Throughout the COVID-19 lockdown we have been running a series of free online events on Zoom. Here you can find out what event we have coming up. Click here to re-watch the recordings for some of the previous events.
Gemma Black in Conversation – 26 October 2021, 7pm
Join Heritage Crafts in conversation with calligrapher Gemma Black, one of the most proficient and inventive scribes in Australia, if not the world! Her precise lettering style is matched with exciting and innovative designs which really bring the texts to life, and her work is in many collections including the Fitzwilliam Museum Collection of Contemporary Calligraphy. She is in great demand to teach and lecture all over the world and Gemma will be beaming in from Australia for this event.
Dr Maria Maclennan in Conversation – 9 November 2021, 7pm
Join Heritage Crafts in conversation with Dr Maria Maclennan, forensic jeweller. Maria is the world’s first ‘Forensic Jeweller’, exploring how jewellery can be used to assist identification and help solve crimes. After studying jewellery making at art college, Maria worked with designers, forensic anthropologists and police officers during her Masters degree and PhD at Dundee University’s renowned Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification. She now puts her skills to use as Service Design Manager at Police Scotland and Lecturer and Researcher at Edinburgh College of Art.
Michelle Brown in Conversation – 16 November 2021, 7pm
Join Heritage Crafts in conversation with Michelle Brown, manuscript curator. If you’ve ever enjoyed looking at a manuscript online, enlarged it to see every detail of the scripts, admired the illuminations and wondered in awe at the skills shown, you should thank Professor Michelle Brown because she was at the forefront of the technology at the British Library as one of the first Digital Curators. She curated the pioneering exhibition of the Lindisfarne Gospels, and authored facsimiles of the Gospels, the Holkham Bible and the Luttrell Psalter. During her time as Curator and Outreach Officer at the British Library she ensured that the writing, and not just the pictures, of manuscripts were available to modern-day scribes. She is now writing, curating exhibitions all over the world and undertaking voluntary work in Cornwall.
Telling your craft story with Dr Anna Ploszajski – 25 November 2021, 7pm
Join Dr Anna Ploszajski for an online workshop on writing about your craft, exclusively for Heritage Crafts members. Whether you are writing copy for your website or social media posts, writing training materials or writing a book about your craft, have you ever suspected that people might not be as engaged by your writing style as you’d like them to be? In this one-off workshop, Anna will give you some valuable tools to create compelling stories about your work and make you and your craft more memorable, understandable and engaging. She’ll cover how to structure like a storyteller, how to create compelling worlds and characters (even in formal writing), and how to use language succinctly and engagingly to make your message pitch-perfect for any future audience..
Heritage Crafts Wales members Zoom meeting – date to be confirmed
Peer support and networking meeting facilitated by Daniel Carpenter, Mary Lewis and Clare Revera exclusively for Heritage Crafts members. If you’re a current member in Wales and wish to attend, email us for the joining instructions. If you’re not yet a member, please consider joining.
Heritage Crafts Northern Ireland members Zoom meeting – date to be confirmed
Peer support and networking meeting facilitated by Daniel Carpenter and Emma Whitehead exclusively for Heritage Crafts members. If you’re a current member in Northern Ireland and wish to attend, email us for the joining instructions. If you’re not yet a member, please consider joining.
Heritage Crafts East Midlands members Zoom meeting – date to be confirmed
Peer support and networking meeting facilitated by Daniel Carpenter and Sally Morgan exclusively for Heritage Crafts members. If you’re a current member in the East Midlands and wish to attend, email us for the joining instructions. If you’re not yet a member, please consider joining.
Heritage Crafts North of England members Zoom meeting – date to be confirmed
Peer support and networking meeting facilitated by Daniel Carpenter and Chrissie Freeth exclusively for Heritage Crafts members. If you’re a current member in the North of England and wish to attend, email us for the joining instructions. If you’re not yet a member, please consider joining.
Heritage Crafts South West of England members Zoom meeting – date to be confirmed
Peer support and networking meeting facilitated by Daniel Carpenter exclusively for Heritage Crafts members. If you’re a current member in the South West of England and wish to attend, email us for the joining instructions. If you’re not yet a member, please consider joining.
Heritage Crafts West Midlands & Marches members Zoom meeting – date to be confirmed
Peer support and networking meeting facilitated by Mary Lewis and Mike Taylor exclusively for Heritage Crafts members. If you’re a current member in the West Midlands & Marches and wish to attend, email us for the joining instructions. If you’re not yet a member, please consider joining.
HCA Scotland members Zoom meeting – date to be confirmed
Peer support and networking meeting facilitated by Daniel Carpenter, Mary Lewis, Louise Butler and Helen Voce exclusively for HCA members. If you’re a current member in Scotland and wish to attend, email us for the joining instructions. If you’re not yet a member, please consider joining.
Click here to watch the recordings of previous online events
This symposium is organised by the Heritage Crafts Association and Ceramic Cultures, Practices and Debates Research Group at Staffordshire University. It is funded by The Pilgrim Trust and supported by Staffordshire University, Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, and British Ceramics Biennial.
When: Saturday 16 October 2021, 9am to 5pm
Where: Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Bethesda Street, Hanley Stoke-on-Trent ST1 3DW
Speakers (in-person and remote) to include:
- Dr Neil Brownsword, Professor of Ceramics, Staffordshire University
- Mary Lewis, Endangered Crafts Manager, Heritage Crafts Association
- Emily Johnson, Founder and Director of 1882
- Dr Ezra Shales, Professor of Art History, Massachusetts College of Art and Design
- Professor Xiaoping Yu, Professor, Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute
- Dr Geoffrey Gowlland, Research Fellow at the Section of Educational Sciences, University of Geneva
- Dr Laura Breen, Independent arts & museums researcher, Manchester Metropolitan University.
- Vicki McGarvey, doctoral research student, Staffordshire University
Global economics and advances in automation technology have radically transformed the landscape of the UK’s ceramic industry in recent decades. Whilst these transitions have facilitated greater productivity, once commonplace skills associated with ceramic manufacture have now been displaced, threatening the continuation of much traditional knowledge. Should such practices, deemed outmoded or economically unviable for contemporary ceramic production be simply relegated to history or the trails of heritage tourism? What value is there in safeguarding this knowledge for the future? How can traditional practices be revived through new modes of thinking and creativity in a digital age?
This symposium builds upon these questions, and highlights specialist skills at significant risk of being lost from the industry, surveyed through recent research for the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts. Making particular reference to North Staffordshire’s intangible cultural heritage, scholars together with former employees and current representatives from the ceramics industry, will explore a variety of perspectives concerning a re-evaluation of the industrial crafts and their revitalisation through contemporary exchange and adaptation.
Although the symposium will be taking place within a cultural event, it will discuss ways to connect with the local community beyond cultural institutions, so that they can develop, engage and participate in ‘their’ intangible heritage. It is hoped that this event will introduce new ways of valuing industrial ceramics skills that are not influenced by the immutable heritage discourse of experts, by facilitating those that were and are still involved in the industry to articulate the value of their own heritage.
Findings will feed into a future edition of the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts and inform its advocacy work with UK government agencies and funding bodies.
The event is free to attend, and attendees must register via Eventbrite
Catherine Ade, lithographer. Photo copyright Jo Hounsome.
A lithographer, a wallpaper maker and an oak bark tanner are among the recipients of the latest round of grants awarded to help safeguard some of the UK’s most endangered craft skills.
The Heritage Crafts Association (HCA), which published the third edition of its groundbreaking HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts in May, has awarded a further eight grants from its Endangered Crafts Fund, which was launched in 2019 to increase the likelihood of endangered crafts surviving into the next generation.
This round of the HCA Endangered Crafts Fund has been offered with support from the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Dulverton Trust, the Sussex Heritage Trust, Allchurches Trust and the Swire Charitable Trust. The eight successful recipients are:
- Catherine Ade, from Bristol, to run a series of workshops on different lithography techniques and continue to supply lithography plate graining services.
- Peter Ananin, from Fife, to train an apprentice in the skills and knowledge of traditional Scottish bark tanning.
- Deborah Bowness, from East Sussex, to learn traditional wallpaper making techniques through one-to-one training with a wallpaper conservationist.
- Rachel Evans, from Stoke-on-Trent, to learn the techniques of hazel basketmaking, specifically the Gower cockle basket and the whisket.
- Nikki Laird, from Edinburgh, to print a book on how to make a traditional hand sewn kilt.
- Kate Longley, from Cornwall, to maintain the skills and knowledge of withy crab and lobster pot making in the community of Gorran Haven.
- Steven Lowe, from East Sussex, to provide shoe last making courses covering heel making.
- Edie Obilaso, from London, to make hats from straw plait produced on an antique machine, and to document the craft.
Peter Ananin, oak bark tanner. Photo copyright Woodland Tannery.
These eight projects follow 27 awarded in previous rounds, covering endangered crafts such as scissor making, sail making, damask weaving, boot tree making, cockle basket making, folding knife making, neon bending, coracle making, fan making and swill basket making, coppersmithing, withy pot making, disappearing fore-edge painting, plane making, kishie basket making, flint walling, brick making, chair seating, lipwork basketry, paper making, concertina making and flute making.
As usual the fund was oversubscribed, and the HCA hopes to work with many of the unsuccessful candidates to identify other funding and support opportunities.
HCA Endangered Crafts Manager Mary Lewis said:
“For all the progress we’ve made, it will take more than just the Heritage Crafts Association to save craft skills; it will be the people who make a positive choice to learn, make and teach an endangered craft who will do that. These projects will provide future generations with opportunities that they might not otherwise have, to become productive and healthy members of our shared craft community.”
The Endangered Crafts Fund has been funded through generous donations from organisations including Garfield Weston Foundation, the Dulverton Trust, the Sussex Heritage Trust, as well as individuals who have donated sums from £5 right up to several thousands of pounds.
The HCA continues to seek further donations to save even more of Britain’s most endangered crafts from oblivion. Donations are welcome at any time – for more information visit www.heritagecrafts.org.uk/ecf.
See the projects that were successfully funded in the previous application rounds
These awards were presented by HCA President HRH The Prince of Wales on 10 September 2021 at a special presentation at Dumfries House, to 2021 President’s Award for Endangered Crafts winner Rebecca Struthers and 2020 winner Ernest Wright Scissors.
The awards were generously commissioned and sponsored by HCA Vice President Richard Hefford Hobbs and approved by HRH The Prince of Wales. Sculptor Sean Hedges Quinn was commissioned to design and make the exemplar/mould from which the award was cast in bronze. Each part of the award was cast separately and then put together, in such a way that the award can be viewed from all angles, even the back.
The base supporting the feathers is made of oak from the Sandringham estate beautifully crafted by Ipswich woodworker Brendan Worsley, and stone from Balmoral. Hand engraver Ruth Anthony was commissioned to hand-engrave the plaques, working at some speed for the 2021 award as we knew the winner only in the last few weeks.
The workmanship is stunning and it has all been done using skilled heritage craftspeople.
Craig and Rebecca Struthers. Photo by Richard Ivey.
Birmingham-based watchmaker Rebecca Struthers has won the 2021 HCA President’s Award for Endangered Crafts. The prestigious award, and £3,000 bursary, was initiated by Heritage Crafts Association President HRH The Prince of Wales.
The HCA was set up 11 years ago as a national charity to support and safeguard heritage crafts skills, and has become well known for its Red List of Endangered Crafts, the first research of its kind to rank traditional crafts in the UK by the likelihood they would survive the next generation.
The President’s Award trophy was presented to Dr Struthers at a special presentation on Friday 10 September 2021, hosted by The Prince’s Foundation, one of the country’s major providers of training in traditional building skills. The Prince of Wales was in attendance at the presentation, which also saw a trophy awarded to 2020 winners, Paul Jacobs and Jonathan Reid from Ernest Wright Scissors, whose presentation was unable to proceed last year due to COVID restrictions.
HCA President’s Award
Between 1630 and 1890, England was the centre of global watchmaking, home to many of the world’s most celebrated watchmakers. By 1793, twenty thousand London watchmakers were part of the city’s population of one million inhabitants, representing around one fiftieth of the population. Today watchmaking is listed as critically endangered on the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts.
Dr Rebecca Struthers is Director and watchmaker of a traditional watchmaking workshop and studio in Birmingham alongside husband and fellow master watchmaker Craig. They use traditional methods, materials and techniques in the restoration of vintage and antique watches as well as the production of her own timepieces. She is the first, and currently only, watchmaker in the UK to earn a PhD in horology.
Award winners with HRH The Prince of Wales. Photo by Richard Ivey.
Dr Struthers is a Fellow of the British Horological Institute and Royal Society of Arts, a Trustee of the Museum of Timekeeping in Newark, and a Jury Member of the Academy, Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. She has received over a dozen awards over the years for her craft, design, entrepreneurship and research, and her work has appeared in a range of media including the BBC, New York Times and Wall Street Journal. She is currently writing a non-fiction book for Hodder & Stoughton on the history of time, told through watches, and the way in which they have influenced societies and cultures around the world.
Dr Struthers plans to use the prize to create a free-to-use educational website for anyone with an interest in learning the art of watchmaking. It would list training opportunities and facilities, and allow people to share projects they are currently working on and seek advice and feedback from a watchmaking community. It would also share useful technical information and charts, articles, a reference library and short videos on her own techniques for others to learn from.
Winner Dr Rebecca Struthers said:
“As independent makers the high costs of training a full-time apprentice means that even if it were possible, the apprentice’s pay would be so low that it would be prohibitive to people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. The President’s Award has provided us with the foundation to start something we hope will help to break down these boundaries and allow us to share what we do for free, in a manageable way for us. To have such a prestigious beginning for this project is an invaluable start!”
HCA Chair Patricia Lovett MBE said:
“Many people know HRH The Prince of Wales as being a long-time supporter and champion of traditional craft skills, and his passion is all too evident through initiatives such as the HCA President’s Award and The Prince’s Foundation. Dr Struthers and Ernest Wright Scissors are immensely deserving winners and we know that in their hands the prizes will provide a massive boost to the outlook of these critically endangered crafts.”
Jonathan Reid and Paul Jacobs from Ernest Wright Scissors. Photo by Richard Ivey.
2020 winner Ernest Wright scissor makers was founded in 1902 and reflects everything Sheffield has become famous for – highly skilled craftspeople making supreme quality products.
Following a tragedy in 2018, the company went into receivership and the critically endangered craft of scissor making was on the verge of disappearing from Sheffield. Paul Jacobs and Jan Bart Fanoy took action and bought the company, re-hired the remaining master putter-togetherers, Cliff Denton and Eric Stones, and took on several ‘putters’ in training. The factory is now back in action, with the prize used to repair machinery so that their putter-in-training can learn the craft from Cliff and Eric.
Click here to see details of this year’s finalists, including hat plaiter Veronica Main and wallpaper maker Hugh Dunford-Wood.
Click here to read more about the President’s Award trophies.