Here are just a few of the wonderful items made by some of the highly skilled craftspeople featured in The Makers, our showcase of work by members of the Heritage Crafts Association. If you are a maker yourself, why not join the HCA and have your own profile on The Makers.
Nominations open on 1st September 2018 for Maker of the Year, one of five prestigious awards awarded annually by the Heritage Crafts Association in recognition of people working in traditional skills.
Craftspeople can also apply for, or be nominated for, HCA/Marsh Trainer of the Year, HCA/Marsh Volunteer of the Year, the HCA/Marsh Heritage Crafts ‘Made in Britain’ Award, and the HCA/Marsh Endangered Crafts Award. Each award is worth £1,000.
A training bursary worth up to £2,500 is also on offer and can be used to pay for tools, materials or books as well as contributing to training costs. The bursary is offered with the support of The Arts Society.
Application forms for all awards are available at http://awards.heritagecrafts.org.uk/ The deadline is 30 November 2018.
The awards, which will be presented at the HCA’s Annual Conference in March 2019, recognise the amazing work done by skilled craftspeople and volunteers, and the contribution of heritage crafts to the UK economy.
Basket maker Hilary Burns was awarded Maker of the Year 2018. Hilary, pictured above with HCA Patron Alex Langlands, 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. Hilary’s 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.
Green woodworker Steve Tomlin (right) won the HCA/Marsh Endangered Craft Award. This award recognises a practitioner of one of the 62 crafts currently listed in the ‘critically endangered’ or ‘endangered’ categories of the HCA’s Red List of Endangered Crafts. Steve, a spoon carver, ash basket maker and scything tutor used 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.
Bookbinder Kathy Abbott was awarded HCA/Marsh Trainer of the Year 2018. 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.
Paper maker Zoe Collis won The Arts Society/HCA Heritage Crafts bursary which she is using to continue her paper making apprenticeship at Two Rivers Paper in Somerset.
The awards and bursaries have been made possible through the generous support of the HCA’s funding partners, the Marsh Christian Trust, The Arts Society and an anonymous donor.
Patricia Lovett MBE, Chair of the HCA, said: ‘The heritage crafts sector in England alone contributes £4.4 billion GVA to the UK economy each year, as much as the petrochemical industry. But for many years heritage crafts have been completely ignored and are still not supported by the government. These awards are a real boost for heritage crafts and craftspeople’.
Two fortunate trainees, Ellen Wood and Tony Hassett, learned the traditional craft skills of gilding on the Cutty Sark ship in Greenwich on 6th and 7th August.
Master craftswoman Rachael Linton demonstrated the skills and explained the processes and techniques. Tony and Ellen were able to gild individual letters and some of the ‘Gingerbread’ of the Cutty Sark under Rachael’s supervision. The project was very kindly funded by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths.
Rachael was being employed to do the gilding by Campbell Smith & Co., a historic repair and restoration company which is undertaking repairs to the ‘Gingerbread’: repairing and remaking some of the carvings and then finishing them with gold leaf (gilding).
Here Rachael is showing how to gild the letters:
Ellen tries it herself:
And now Tony:
The letters before being cleaned up:
Then on to the ‘Gingerbread’:
Some of the decorative items had been removed for ease of gilding. Here the backing sheet is being removed from the gold leaf:
Ellen applies the adhesive:
Tony helps to finish the gilding:
The completed gilding; note the soft brush to remove the excess gold leaf:
And all this was filmed by Bruno Sorrentino for the Heritage Crafts Association’s DVD on Gilding.
The Heritage Crafts Association is most grateful not only to the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths for their generosity, but also to Rachael Linton for passing on the skills, Campbell Smith & Co, Cutty Sark Museum, Royal Museums Greenwich, Ellie Birkhead the project manager, Bruno Sorrentino the filmer and maker of the DVD and the HCA’s own Laura Southall, Projects Trustee.
Photographs: Ellie Birkhead
Are you a stone mason, letter cutter, wood carver etc?
Would you like to be taught how to gild using gold leaf by a master craftsperson?
The Heritage Crafts Association has an opportunity for two people to learn the endangered craft for free in Greenwich, south London, on August 6th and 7th.
You need to be able to get into London on these days, travel costs covered but not accommodation.
Please say how this would be used in your craft and reply with contact details and phone number by Friday 27th July to email@example.com if you’d like to be considered for this unique opportunity.
Opportunity now closed.
Sharon Blakey, Senior Lecturer, BA (Hons) Three Dimensional Design, Manchester School of Art, reports on Endangered Crafts, the collaborative project between the HCA and Manchester School of Art.
Endangered Crafts, which was based on the HCA’s Red List, culminated in a fabulous exhibition of works at Manchester Craft and Design Centre in May. Over 150 students from across the School participated in the project, with selected works exhibited as part of the School of Art’s Unit X Festival.
As expected the range of responses to the theme of ‘endangered crafts’ was wide ranging and design teams responded to the brief in original and unexpected ways. The Tradition Meets Technology team juxtaposed the handcraft skills of knitting, crochet and embroidery with a range of production technologies. Jaimie-Lee Wainman’s ceramic and 3D printed stacking bowls enable the user to hand embroider the outer skin of each vessel, developing knowledge of basic stitch methods whilst facilitating a contemplative act of making. Emma Bradburn wove together delicate strands of glass which were then slumped in the kiln and embellished post firing with hand threaded silk yarn, and the tasselled sculptural wall pieces by Textiles in Practice student Remy Storey were an interpretation of the detail, colour, scale and composition found in traditional passementerie.
A number of teams relished the opportunity to learn new skills and processes. Neptunian, for example, were motivated by research into ancient coracle making, developing a flat-pack, self-assembly version for use during family holidays and outings. Sasuke embraced the art of blade making, learning how to forge steel to make a Japanese inspired kitchen knife using locally sourced oak and Damascus steel. Charcoal burning was the inspiration for a second year team who designed and built their own charcoal burner and produced a film to document the process. Influenced by charcoal’s properties of neutralising and purifying the air, Interactive Arts student Jourdana Duoba, combined ground charcoal with recycled paper to produce artefacts intended to reduce domestic odours when placed in interior spaces.
Students commented positively upon the value of the experience, with one student noting, “Unit X has helped personal discovery about my professional practice. Having the chance to hone skills and learn new ones made this project the highlight of my first year”.
Greta Bertram, former trustee of the HCA, who attended the final event was delighted with the outcome “…it was really interesting to see which crafts had inspired the students and the wide array of ways in which they had responded to the HCA/Radcliffe Red list. Working with the School of Art has been a really great experience.”
All photographs copyright Manchester School of Art