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.
The Carpenters’ Company, 1 Throgmorton Avenue, London EC2N 2JJ
Exhibition: 9 May 2018, 11am to 2.30pm – no booking required
Talk: 9 May 2018, 3pm to 4pm – booking necessary via Eventbrite
Drinks reception: 9 May 2018, 5pm to 7pm – booking necessary via firstname.lastname@example.org
Join craftspeople from the Heritage Crafts Association and QEST demonstrating an array of skills with opportunities for visitors to join in. Demonstrators include 2017 HCA Maker of the Year fore-edge painter Martin Frost and 2017 Cockpit / The Arts Society Award winner paper marbler Lucy McGrath (pictured), both Red List critically endangered crafts.
At 3pm furniture maker and designer John Makepeace OBE will give a talk on how he made the Master’s Chair for the Worshipful Company of Carpenters, followed by a champagne reception providing a further opportunity to interact with these exceptionally talented makers.
Professor May Cassar has recently accepted The Heritage Crafts Association’s invitation to become a Patron. Professor Cassar joins an existing group of Patrons who support the HCA and its fundraising and campaigning work through their individual public profile.
Professor May Cassar is the Director of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage. May currently directs the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology, a multi-million pound UK Government investment to educate to doctoral level the next generation of heritage scientists. As the Director of the Arts and Humanities Research Council/Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s Science and Heritage Programme (2007-2014) and as Special Adviser to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee Inquiry on Science and Heritage (2005-2006), May has led the resurgence of heritage science research activity in the UK over the last decade for which she has been recognised by the Royal Warrant Holders’ Association with the award of the Plowden Gold Medal in 2012. May was until December 2015, founding Chairman of the UK National Heritage Science Forum and is currently a member of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Science Advisory Council. At an international level, May has worked on projects with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, ICCROM, European Parliament, European Commission and National Governments to develop strategic approaches to the preservation of cultural heritage. May’s long-standing area of research interest is preventive conservation with a particular focus on the impact of climate change on cultural heritage.
Professor Cassar joins existing Patrons Lord Cormack, Sir Christopher Frayling, Kaffe Fassett, Emma Bridgewater, Mark Henderson, Dr. Alex Langlands and Paul Martin. The Patrons of the HCA are the public figureheads of the charity and play an important part in helping the Association support and promote heritage crafts as a fundamental part of our living heritage. The HCA looks forward to continuing to work with its new and existing Patrons and is profoundly grateful for all they do to help heritage crafts.
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 the Faculty of Art and Design 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 Faculty of Art and Design 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!
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.