Traditional sign painter Andrew Grundon has won Maker of the Year in the 2023 Heritage Crafts Awards, which was presented at a prestigious Winners’ Reception at the College of St George, Windsor Castle on 15 November 2023, sponsored by The Royal Mint.
The award, supported by the Marsh Charitable Trust, was one of 14 revealed at the ceremony introduced by Heritage Crafts Co-Chair Jay Blades MBE, including the fourth annual President’s Award for Endangered Crafts set up by Heritage Crafts President the former Prince of Wales and won by straw hat maker Lucy Barlow, the inaugural Precious Metalworker of the Year Award sponsored by The Royal Mint and won by watch dial enameller Sally Morrison, and the Woodworker of the Year Award sponsored by Axminster Tools and won by woodcarver Tom Ball.
The Heritage Crafts/Marsh Maker of the Year award was won by traditional sign painter Andrew Grundon. Andrew is a specialist in the rare craft of hand painting, lettering, and carving of pictorial signs. He has established an international reputation at the forefront of the revival of traditional handcrafted work, particularly for his highly-accomplished pictorial pub signs. His clients include Liberty of London, the Tower of London, television chef Rick Stein, BT Sport and ITV. Last year Andrew worked with potter Hannah McAndrew on this Coronation Platter for which he redesigned each element of the Royal Coat of Arms, injecting a distinctive perspective into the familiar heraldic design.
The President’s Award for Endangered Craft was won by straw hat maker Lucy Barlow. Lucy apprenticed with Phillip Somerville of Bond Street in the late 1970s and then went on to Paris to assist master milliner Jean Barthet on the collections of Yves St Laurent, Chanel and others. Recently completing an MA in Menswear Millinery at the Royal College of Art, Lucy’s dissertation ‘The Last Straw?’ looks into strategies for the regeneration of the stitch straw industry in the UK. Read more about Lucy’s award here.
The Precious Metalworker of the Year Award sponsored by The Royal Mint was won by Sally Morrison. Sally is a graduate of the Edinburgh College of Arts and specialises in engraving and enamelling watch dials at the watch company anOrdain. Her interest in champleé enamelling, the art of applying translucent enamel over a textured precious metal background, has made her the best of a very small and elite group of craftspeople working in this field. Read more about Sally’s award here.
The Woodworker of the Year Award sponsored by Axminster Tools was won by Tom Ball. Tom is the de Laszlo Lead Woodcarving Tutor at City & Guilds of London Arts School, and in 2021 was awarded the Master Carver Certificate by the Worshipful Company Of Joiners and Ceilers. Recent projects include restoration of Grinling Gibbons’ carving at Trinity College Chapel, Oxford, and carving the canopy columns for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee. Read more about Tom’s award here.
The inaugural Environmental Sustainability Award in partnership with the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust was won by Lulu Harrison. Lulu’s journey in glass started during her MA in Materials Futures at Central St Martins, where she was particularly interested in finding environmentally sustainable materials from the fishing industry. Her project ‘Thames Glass’ incorporated the shell powder of invasive quagga mussels into unique glass batches.
The Young Woodworker of the Year Award sponsored by Axminster Tools was won by Harry Morris, who starting woodworking at the age of 13 in his dad’s garage, carving spoons and watching instructional videos on YouTube. He dedicates much of his energy to teaching, believing that communicating in a positive and encouraging way can have a big impact on an individual, and in their craft journey, and has been overwhelmed with feedback from his students.
The Young Upholsterer of the Year Award sponsored by Sonnaz was won by Florence Egan, who attended her first upholstery course at the age of 14 paying for it by working two jobs on the weekend. Through her short courses she managed to develop contacts in the industry, and from that came the opportunity to sign up to a Level 2 Modern Upholstery apprenticeship, which she passed with distinction, and is now working in the bespoke workshop, cutting, sewing, templating and upholstering.
The Young Weaver of the Year Award sponsored by Rose Uniacke was won by Lara Pain. Lara first decided she wanted to pursue a creative path when she was 17. During her four-year BA Textile Design course at Central Saint Martins, she opted to undertake a year-long diploma in professional studies, undertaking training and internships at multiple weaving studios, including with Kirsty McDougall, whose clientele includes Givenchy, Burberry, Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen.
The Young Basketmaker of the Year Award sponsored by Sims Hilditch was won by Molly Lovekin. Molly started out making basic stake and strand log baskets, using buff and home grown willow, and then has rapidly moved on to accept a large commission which has meant working to specific shapes and sizes for display at SeaSalt Cornwall. She adds artistic flair naturally to all her baskets and works to a high level of craftsmanship.
The Young Metalworker of the Year Award sponsored by Lucy and Lawrence Butcher was won by Megan Rigby. After studying Jewellery Manufacture at the British Academy of Jewellery, Megan secured an apprenticeship with Rebus Signet Rings. Since starting her traineeship with Rebus she has entered the Goldsmiths Craft and Design Council Awards, known in the trade as the ‘jewellery Oscars’ and won awards every year.
The Heritage Crafts/Marsh Lifetime Achievement award went to Alfred Fisher MBE who has been involved in stained glass for 71 years. He began his training at James Powell and Sons, Whitefriars, in 1952, working his way up from trainee to Chief Designer. In 1957 he won a Religious Arts Scholarship to study art in churches in Europe, which helped him develop his own distinctive style of window design. Alf is Vice-President of the British Society of Master Glass Painters and Liveryman and Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers. For twenty years he was the advisor on stained glass for the National Trust.
The Heritage Crafts/Marsh Trainer of the Year award went to Tom McEwan. Tom graduated from Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Fine Art Sculpture in 1980. He began training as a bookbinder in 2004 at the Glasgow College of Building and Printing, and thereafter enjoyed a string of competition successes including prizes from the National Library of Scotland, Society of Bookbinders, and Designer Bookbinders. In 2013 Tom established a craft bindery in Ayrshire where he continues to work on commissioned design bindings and teaches and mentors art and bookbinding students.
The Heritage Crafts/Marsh Trainee of the Year award went to piano restorer Ellie Wright. Ellie completed a degree in Fine Art in Amsterdam, where she learned woodwork, metalwork and glass skills, before going to the University of Glasgow to do a degree in Physics and Astronomy. Having played classical piano since the age of 7, she found a way to combine her interests, with the opportunity to train as a piano technician at Glasgow Piano City. As her career develops she wants to extend her working radius to the more remote areas of Scotland like the Highlands and Islands, which have very poor access to technicians, tuners and restorers.
The Heritage Crafts/Marsh Volunteer of the Year award was split three ways, with the prize being jointly awarded to Tricia Basham, who held the posts of Treasurer and Membership Secretary of the Knitting and Crochet Guild from 2013 to 2019, Jane Kerr, who has been the secretary of the Wooden Boatbuilders Trade Assocation since it was founded in 1990, and Chris Rowley who founded the Hand Engravers Association of Great Britain and has served as the driving force of the Association ever since.