Making is Good for You – The Heritage Crafts Association Conference 2019

Making is Good for You – The Heritage Crafts Association Conference 2019

When: Saturday 9 March 2019, 10am registration to 4.45pm
Where: Cecil Sharp House, London

When the Health Secretary starts to recommend ‘prescriptions’ for art and craft sessions instead of pills, you realise that at last other people are waking up to the value of making. Those of us involved in making know how it can calm the mind, give a focus, and cut out the rest of the world if only for an hour or two.

If you haven’t had that experience then come to our conference to find out exactly how making is good for you. We have a great line-up of speakers, with craftspeople in the afternoon talking about their craft and how it keeps them sane. As well as this we recognise and award excellence in the afternoon with the presentation of the Heritage Craft Awards.

Tickets cost £25 for HCA members and £30 for non-members and include tea and coffee during registration (lunch is not included). A special discounted ‘bring a friend’ rate of £50 is also available to members.

 

Research project aims to shine light on the plight of endangered crafts

Devon stave basket making - photo by Hilary BurnsThe Heritage Crafts Association is pleased to announce a new six-month research project that will provide a major update and expansion of its groundbreaking Red List of Endangered Crafts, first published in 2016.

The first Red List of Endangered Crafts, authored by Greta Bertram, was the first to rank traditional crafts by the likelihood they would survive the next generation. It brought the plight of these skills to national attention, with coverage on the BBC One Show, BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, and across national news and online media. It identified 45 endangered and 17 critically endangered crafts, which, for reasons such as an ageing workforce and a lack of effective training routes, faced an uncertain future.

On secondment from his doctoral research on craft heritage at the University of Exeter, former HCA Trustee Daniel Carpenter will take up the role of Research Manager for the project, supported by the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership. The work will dovetail with that of the HCA’s recently-appointed Endangered Crafts Officer Mary Lewis, whose post, funded by The Dulverton Trust, has been created to identify and develop interventions to improve the prospects of such crafts.

The 2016 version of the Red List is available to view at www.heritagecrafts.org.uk/redlist. If you would like to contribute information for the new version, please email Daniel Carpenter at redlist[AT]heritagecrafts.org.uk. The updated Red List will be published at the HCA Conference on 30 March 2019.

HCA Red List Research Manager Daniel Carpenter said:

“We have always known that heritage crafts evolve over time, adapting to changes in technology and fashion… and some die out altogether. My main hope for this next phase of the Red List is that it will allow us to decide which practices of cultural importance we collectively wish to save while we still can… rather than sleepwalking towards further extinctions without having the opportunity to make those informed choices. Over the next few months I will be developing the research methodology and reaching out to craft practitioners to renew and supplement the existing data, with both accuracy improvements and real world changes. Please feel free to contribute by contacting me at redlist@heritagecrafts.org.uk.”

HCA Chair Patricia Lovett MBE said:

“Traditional crafts are a vital part of the UK’s intangible cultural heritage (ICH)… not our monuments and historical artefacts, which are already well-protected by heritage professionals, but the living knowledge, skills and practices used to create them… along with many of the other things we treasure in this country. While we campaign for the UK to ratify the UNESCO Convention on ICH safeguarding (we are one of only 18 countries in the world that hasn’t), we will continue to catalogue our endangered craft heritage and focus attention on that which we are in danger of losing, so paving the way for the UK to join the rest of the world in protecting this important element of our shared culture.”

Download a copy of the press release

Photo: Devon stave basket making, by Hilary Burns

Are you the HCA’s next Maker of the Year?

Are you the HCA’s next Maker of the Year?

Nominations open on 1st September 2018 for Maker of the Year, one of five prestigious awards awarded annually by the Heritage Crafts Association in recognition of people working in traditional skills.

Craftspeople can also apply for, or be nominated for, HCA/Marsh Trainer of the Year, HCA/Marsh Volunteer of the Year, the HCA/Marsh Heritage Crafts ‘Made in Britain’ Award, and the HCA/Marsh Endangered Crafts Award. Each award is worth £1,000.

A training bursary worth up to £2,500 is also on offer and can be used to pay for tools, materials or books as well as contributing to training costs. The bursary is offered with the support of The Arts Society.

Application forms for all awards are available at http://awards.heritagecrafts.org.uk/   The deadline is 30 November 2018.

The awards, which will be presented at the HCA’s Annual Conference in March 2019, recognise the amazing work done by skilled craftspeople and volunteers, and the contribution of heritage crafts to the UK economy.

Basket maker Hilary Burns was awarded Maker of the Year 2018. Hilary, pictured above with HCA Patron Alex Langlands, 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. Hilary’s 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.

Steve Tomlin, Endangered Crafts Award winner 2018, with Devon maund basket.

Green woodworker Steve Tomlin (right) won the HCA/Marsh Endangered Craft Award. This award recognises a practitioner of one of the 62 crafts currently listed in the ‘critically endangered’ or ‘endangered’ categories of the HCA’s Red List of Endangered Crafts. Steve, a spoon carver, ash basket maker and scything tutor used 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.

Bookbinder Kathy Abbott was awarded HCA/Marsh Trainer of the Year 2018. 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.

Paper maker Zoe Collis won The Arts Society/HCA Heritage Crafts bursary which she is using to continue her paper making apprenticeship at Two Rivers Paper in Somerset.

The awards and bursaries have been made possible through the generous support of the HCA’s funding partners, the Marsh Christian Trust, The Arts Society and an anonymous donor.

Patricia Lovett MBE, Chair of the HCA, said: ‘The heritage crafts sector in England alone contributes £4.4 billion GVA to the UK economy each year, as much as the petrochemical industry. But for many years heritage crafts have been completely ignored and are still not supported by the government. These awards are a real boost for heritage crafts and craftspeople’.

Gilding the Gingerbread

Gilding the Gingerbread

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

Craftspeople sought for new BBC Two series

Forge and ceramicsBBC 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 / kate.obrien@dsp.tv.

Endangered Crafts project with Manchester School of Art

MSA Image 2

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.

MSA Image 1

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