of gilding on the Cutty Sark ship in Greenwich on 6th and 7th August.
Master craftswoman Rachael Linton demonstrated the skills and explained the processes and techniques. Tony and Ellen were able to gild individual letters and some of the ‘Gingerbread’ of the Cutty Sark under Rachael’s supervision. The project was very kindly funded by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths.
Rachael was being employed to do the gilding by Campbell Smith & Co., a historic repair and restoration company which is undertaking repairs to the ‘Gingerbread’: repairing and remaking some of the carvings and then finishing them with gold leaf (gilding).
Here Rachael is showing how to gild the letters:
Ellen tries it herself:
And now Tony:
The letters before being cleaned up:
Then on to the ‘Gingerbread’:
Some of the decorative items had been removed for ease of gilding. Here the backing sheet is being removed from the gold leaf:
Ellen applies the adhesive:
Tony helps to finish the gilding:
The completed gilding; note the soft brush to remove the excess gold leaf:
And all this was filmed by Bruno Sorrentino for the Heritage Crafts Association’s DVD on Gilding.
The Heritage Crafts Association is most grateful not only to the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths for their generosity, but also to Rachael Linton for passing on the skills, Campbell Smith & Co, Cutty Sark Museum, Royal Museums Greenwich, Ellie Birkhead the project manager, Bruno Sorrentino the filmer and maker of the DVD and the HCA’s own Laura Southall, Projects Trustee.
Photographs: Ellie Birkhead
BBC Two is making a new history series about British industry and craft, and is looking for skilled craftspeople in the following disciplines to take part:
- Blacksmithing, metalwork or silversmithing NOW FULL
- Ceramics NOW FULL
- Glassblowing NOW FULL
- Shoemaking or leatherwork
- Textiles NEW
The series is part documentary and part living-history, telling the story of traditional British industries and crafts and the places that are renowned for them… think Staffordshire pottery, or Sheffield steel.
The programme makers are putting together a group of six skilled artisans, from those at the start of their careers, to those who are highly accomplished.If you are enthusiastic about learning the history of your cra ft, you will get the opportunity to learn from historic experts, and create a number of products, which represent the rich heritage of crafts in Britain.
Filming takes place over the summer and this is a paid opportunity. For more details contact Kate O’Brien on 020 8222 4995 / email@example.com.
Basket maker Hilary Burns has been named Maker of the Year in the 2018 Heritage Crafts Awards. Hilary won the award in recognition of her work on numerous projects that have put British basket making and heritage crafts at the centre of public consciousness.
Projects include ‘Baskets of the British Isles’, an installation of 52 styles of traditional British baskets hanging over the lobby bar of the Whitby Hotel in Manhattan, the ‘Our House’ project at Selfridges, and a unique class in pigeon basket making for the University of Hertfordshire’s Basketry ‘Then and Now’ project, which looked at the role of basketry in World War One.
Maker of the Year was one of six awards presented at the Heritage Crafts Association’s (HCA) annual conference, Crafts for the Future, at the Royal Society of Medicine on 24 March.
Green woodworker Steve Tomlin won the HCA/Marsh Endangered Craft Award. This new award, set up with the support of the Marsh Christian Trust, recognises a practitioner of one of the 62 crafts currently listed in the ‘critically endangered’ or ‘endangered’ categories of the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts. Steve, a spoon carver, ash basket maker and scything tutor will use his award to learn to make Devon stave baskets (maunds), a critically endangered craft with no current practitioners or trainees.
Devon-based Green Shoes was awarded the HCA/Marsh ‘Made in Britain’ Award. Started in 1981 by a group of young women passionate about making strong, beautiful, long-lasting shoes, the business has been listed in the top 15 shoemakers in the world for its ethical standards.
HCA/Marsh Trainer of the Year is bookbinder Kathy Abbott. Kathy currently teaches advanced level Fine-Binding in Vellum at City Lit in London as well as giving one-to-one fine-binding workshops across the UK.
The Marsh Volunteer of the Year Award went to Suzy Bennett for her work creating the Dartmoor Artisan Trail. Suzy set up the trail to provide rural craft businesses with a new income from tourism, spending 18 months working on the project on a voluntary basis. The trail was named by the Daily Telegraph as one of the UK’s best travel experiences of 2017.
Paper maker Zoe Collis won The Arts Society/HCA Heritage Crafts bursary which she will use to continue her training at Two Rivers Paper in Somerset. Zoe, a former participant in the HCA’s pre-apprenticeship project funded by the Ernest Cook Trust, was one of only a few successful applicants on the national paper making Trailblazer apprenticeship scheme. She will use the bursary to help pay for the costs of her qualification, which is only part-funded by the government.
During the conference, vellum maker Wim Visscher MBE, rush worker Felicity Irons BEM and flint knapper John Lord BEM were awarded with certificates to mark their inclusion in The Queen’s Birthday Honours Lists in 2017. All three were nominated for their awards by the Heritage Crafts Association.
Speakers at the conference included ceramics producer Emma Bridgewater, TV presenter Paul Martin, and Sam Walton, creative director of Hole and Corner magazine. The event, which focused this year on the future of heritage crafts, brought together craftspeople and enthusiasts from all over the UK to hear from makers and celebrate the best in the country.
The Heritage Crafts Awards celebrate and highlight the traditional living crafts made in the UK that contribute to our national heritage. Applications for the next round of awards and bursaries open on 1 September. For more details about this year’s awards, visit awards.heritagecrafts.org.uk.
BA (Hons) Textile in Practice students documenting drawings and textile samples
The Heritage Crafts Association is delighted to be working with Manchester School of Art on its forthcoming project, Endangered Crafts. Over the next nine weeks, students from across Unit X are being challenged to respond to the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts. The list will be used by students as the starting point for creative response. Students will be tasked with developing contemporary objects, artefacts and artworks in response to the heritage craft skills, materials and processes identified in the Red List. It is also anticipated that students will draw out some of the rich heritage craft stories and narratives, as well as highlighting some of the pressing issues that place traditional skills under such threat.
Material investigations, BA (Hons) Three Dimensional Design
Manchester School of Art’s Unit X is an award-winning unit of study that brings together students from across the art school in collaborative activity. Working with external partners, Unit X provides an opportunity for students to experience real world scenarios through collaboration with external agencies. This year, the Endangered Crafts project brings together students from Three Dimensional Design, Textiles in Practice, Fine Art, Interactive Arts, Filmmaking, Interior Design and Fashion. Throughout the project, students will work in design teams, utilising skills already gained in ceramics, glass, metalwork, product design and digital design, as well as weave, print, embroidery, painting, sculpture and film making, to develop their projects. Outcomes are expected to be varied, vibrant and innovative; challenging creative norms and establishing new approaches to contemporary object making that is part of Manchester School of Art’s own rich heritage.
The project will be launched on Monday 5 March 2018 with a keynote lecture delivered by HCA Trustee Greta Bertram, who will return in May to see the exhibition of final outcomes.
Unit X website | Unit X blog | Unit X Twitter | BA (Hons) Three Dimensional Design blog
Zoe Collis, new apprentice at Two Rivers Paper Mill
When we set out on our Ernest Cook Trust funded Countryside Crafts Pre-apprenticeship project last year our main aim was to trial low-risk opportunities for heritage crafts businesses and young people to come together to explore the possibility of apprenticeship-style training. It was founded on the premise that while many heritage crafts businesses know that their long-term sustainability depends on taking on young people, when they are working hard to make ends meet then investing the time in a young person they don’t know can be a risk if there’s a chance it might not go anywhere.
We are delighted therefore that not only have we had the chance to trial these kind of encounters and have written a guidance document for other organisations who wish to do similar (available here), but amazingly one of our placements has resulted in a full-time apprenticeship for Zoe Collis at Two Rivers Paper Mill on Exmoor in Somerset.
Zoe will be one of a select few nationally to be taking part in the Crafts Trailblazer scheme for paper making, a three-year programme incorporating on-the-job training, day release at a local college to achieve Performing Engineering Operations accreditation and a bespoke model of Business Improvement Techniques. There will be six visits over two years to other mills around the country to receive the final Level 3 qualification. Two Rivers Paper owner Jim Patterson said:
We have seen the future… and it ‘s called Zoe… I’m really pleased with the way [she] is settling in. Gaining in confidence, starting to work independently and beginning to make a real contribution.
We are so grateful to the Ernest Cook Trust for funding this project, without which this opportunity would never have come about, and Project Manager Tracy Hill for delivering such a good outcome. We look forward to following Zoe through her new career as a paper maker!
Heritage crafts have received royal recognition and high honour with three craftspeople included in The Queen’s Birthday Honours Lists this year.
Vellum maker Wim Visscher has been awarded an MBE. Wim is owner of William Cowley, producers of hand-crafted parchment and vellum since 1870, and the last parchment and vellum makers left in the UK. Wim said:
It is a great honour and privilege to be recognised in this way. My father, grandfather and great grandfather, all parchment makers before me, would be amazed if they were here. I am particularly grateful to the Heritage Crafts Association for putting my name forward as a potential recipient for an honour of which I was entirely ignorant until now!
The Association do great work in supporting skilled craftsmen and women. They recognise the long-term environmental and economic benefits of historic crafts which make things that last and look good for life; inspiringly different to the products of our “throw away” society.
Rush worker Felicity Irons has been awarded a BEM. Owner of Rush Matters and supplier of traditional rush flooring to the National Trust as well as creator of a wide range of contemporary work, Felicity has given new life to the ancient craft of rushweaving. Felicity said:
When I first read the letter from the Cabinet Office I thought it must be a hoax. I had to ask my Mum to read it several times for me. She had known about it for ages as she had been working with the Heritage Crafts Association on the nomination! I am just so stunned and still really trying to take it all in. I keep thinking why me; I just go to work every day. It is pretty emotional but wow, it’s amazing.
Photo by Matthew Usher
A BEM has also been awarded to John Lord, master of the ancient craft of flint knapping. He said:
I would like to thank the Heritage Crafts Association for putting my name forward for this National Honour. I accept this award only on behalf of all skilled flint knappers both past and present, and in particular on behalf of our ancient ancestors whose skills will never be equalled.
All three were nominated for their awards by the Heritage Crafts Association. Vice Chair Patricia Lovett MBE, said:
This is tremendous recognition for the skills and expertise of traditional craftspeople. These honours show the very real value of heritage crafts to people’s lives today.