HCA project participant Zoe set for a career in papermaking

Zoe Collis

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!

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 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
  • Kate Hetherington, horse collar maker
  • Wim Visscher, parchmenter
  • Jojo Wood, apprentice clog maker and wood worker
  • Jacob Moss, curator of the Fan Museum

 

New £23.5k round of awards and bursaries launched

Harp maker Allan Shiers

Harp maker Allan Shiers, winner of the 2016 HCA Maker of the Year award

This year the Heritage Crafts Association is delighted to be partnering with the Marsh Christian Trust, The Arts Society and the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust to offer a suite of awards and bursaries to celebrate and highlight traditional living crafts. In all £23,500 is available.

Previous 2016 HCA Maker of the Year, Allan Shiers, said:

The HCA income frees you up to do some things you would not otherwise been able to do – the ideas that lurked in the long grass but really needed to be given time. I’ve completed my new idea for a new semi-tone device and written up a dossier for it – so far we’ve a had a lot of interest from all over the world. We also used the publicity from the HCA Award for our website/social media and had an article in the local newspaper. After 40 years making harps, it was quite a special moment for me to have some recognition for all the hard work and skills passed on.

You can read more experiences of previous winners here.

Applications for this year’s awards open 1 September 2017 and the deadline is 30 November 2017.

Apply today at awards.heritagecrafts.org.uk.

Traineeship offered in one of UK’s critically endangered crafts

Lee Mapley

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.

Extended deadline! The Cockpit Arts / The Arts Society Award 2017

Porcelain lithophane lighting by Bethan Lewis-Williams

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.

Honours for heritage craftspeople

Heritage crafts have received royal recognition and high honour with three craftspeople included in The Queen’s Birthday Honours Lists this year.

Wim VisscherVellum 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.

Felicity IronsRush 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.

John Lord

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.