Lee Mapley, the only Master Parchmenter in the UK, scraping a vellum skin © 2013 Patricia Lovett MBE
The Heritage Crafts Association is delighted to report that one of the seventeen critically endangered crafts identified in the Radcliffe Red List for Endangered Crafts is looking for a new trainee. William Cowley Ltd., maker of high quality parchment and vellum, is looking for an additional employee to ensure that craft skills which have been passed down through the generations are continued into the future.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone who wants to learn one of the oldest crafts making a top quality luxury product,” said Patricia Lovett MBE, Vice-Chair of the Heritage Crafts Association. She added: “This affects me personally in my work as a scribe and illuminator as the skins from William Cowley are the best in the world”.
William Cowley is the one remaining maker of vellum and parchment in the UK; vellum and parchment are luxury products used for the highest quality documents, drums and book bindings. Lee Mapley is the only fully qualified master parchmenter in Britain and he will be training the successful applicant.
William Cowley is looking for someone who is not only willing to put in the hard work and dedication to learn the craft but who also has social media experience and IT skills and can help to develop the business.
For information about how to apply, go to www.williamcowley.co.uk/news/an-exciting-and-rare-opportunity.
Porcelain lithophane lighting by 2015 winner Bethan Lewis-Williams
Extended deadline: 17 July 2017, 10am
This annual award from Cockpit Arts is supported by The Arts Society (formerly The National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies or NADFAS) and supports a maker practicing a traditional craft that requires skills at risk of dying out. On offer is one year’s sponsored workshop space at one of Cockpit’s creative business incubators. Since 2012, the Award has been organised in conjunction with the HCA.
Previous award winners include Thomas von Nordheim (2007), Tamasyn Gambell (2008), Tobye Le Vaillant (2009), Alex Bishop (2010), Shaun Grace (2012), Alex Potter (2013), Sarah Kelly (2014), Beth Lewis-Williams (2015) and Lucy McGrath (2016). Additional awardees include Camilla Lee Lambert (2015, The David Bell Memorial Award) and Mariano Palencia Crespo (2016, The Greater London NADFAS Award).
To apply email Sandie Mattioli for an application pack.
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.
Deadline: 3 August 2017
The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) Heritage Crafts Association Apprenticeship provides funding to enable Apprentices to learn craft skills within companies and from master craftsmen and to support employers to take on Apprentices and nurture a new generation of craftspeople.
The maximum available per apprenticeship is £18,000 over 3 years (or £6,000 per year) and is available to part-fund salaries, training costs and/or materials.
On the application form both Employer and Apprentice will need to explain clearly why the proposed training will develop the Apprentice’s skills. A training plan will also need to be completed, to best demonstrate the Apprentice’s progression route. Applicants are advised to give themselves plenty of time to complete the application.
Click here for more details and to apply
The last remaining professional fore-edge painter Martin Frost has been awarded Maker of the Year by the Heritage Crafts Association at its Textures of Craft conference on 6 May 2017. Fore-edge painting is one of the seventeen critically endangered crafts identified by the HCA.
Martin took up the craft of vanishing fore-edge painting in 1970, continuing an English tradition that dates back to the 17th Century. Since then he has produced over 3,300 edge-paintings, many on carefully restored antique books. His commitment to the craft as an artist and untiring efforts to raise its profile have won him respect from fellow craftspeople and collectors alike.
Maker of the Year is one of six awards with a total value of up to £27,000 presented this year by the HCA. The other awards were made in partnership with Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST), Marsh Christian Trust and the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS).
- Leather worker Candice Lau was awarded the HCA/QEST training scholarship. Largely self-taught, Candice designs bespoke leatherwork from her design workshop/studio. The award will enable Candice to attend an intensive 3-month course at the renowned Italian school of leatherwork in Florence, the Scuola di Cuoio, to enhance her technical skills.
- Shoemaker Frances Pinnock was awarded the HCA/NADFAS training bursary to study with cordwainers Carréducker and pattern cutter Fiona Campbell, and to buy the tools and equipment needed to further her career.
- Pamela Emerson was awarded HCA/Marsh Volunteer of the Year for her work with NI Big Sock, a community project involving the creation of a world record breaking patchwork Christmas stocking. Pamela devised the project as a way of highlighting sewing as a valuable skill, celebrating Northern Irish traditions of linen production and shirt making, and bringing communities together in the process.
- Alistair McCallum was awarded the HCA/Marsh Trainer of the Year award. A silversmith who exhibits nationally and internationally and one of the leading practitioners of the Japanese metalworking technique of Mokume Gane, he has been tireless in his efforts to pass on his skills to the next generation of makers.
- Deborah Carré and James Ducker won the HCA/Marsh Made in Britain award. Their company, Carréducker makes bespoke shoes using the best materials sourced from British suppliers: lasts from Northampton, oak bark soling leather from Devon, exotics from Walsall, and patterns made and shoes stitched by specialists in Wales, Bristol and London. Their vision is to reignite the British shoe industry.
During the conference, studio potter Lisa Hammond MBE was presented with a certificate to mark her inclusion in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Lisa was also one of the speakers at the conference, as was Kaffe Fassett, worldwide authority on textiles and colour and Dr Alex Langlands BBC TV presenter of historical programmes.
The event, held at The Royal Society of Medicine, brought together craftspeople and enthusiasts from all over the UK to hear from makers, celebrate the best in the country and hear about the HCA’s research into endangered crafts, the Radcliffe Red List of Endangered Crafts.
The Heritage Crafts Awards celebrate and highlight the traditional living crafts made in the UK that contribute to our national heritage. Applications for an HCA/QEST apprenticeship open on 6 June 2017. Applications for the other awards open on 1 September 2017. For more details about this year’s awards, visit awards.heritagecrafts.org.uk.
New research by the Heritage Crafts Association and supported by The Radcliffe Trust has found many traditional craft skills in the UK to be hanging on by a thread.
Seventeen crafts have been identified as being critically endangered, including coach and wagon making, saw making, metal thread making, and swill basket making. These crafts have very few practitioners, usually spread across just one or two businesses, and few have any trainees. The reasons crafts become critically endangered are varied, but may include limited opportunities for training, low financial viability, or no way for the skills and knowledge to be passed on.
Greta Bertram, who led the research on behalf of the Heritage Crafts Association, said:
“The Radcliffe Red List of Endangered Crafts is the first research of its kind in the UK. We’re all familiar with the idea of a red list of endangered species, but this is the first time the methodology has been applied to our intangible craft heritage. While some crafts are indeed thriving, the research has shown that all crafts, and not just those identified as critically endangered, face a wide range of challenges to their long-term survival. When any craft is down to the last few makers it has to be considered at risk as an unpredicted twist of fate can come at any time.”
The UK has amazing heritage buildings which are supported by different agencies and which also can also provide a source of income.
We also have a great heritage of traditional craft skills and world-renowned makers, yet these skills and knowledge receive little recognition or support, largely because they fall between those bodies which advocate for heritage and focus on buildings, monuments and artefacts, and the arts which emphasise the new and innovative. Thus, heritage craft skills have declined rather than thrived in the way that they could have; by replenishing and enhancing the stock of treasures which populate our heritage buildings and people’s homes.
Ian Keys, Chair of the Heritage Crafts Association, said:
“We would like to see the Government recognise the importance of traditional craft skills as part of our cultural heritage, and take action to ensure they are passed on to the next generation. Craft skills today are in the same position that historic buildings were a hundred years ago – but we now recognise the importance of old buildings as part of our heritage, and it’s time for us to join the rest of the world and recognise that these living cultural traditions are just as important and need safeguarding too.”