Millwright training opportunity

MillwrightingDeadline: 1 December 2019

Millwrighting has been identified by the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts as a critically endangered skill,  and the Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) recognises the urgent need both to train new millwrights, and to encourage and equip experienced craftspeople to work on mills.

Therefore, SPAB is inviting applications for one place on its Craft Fellowship scheme from a craftsperson in any relevant trade who has an interest in mills, and in using and extending their skills to repair and maintain them.

The scheme will follow the existing format of the Craft Fellowship scheme, comprising learning and placements across the country. This is not a complete millwright training programme or apprenticeship, but a way for an experienced craftsperson to acquire specific additional skills to enable them to work on mills. Training extends over a period of nine months and is offered with a bursary to help cover travel and other costs.

https://www.spab.org.uk/learning/fellowship

Five grants awarded to help save endangered crafts

Richard Wheater teaching the craft of neon bending.

Richard Wheater teaching the craft of neon bending. Photo © Richard Wheater.

A new mobile facility to teach neon bending and the restoration of one of the last surviving damask looms are among the projects that have recently received funds to help ensure a better future for some of the UK’s most endangered crafts.

The Heritage Crafts Association (HCA), which earlier this year published the latest edition of its groundbreaking HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts, has awarded the first five grants from its Endangered Crafts Fund, launched in July 2019 to increase the likelihood of endangered crafts surviving into the next generation.

The first five recipients of the HCA Endangered Crafts Fund are:

  • Grace Horne, scissor maker – to create dies for the production of hot drop-forged scissor blanks that can be used by Grace and other makers to produce bespoke scissors.
  • Deborah White, damask weaver – to restore and use a loom to teach damask weaving to a new generation of weavers.
  • Clare Revera, basket maker – to develop and teach a Level 3 City & Guilds course on rare and endangered basket making skills at Westhope College.
  • Richard Wheater, neon bender – to build a mobile neon bombarding and vacuum facility to teach neon bending to beginners and intermediate trainees.
  • Kate Colin, fan maker – to develop the technical skills of fan making with a view to teaching the craft in future.

The fund was hugely oversubscribed and the HCA hopes to work with many of the unsuccessful candidates to identify other funding and support opportunities.

HCA Endangered Crafts Officer Mary Lewis said:

“We have been overwhelmed by so many wonderful applications and while we wish we had the funds to support them all, we are delighted to have been able to choose projects that we hope will provide future generations with an array of craft skills to which they might not otherwise have access.”

The Endangered Crafts Fund has been set up thanks to a number of generous donations from individuals, from as little as £5 right up to several thousands of pounds. The HCA is now seeking further donations to save even more of Britain’s most endangered crafts from oblivion.

Donations to the Endangered Crafts Fund are welcome at any time – for more information visit www.heritagecrafts.org.uk/ecf. Applications for grants are accepted on a rolling basis, with the next deadline for consideration 29 February 2020. For more information about the fund, email HCA Endangered Crafts Officer Mary Lewis at mary@heritagecrafts.org.uk.

Siân represents the UK in Uzbekistan

Sian Evan in UzbekistanCoppersmith and HCA member Siân Evans represented the UK heritage crafts sector at the first International Handicrafters Festival in Uzbekistan in September. Siân was invited by The Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in London represent the country and to demonstrate coppersmithing and talk about her work. According to the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts she is one of five known ornamental coppersmiths working in Britain today and the idea of cultural preservation through the language of crafts skills was a core theme at the Festival.

After the flight into Uzbekistan, delegates from seventy-nine countries were taken by train, over the mountains and into the city of Kokand, which had recently been granted the status of Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art by the World Crafts Council. The reception was extraordinary – crowds cheering, bands playing, children dancing – marking the start of a very special event.

Sian Evan in UzbekistanThe festival itself was held in the grounds of the Palace of Khudoyar-Khan, where a village of yurts, tents, marquees and huts had sprung up, each housing a working craftsperson. All fifteen regions of Uzbekistan were represented and international flags showed where the overseas visitors were based. On the first day there was considerable press interest and as a result, crowds grew each subsequent day.

On Saturday 14th a huge opening ceremony took place, in the presence of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev. In his welcoming speech, he spoke of the value of craftsmanship in universal culture and how it “occupies a special place in the life of each nation, shaping its mentality and values”.

He added: “the craftsmanship derives inspiration in harmony with nature” and that in order to “breathe life into an ordinary clay, piece of metal or wood… there will be needed not only scrupulous work, but also the warmth of human soul”.

1st International Handicrafters FestivalThe final two days of the festival were spent meeting new people, discovering the beautiful work, sharing skills, laughing and dancing! Many craftspeople (especially those in obscure or dying crafts) spend a lot of time working in isolation and so this new sense of a global community was not only profound, it was a revelation.

The generosity of the hosts was overwhelming at times, but the most moving gift was given just as it was time to leave. As the delegates boarded the train to return to Tashkent and fly back to their homes and workshops, they were each given a simple work apron, with the emblem of the festival on it.

Flutemaking trainee sought to avert craft extinction

Stephen Wessel

Stephen Wessel – photo by South West News Service

Deadline: 31 October 2019

The Heritage Crafts Association (HCA) has set out to save British flutemaking by seeking potential trainees interested in learning this intricate and highly-skilled craft from a retiring master.

Stephen Wessel from Somerset is currently believed to be the last full-time craftsperson in the UK making fully handmade Boehm system flutes.

Stephen’s impending retirement, after 35 years in the business, not only ends a long and illustrious career, but could signal the end of flutemaking in the UK – a proud tradition stretching back to the nineteenth century.

Even before news of Stephen’s retirement, the scarcity of British flute makers had led to the craft being reclassified as critically endangered in this year’s edition of the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts.

As the organisation set up to safeguard traditional craft skills in the UK, the HCA has teamed up with Jonathan Myall (a lifelong flute enthusiast and owner of Just Flutes in South Croydon) who has offered to host and support a trainee while they learn the craft from Stephen.

The successful applicant will be keen to learn, will have a proven ability to solve technical problems, and is likely to have existing engineering skills (such as those gained from precision silversmithing, jewellery or model engineering) which will serve them well when learning to make the key mechanisms that create the beautiful even tone for which these flutes have become famous.

Stephen Wessel said:

“I started my working life as a research engineer. I didn’t care for it and left aged 26 to do my own thing… a good decision which I have never regretted, for I love making things and you can’t do much of that sitting in an office. Ours is still a great manufacturing nation and in my small way I feel proud to be part of it.”

For more details and application form, email Mary Lewis, HCA Endangered Crafts Officer, at mary@heritagecrafts.org.uk. Applicants should note that the traineeship is dependent on the HCA and Jonathan Myall sourcing additional funds once a suitable candidate has been identified.

Apply to the Endangered Crafts Fund

Last making

Endangered craft of last making. Photo by Steven Lowe.

The Heritage Crafts Association is inviting craft practitioners and organisations in the UK to apply for small grants to fund projects that support and promote endangered crafts (the craft must be listed as endangered or critically endangered on the current Red List of Endangered Crafts).

There is a maximum of £2,000 available for each project and we will work with you to develop and support your work.

For example, this may include:

  • training for yourself to learn a new craft or technique;
  • training for an apprentice so that you can pass on skills and knowledge;
  • specialist equipment that will enable you to practice a craft or add a new product to your business;
  • materials and equipment to start running workshops; or
  • innovative approaches to supporting and promoting endangered crafts.

In addition to the funding you will also receive support from the Endangered Crafts Officer and the Heritage Crafts Association team to ensure that your project is a success. This will be unique to your project but it could include mentor support, business support or signposting to other opportunities.

To apply please fill in an Expression of Interest form and we will call you back to discuss your project. Please note that this is a competitive process and not all projects will receive funding. Successful applicants must join the HCA (£20 a year for individuals) if they are not already members.

Download an Expression of Interest form here

If you would like to talk to us about your project or would like to check your eligibility to apply please email Mary Lewis at mary@heritagecrafts.org.uk. Alternatively, if you would like to make a donation to the Endangered Crafts Fund, please click here.

Supported by: The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund, Ernest Cook Trust and the generous support of individual donors and HCA members.

Winners of the 2019 Heritage Crafts Awards

Winners of the 2019 Heritage Crafts Awards

Handmade paper maker James Patterson has been named Maker of the Year in this year’s Heritage Crafts Awards.

Maker of the Year was one of six awards presented at the Heritage Crafts Association’s (HCA) annual conference at Cecil Sharp House, London on 9th March.

James is the owner and operator of Somerset-based Two Rivers Paper, which manufactures handmade paper for artists, printers and designers. Based in a 400 year old water mill, it is the only commercial business of its kind in the UK and one of only a handful in Europe. James won the award in recognition of the quality of his work, for his role in developing the skills of others, both within his own business and beyond, and for the innovations which are enabling him to keep the craft alive.

Simon Brock, winner of the Endangered Craft Award, with Nick Carter, Marsh Christian Trust.

Clog maker Simon Brock from Sheffield won the HCA/Marsh Endangered Craft Award. This award, set up with the support of the Marsh Christian Trust, recognises a practitioner of one of the crafts listed in the ‘critically endangered’ or ‘endangered’ categories of the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts. Simon makes bespoke clogs, primarily for clog step dancers and Morris dancers. He will use his award to study with master clog maker Jeremy Atkinson, learning how to carve clog soles entirely by hand using traditional clog knives. Simon also won the HCA/Arts Society Heritage Crafts bursary which will enable him to extend his studies with Jeremy.

Tony Kindell of Aldershaw Handmade Tiles Ltd, winner of the ‘Made in Britain’ Award, with Nick Carter, Marsh Christian Trust.

Winner of the HCA/Marsh ‘Made in Britain’ Award is Aldershaw Handmade Tiles Ltd. The Sussex-based company employs traditional hand making methods using wooden moulds and 150-million-year-old local Wadhurst clay. The company is one of only a few still making sanded, rubbed or glazed mathematical tiles, used since the 1700s as a method of weatherproofing timber buildings in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Northamptonshire.  Aldershaw’s terracotta tiles can be found in floors and roofs all over the country: on The Queen’s House at The Tower of London, Harmondsworth Medieval Barn, St James Church Piccadilly, the Real Tennis Court at Hampton Court together with the National Trust Village West Wycombe, English Heritage properties and many private estates.

 Trainer of the Year Neill Mapes with Nick Carter, Marsh Christian Trust.

HCA/Marsh Trainer of the Year is Neill Mapes of the Small Woods Association (SWA). In his role first as a volunteer and then as SWA’s Heritage Crafts Officer, Neill has trained and mentored many thousands of enthusiasts, volunteers, SWA members and the general public in a wide range of crafts, including rake making, bowl turning, broom making, pole lathe turning, currach and coracle making. He leads the teaching of crafts skills at the Greenwood Centre in Coalbrookdale, Shropshire, and has an enthusiastic following on social media, which he uses to share his skills.

Volunteer of the Year Toni Brannon with Nick Carter, Marsh Christian Trust.

The HCA/Marsh Volunteer of the Year Award went to Toni Brannon for years of dedication to coppicing and woodland crafts, both as membership secretary of the Hampshire Coppice Group and as committee member of the National Coppice Federation since its inception in 2013. Toni won the award for her role in raising awareness of coppicing and for the contribution she has made to improving training opportunities for coppice workers and woodland craft practitioners across the UK.

During the conference, fore-edge painter Martin Frost MBE, and textile designer Kaffe Fassett MBE were awarded with certificates to mark their inclusion in The Queen’s Birthday and New Year’s Honours Lists. Both were nominated for their awards by the Heritage Crafts Association.

Speakers at the sell-out conference included Jay Blades from BBC2’s The Repair Shop, Woman’s Hour Craft Prize finalist Celia Pym, and Mike Jenn, founder of Men’s Sheds.

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, visit http://awards.heritagecrafts.org.uk/ 

 

2019 Heritage Crafts Awards finalists

Maker of the Year:  Louise Anderson;   James Patterson;  Charlie Trevor

Endangered Craft Award:  Teresa Bailey;  Simon Brock;  Tuesday Riddell

Made in Britain:  Aldershaw Handmade Tiles Ltd;  Peter Faulkner Coracles;  Laura’s Loom;  Two Rivers Paper

Trainer of the YearSue Macniven;  Neill Mapes;  Denise Stirrup

Volunteer of the Year:  Toni Brannon

HCA/Arts Society Bursary:  Heather Berry;  Simon Brock;  Dave Evers