Macramé

Currently viable crafts

 

Macramé

 

The making of textiles using knotting techniques.

 

Status Currently viable
Historic area of significance
Area currently practised
Origin in the UK
Current no. of professionals (main income)
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
Current no. of trainees
Current total no. serious amateur makers
Current total no. of leisure makers
Minimum no. of craftspeople required

 

History

Macramé style knots date back for many thousands of years to the Babylonians and Assyrians. Fringe-like plaiting and braiding are also found across the Middle East and northern Africa, and are thought to have arrived in the UK, via Europe, in the 17th Century.

Macramé is said to have been carried out in the court of Mary II in the late 17th Century, but was most popular during the reign of Queen Victoria. It was also popular amongst 19th Century sailors who would have made hammocks, belts etc. using knotting techniques.

The popularity of macramé faded but had a resurgence in the 1970s in the form of wall hangings, plant hangers, clothing, jewellery and other accessories. It is also currently enjoying a revival and has seen a resurgence driven by social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.

 

Techniques

Macramé uses a series of knots, primarily based on the square (reef) knot and various combinations of half hitches. Ornamental knots can become very elaborate, particularly those used in nautical rope craft.

Cavandoli macramé is one variety that is used to form geometric and free-form patterns like weaving. The Cavandoli style is done mainly in a single knot, the double half-hitch knot.

Micro-macramé is used to describe small macrame items such as knotted jewellery.

The friendship bracelets commonly made by teens and children also use macrame techniques.

 

Local forms

 

 

Sub-crafts

  • Cavendoli macramé
  • Rope craft
  • Micro-macramé
  • Friendship bracelets

 

Issues affecting the viability of the craft

 

Support organisations

 

Craftspeople currently known

 

 

Other information

 

References

  • Harvey, Virginia, (1967) Macrame: the art of creative knotting (Van Nostrand Reinhold), pp. 9-30. ISBN 0-442-23191-1. OCLC 948758577.
  • Buck, Stephanie, (19 September 2017) ‘Macramé is the knotty trend millennials Instagrammed back from the dead’, Timeline.
  • Pawson, Des, (2016) Knot Craft and Rope Mats: 60 Ropework Projects Including 20 Mat Designs

 

Lapidary

Currently viable crafts

 

Lapidary

 

The engraving, cutting, or polishing of stones and gems. See also diamond cutting.

This craft uses minerals extracted from the earth – please read our ethical sourcing statement.

 

Status Currently viable
Historic area of significance London, Birmingham
Area currently practised UK wide with a concentration in Hatton Garden and Birmingham’s jewellery quarter.
Origin in the UK
Current no. of professionals (main income)
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
Current no. of trainees
Current total no. serious amateur makers
Current total no. of leisure makers
Minimum no. of craftspeople required

 

History

A useful history of lapidary can be found on the Gem Society website.

 

Techniques

  • Diamond cutting – a highly specialised area of gem cutting which involves shaping a diamond from a rough stone into a faceted gem. Cutting diamond requires specialised knowledge, tools, equipment, and techniques because of its difficulty. See also Diamond Cutting
  • Facet cutting – cutting small polished facets at predefined angles and positions on the upper and lower surfaces of transparent gem material. Light interacting with these two surfaces will produce brilliance and scintillation within the gem.
  • Gem carving – a specialised area with far fewer makers. The techniques in this include engraving (intaglio), relief carving and free form carving.
  • Cabochon cutting (cabbing) – a popular form of lapidary with many amateur makers. Stones are usually cut into a round or oval domed shape with a flat base.
  • Gem tumbling – a simple and accessible form of lapidary that needs few skills. Rough stones are polished in a tumbler and are widely available as kits for hobbyists.

 

Local forms

 

 

Sub-crafts

 

Issues affecting the viability of the craft

  • High set up costs: the equipment and the raw materials for gem cutting are expensive and specialist. Cabochon cutting and gem tumbling are more accessible.
  • Training issues: there are a wide range of short courses available and much skills exchange and mentoring happens within lapidary societies and clubs. There are few options for formal training and most will learn on the job.
  • Skills shortages at the higher levels: Some concern has been raised that there are skills shortages and a lack of new entrants into professional gem cutting and diamond cutting. Initiatives such as the training provided by the British Academy of Jewellers is working to address this.

 

Support organisations

There are also a number of local and regional lapidary groups and societies who share skills and equipment. A list can be found on the international website Lapidary World.

 

Craftspeople currently known

Individual craftspeople:

  • Lin Cheung – gem carver
  • Charlotte De Syllas – artist jeweller and gem carver
  • Ben Gaskell – artist and specialist in hardstone and precious stones
  • Roy Kemp – lapidarist
  • Ian Hammond – seal engraver and intaglio

Businesses employing two or more makers:

  • Holts Lapidary – founder of Holts Academy of Jewellery, now the British Academy of Jewellery

Many amateur gem cutters are working at a high level and can be very skilled.

 

Other information

The British Academy of Jewellery (formerly Holts Academy of Jewellery) emerged from the jewellery trade in Hatton Garden and has developed accredited training and apprenticeships for jewellery makers. This was created in response to concerns about skills shortages and a lack of new entrants into the trade.

 

References

 

Islamic calligraphy

Currently viable crafts

 

Islamic calligraphy

 

The practice of handwriting and calligraphy, in the languages which use the Arabic alphabet or the alphabets derived from it.

 

Status Currently viable
Historic area of significance Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, India, Pakistan
Area currently practised London, Edinburgh
Origin in the UK 20th century
Current no. of professionals (main income) 1-5
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
6-10
Current no. of trainees 21-50
Current total no. serious amateur makers
1-5
Current total no. of leisure makers
101-200 (see other information)
Minimum no. of craftspeople required

 

History

Dr Bilal Badat states that “[a]s a designative term ‘Ottoman calligraphy’ refers to a specific set of aesthetic, artistic, and ritualistic traditions practised and followed during the chronological and geographical scope defined by the Ottoman Empire (1299-1923).” ‘Traditions’ refers to ‘writing’ traditions.

So given that Islamic calligraphy is a genus of Ottoman calligraphy, we may define Islamic calligraphy similarly but broaden its chronological and geographical scope to that of the Islamic civilisations since the early 7th century, around the advent of Islam.

The history of Muslim communities in the UK is relatively short and thus the appreciation of Islamic calligraphy has remained low. Soraya Syed was the first Briton to receive her calligraphy license (icazetname) although Dr Martin Lings and others wrote about it in the 1970s.

 

Techniques

 

 

Local forms

A multiplicity of styles have developed throughout the Islamic world since Yaqut Al-Musta’simi but six in particular have remained popular today so much so that they are well known today collectively as Al-Aqlam As-Sittah (‘The 6 Scripts’). These are Kufic, Thuluth, Naskh, Taliq, Diwani, and Riqa. That said, many other styles still exist across the Islamic world such as the Maghribi script of North Africa which has gained global prominence in recent times, whilst others have seen a re-emergence after not having been practiced for centuries like Muhaqqaq.

 

Sub-crafts

 

Issues affecting the viability of the craft

  • Skills issues: Training from a master calligrapher is not available in the UK
  • Training issues: Lack of qualified teachers
  • Market issues: Lack of demand for artwork/skills and a lack of information about the craft.
  • Lack of awareness: An appreciation for high quality Islamic calligraphy is scarce in the UK
  • Negative effects of COVID-19: Not many calligraphers are accustomed to online tuition, perhaps because it is something that demands face-to-face interaction to be taught well.
  • Positive effects of COVID-19: A few students who aren’t able to travel to their masters in other countries like Istanbul regularly are now able to take regular lessons with them online.

 

Support organisations

Craftspeople currently known

Individual craftspeople:

  • Soraya Syed
  • Gulnaz Mahboob
  • Dr Bilal Badat
  • Ruh Al-Alam
  • Jawdat Al Sabbagh
  • Fatih Yilmaz
  • Taha Alhiti
  • Razwan Baig
  • Moustafa Hassan
  • Dr Ahmed Moustafa
  • Samir Malik

Note: not all listed are considered ‘professional makers’ but all are at least ‘trainees’.

Businesses with two or more employees:

 

Other information

In order to gain the highest quality training, students have to gain skills outside of the UK.

In the 1960s the number of individual calligraphy masters of Istanbul were very few in number (perhaps in the 10s) however today, as an example, around 100 classes of students have graduated at the hands of Hassan Celebi who has been delivering weekly classes at various venues for decades.

Mohammed Zakariya (USA) was the first Westerner to receive his diploma (icazetname) as a professional calligrapher from Hassan Celebi in 1988. Since then three or four professional calligraphers have graduated at his hands in America, and many more international calligraphers were encouraged or inspired by him, and the tradition of the art has become much more well-known in the West as a result.

Although occasionally some Turkish masters in the past were self-taught to some degree, that level of mastery is unachievable in the UK without the guidance of a master.

 

References

 

Intaglio

Currently viable crafts

 

Intaglio printmaking

 

Printmaking where the image is incised into the surface of a printing plate by etching or engraving. Note: this entry refers to the workshop skills of intaglio printing as distinct from fine art (see ‘Other information’ below).

 

Status Currently viable
Historic area of significance
Area currently practised UK
Origin in the UK 16th century
Current no. of professionals (main income) Approximately 70 print workshops according to the Print Workshop Directory, 2009.
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
See ‘Other information’
Current no. of trainees
Current total no. serious amateur makers
Current total no. of leisure makers
Minimum no. of craftspeople required

 

History

Intaglio printmaking emerged in the wake of the woodcut print, and is thought to have begun in the 15th century. By the 16th century much mass printing was done using this technique including banknotes, stock certificates, newspapers, books, maps and magazines, fabrics, wallpapers and sheet music. Today, intaglio engraving is used largely for paper or plastic currency, banknotes, passports and occasionally for high-value postage stamps.

In the 19th century, Viennese printer Karel Klíč developed the process of photogravure, which produces a photograph-like image using a chemically etched copper plate.

 

Techniques

Intaglio printmaking techniques work by incising into the surface of a plate (steel, copper etc.). Afterwards the plate is coated with ink. The surface is wiped clean so that the ink remains only in the incised areas. The printing relies on the pressure of a press to force damp paper into these recessed lines, to pick up ink.

Etching and engraving are intaglio methods of printmaking; etching uses acid where engraving does not. Drypoint, line engraving and mezzotint are a type of engraving.

 

Local forms

 

 

Sub-crafts

  • Etching
  • Engraving
    • Line engraving
    • Drypoint
    • Mezzotint
  • Photogravure
  • Lithography

 

Issues affecting the viability of the craft

  • Skills issues: Whilst intaglio printing as a fine art technique is taught widely in art schools and universities across the UK, the number of institutions with dedicated print shops is declining. Most of the large print studios have now closed.
  • Skills issues: Print workshops, where artists can collaborate with highly trained print technicians, are declining in number and there is risk that higher level skills could be lost or become scarce.
  • Training issues: There is a lack of specialist, work based training for workshop printers.
  • Market issues: There are cheaper alternatives to intaglio printing, which make it less commercially viable.

 

Support organisations

  • Royal Society of Painter Printmakers
  • Printmakers Council
  • V&A prints and drawing room
  • Ashmolean Print Collection
  • British Museum Print Collection

 

Craftspeople currently known

The Print Workshops Directory by Sean Rorke gives a list of around 70 print workshops in the UK.

 

Other information

There are many UK artists and printmakers using intaglio in their work at a highly skilled level. The process is widely used by artists and taught in art schools across the UK. However, the number of print workshops run by highly skilled print technicians is declining.

 

References

 

Darkroom photography

Currently viable crafts

 

Darkroom photography

 

Photography using silver halide light sensitive films in cameras and then processed in a darkroom to create prints.

 

Status Currently viable
Historic area of significance UK
Area currently practised UK
Origin in the UK 1834 with the invention of the process by Fox-Talbot
Current no. of professionals (main income) 11-20. See ‘Other information’.
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
Current no. of trainees 100+ (darkroom photography is still taught on many degree courses)
Current total no. serious amateur makers
501-1,000
Current total no. of leisure makers
Minimum no. of craftspeople required

 

History

Darkrooms have been used since the early 19th century to process photographs from film. From the initial development of the film to the creation of prints, the darkroom process allows complete control over the medium.

A darkroom is used to process photographic film, to make prints and to carry out other associated tasks. It is a room that can be made completely dark to allow the processing of the light-sensitive photographic materials, including film and photographic paper. Various equipment is used in the darkroom, including an enlarger, baths containing chemicals, and running water.

Darkrooms started to fall out of favour due to the popularity of colour photography, the rise of instant photography technology and then digital photography. The main suppliers of darkroom materials since the late 1800s were Ilford Photo, Kodak, Agfa and Fuji. Now Ilford Photo are the main supplier of materials.

 

Techniques

Photos are taken using silver halide light sensitive films in cameras. The films are then processed in a darkroom and prints made from the negatives in a darkroom. A machine called an enlarger projects light through the negative onto light sensitive silver halide paper to make the print. The image on the paper can be manipulated during this exposure by using more than one exposure and waving hands or objects in the light beam to selectively change the image.

 

Local forms

 

 

Sub-crafts

  • Cyanotype printing
  • Early photography techniques e.g. platinum printing, wet collodion process, etc.

 

Issues affecting the viability of the craft

  • Availability of materials – darkroom photography relies on specialist materials, camera films, printing papers and photographic processing chemicals. There is only one main supplier for everything needed, Ilford Photo (a UK company owned by Harman Technology).
  • Domination of digital – digital photography and printing now dominates the market and is very easily accessible by a wide range of people from amateur to professional.

 

Support organisations

Craftspeople currently known

 

 

Other information

Whilst there are many amateur photographers, there are only a few people making a living from running darkroom workshops or selling fine art black and white darkroom prints.

However, it would seem that analogue photography has been enjoying a renaissance in recent years with the reintroduction of film stocks and the release of new cameras. As a result, new darkrooms are springing up around the UK in small numbers. These provide darkrooms for rent and training courses.

Local Darkroom offers a search facility for those looking for a darkroom, or to advertise a darkroom for hire.

 

References

Corset making

Currently viable crafts

 

Corset making

 

The designing and making of corsets; a garment worn to hold and train the torso into a desired shape for aesthetic or medical purposes.

 

Status Currently viable
Historic area of significance
Area currently practised UK
Origin in the UK
Current no. of professionals (main income) 20-50 (estimated)
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
1,000+
Current no. of trainees Not known
Current total no. serious amateur makers
1,000+
Current total no. of leisure makers
Minimum no. of craftspeople required

 

History

Corset making has a long tradition in the UK and across the world, and there is an increasing interest and market in both historical and modern corsets. Corsetry has never really gone out of fashion, but its focus has changed with fashions over the last century. The bespoke nature of corsetry and the huge diversity of clients means that the hand skills of making are being well preserved and actively transferred between makers. However, not all corsets are bespoke even when they are handmade, with many makers also having ready-to-wear lines.

Corsetry is rising in popularity with the general public with a huge spectrum of clients including for medical use, costume, film, tv, theatre, performance arts, drag, fetish, fashion, historical re-enactment, steampunk, cosplay and everything in between. There are no limits on the type of client and what they look for. Corset making is an increasingly popular hobby with active communities on social media.

 

Techniques

 

 

Local forms

 

 

Sub-crafts

Allied crafts:
  • Lingerie making

 

Issues affecting the viability of the craft

  • Lack of professional makers who are passing on skills – there are very few professional, full time corsetieres in the UK who teach students from the wider population.
  • Lack of formal training – there are few opportunities for formal training and most will learn from other makers. There are, however, many courses offering corsetry as degree module and there are a large number of online resources, courses and books available.
  • Difficulties in running a profitable business – whilst there are great number of corset makers, there are not that many who do it as a full time career. Many will rely on the supplementary income from teaching or selling materials, or will have other unrelated careers.

 

Support organisations

 

Craftspeople currently known

A list of UK makers can be found on the corsetiere map at Lucy’s Corsetry.

 

Other information

Some definitions:

  • A corsetiere is a person who is an expert on the purpose and engineering of a corset and how the body works in combination with corsetry, and can therefore engineer a corset pattern from scratch in order to create a garment which will change the shape of the body in a specific way.
  • A corset maker is someone who can sew a corset together from a given pattern.

There is much to be positive about for the future of corset making:

  • Strong networks – The strong and active worldwide network of skilled corsetiers and corset makers means that makers have more resources at their fingertips than ever before and more means to share their expertise. Both professional and hobby makers have benefitted from the opportunities to network through social media channels.
  • Skills transfer – Many skilled corsetieres in the world today have taught or are teaching and there is no shortage of skill transference. Those that teach say that there are more students that they can keep up with.

 

References