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Three fashion textile bursary recipients announced

Heritage Crafts and the Costume Society are delighted to announce the three successful training bursary receipients awarded as part of their new partnership.

Many people are dissuaded from training in the hand skills of fashion textiles because of the cost, and therefore the make-up of the sector is not truly representative of the UK as a whole. This bursary has been set up to help cover or subsidise the training of someone who would otherwise be prevented from pursuing this career path as a result of the cost.

    Mia Brennan

  • Mia Brennan – from Kent has attended a number of short millinery courses over the years and gained valuable hands-on experience working freelance one day per week with Vivienne Lake. Her bursary will allow her to attend the BTEC Higher National Certificate in Millinery at Morley College on a part-time basis while continuing her career and earning enough to raise her young daughter.
  • Katie Sawyer – from Cheshire is a disabled freelance historic textile craftsperson who began learning heritage crafts with nalbinding and stinging nettle textiles, Katie Sawyerbefore expanding her skills to a wide variety of textile techniques including historical costume, embroidery, needle felting, spinning, knitting and mending. Her bursary will cover one-to-one training with historical textile expert Sally Pointer, as well as various courses at the Manchester School of Costume. Her long-term goal is to become a historical textile leader of the North West, teaching others historic textile skills through workshops and demonstrations.
    Costumier Maya Howes

  • Maya Howes – from Staffordshire has been creating and selling her work since she was 16, and taking commissions since she was 18. She currently has a small business making historical clothing for re-enactors and theatre, as well as doing local alteration work. Her bursary will allow her to attend the Corsetry Retreat in Lincolnshire to learn 18th century stay making, as well to gain additional one-to-one tuition. Her plan is to focus her business on historical corsetry and stay making, creating comfortable historically accurate garments for museums, re-enactors, and theatre, as well as helping other Autistic and neurodivergent makers into the industry.

The Costume SocietyThe Costume Society is a UK membership organisation formed in 1964 to promote the study and preservation of historic and contemporary dress. As well as training bursaries, its partnership with Heritage Crafts includes a brand-new Fashion Textile Maker of the Year Award launching this summer and an Endangered Fashion Textiles Skills Symposium to take place at the end of the year.

The bursaries funded by the Costume Society and are three of over thirty to be awarded by Heritage Crafts this year. The next round of applications opens on 29 April 2024.

Second Kelmscott Manor Maker in Residence announced

The Society of Antiquaries of London, in partnership with Heritage Crafts, is thrilled to introduce Illuminator Sarah Davis as the Maker in Residence for 2024 at Kelmscott Manor. This historic residence, once the cherished home of acclaimed writer, designer-craftsman, conservationist, and revolutionary socialist William Morris, will be the backdrop for Sarah’s residency from April to October 2024.

Sarah DaviesThis year (2024) sees the second of three residencies at Kelmscott Manor by members of Heritage Crafts, with a particular focus on an ‘endangered’ craft featured in the 2023 edition of the Red List of Endangered Crafts. During her residency Sarah will be focusing on the endangered craft of Illumination.

The project presents an opportunity to showcase endangered crafts in an iconic rural setting visited annually by over 27,000 people.

Memoria Lewis, General Secretary of the Society of Antiquaries, said:

“After a successful first year of our Maker in Residence programme I’m delighted to see our partnership with Heritage Crafts continue. I’m excited that we are championing an endangered craft this year and bringing awareness of these to a wider audience. Sarah’s expertise as an illuminator will no doubt inspire those interested in the craft and those who have never seen the beauty of an illuminated text. I can’t wait to see Sarah’s response to Kelmscott and the work she develops during her time with us.”

Sarah’s appointment as the 2024 Maker in Residence at Kelmscott brings with it the unique opportunity to reflect Morris’s advocacy of heritage and the handmade and contribute to his legacy by playing a distinctive part in the Manor’s programme of public engagement. Visitors will be able to discover the endangered art of illumination through hands-on workshops and demonstrations led by Sarah throughout her residency. Sarah will also share her historic craft with education groups as part of our Learning & Outreach programme.

Sarah Davis, 2024 Maker in Residence, said:

“As this year’s Maker in Residence at Kelmscott Manor, I am thrilled to highlight the endangered craft of illumination. Guided by the manor and its beautiful surroundings, I see this as an opportunity to grow as an illuminator and to deepen my knowledge of this stunning endangered craft. Inspired by the enduring legacy of William Morris, his commitment to craft skills and fellowship, I look forward to sharing what I learn with visitors to the manor and the wider community online.”

Daniel Carpenter, Heritage Crafts Executive Director, said:

“Morris believed in the enduring relevance of crafts that had been passed down through the generations, as well as the necessity of their continual evolution in order to secure their place within an ever-changing society. We are delighted to be working with the Society of Antiquaries for a second year, focusing on crafts the continuation of which modern society has put obstacles in the way, but that we believe can have a viable future. Sarah’s craft is a wonderful example of this and she is perfectly placed to continue Morris’ legacy of maintaining the contemporary relevance of mediaeval craftsmanship.”

Sarah’s appointment as the Maker in Residence is made possible as part of our NHLF- funded £6 million Kelmscott and Morris: Past, Present and Future project.


Maker bio

Sarah Davis is a multi-media artist exploring themes relating to the cyclical nature of recovery and renewal. The natural world serves as a deep pool of inspiration with the allegory, myth and folklore of animalistic subjects driving her narrative approach. Davis uses traditional making techniques with a deep historical resonance, such as wood carving, gilding and illumination. Since 2020 Sarah has been practicing the art of illumination which is listed on the Heritage Crafts Red List of Endangered Crafts.

In 2012 Davis graduated from Chelsea college of art with a BA in Fine art. She returned to education in 2015 to study woodcarving and gilding at the City & Guilds of London Art School, where she now teaches on the Woodcarving BA & Conservation BA.


Meet the Kelmscott Manor Maker in Residence at London Craft Week

When: 13 May 2024, 10.45am to 12pm
Where: Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD
Cost: £15 to include refreshments

Join a panel discussion with 2023 Maker in Residence ceramicist Alison Proctor and newly-appointed 2024 Maker in Residence ceramicist Sarah Davis, alongside Kelmscott Manor’s Kathy Haslam and Hannah Britton, and Heritage Crafts’ Daniel Carpenter. Hear about how Alison’s residency progressed in response to the site and Morris’ legacy, see her work first-hand, and listen to Sarah’s hopes for the coming year.

Book here:

First round of Heritage Crafts Awards 2024 open

Deadline: 24 May 2024, 5pm

President's Award 2023 made by Eddy BennettThe first round of the Heritage Crafts Awards in 2024 are now open for nominations, with 12 prizes over seven award categories up for grabs. The Awards, which have been running since 2012, celebrate and highlight the traditional living crafts that contribute to British heritage. 

The President’s Award for Endangered Crafts, now in its fifth year, was established by Heritage Crafts President The Former Prince of Wales. Each year the President’s Award presents £3,000 to a heritage craftsperson who will use the funding to ensure that craft skills are passed on to the future.

The second annual Environmental Sustainability Award, in partnership with the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST), will this year award two £1,000 prizes, open to craftspeople working with traditional craft skills or materials who have demonstrated an innovative approach to environmental sustainability or transformed the environmental impact of their craft business through a series of incremental changes and improvements.

Florence EganThe tenth annual Maker of the Year Award will this year award four £1,000 prizes, to heritage craftspeople in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, who have made an outstanding contribution to their specific crafts within the previous 12 months, with support from the Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation. An overall UK Maker of the Year will be selected from the four national winners, with their prize topped up to £2,000, with support from the Marsh Charitable Trust.

The Marsh Charitable Trust will support four other awards, including Trainer of the Year, Trainee of the Year, the Lifetime Achievement Award, and the new Community Catalyst of the Year Award.

List of awards open until 24 May 2024:

Anyone, including the makers themselves, can nominate for this award. The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 24 May 2024 and you can find out more about each award, as well as how to apply, at The award winners will be announced at a high-profile Winners’ Reception in November 2024.

A second round of awards will open for nominations on 17 June, including Woodworker of the Year, Precious Metalworker of the Year, Fashion and Textile Maker of the Year, Leatherworker of the Year and others, as well as range of awards for young makers aged 25 and under.


Reviving the craft of cricket ball making in the UK

Dukes cricket ballAs Co-Chair of Heritage Crafts, the UK charity set up to support traditional crafts skills, Jay Blades MBE is leading a new initiative to bring cricket ball making back to the UK.

Cricket ball making has been listed as extinct in the UK since the first edition of the Red List of Endangered Crafts was published in 2017. While some of the processes that go into make a cricket ball are done in the UK, the highly-skilled hand-stitching is usually outsourced to other countries.

Heritage Crafts Co-Chair Jay Blades MBE said:

“We are putting a national shout out to trainers and wannabe cricket ball makers. Get in touch! We need to find retired makers, or anyone with knowledge of how to make cricket balls, to contact Heritage Crafts so we can capture those skills and hopefully pass them on to a new generation of cricket ball makers in this country. Come on Britain! Let’s get the ball rolling and bring cricket ball making back!”

The aim is to find serious trainees, perhaps with saddlery skills or a background in leather work, who want to learn how to make cricket balls. Heritage Crafts and partners, including Duke’s Cricket, are raising funds to support the training, so we can bring the craft of making top-level cricket balls back to the UK, the birthplace of cricket.

To register your interest as a potential trainer or trainee, please contact Heritage Crafts at

UK to ratify 2003 UNESCO Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage

Historic decision lauded by Heritage Crafts, the UK charity for traditional crafts, which has been a UNESCO-accredited NGO for Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2017 and been advocating for UK ratification with others since 2010.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has today announced that United Kingdom is set to ratify the 2003 UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, bringing it in line with the 182 other UNESCO Member States already ratified, and opening the way to greater international cooperation on the importance of the UK’s knowledge, skills and practices as part of our living heritage.

Sarah ReadyAdoption of the Convention will open the way to increased monitoring of the UK’s intangible cultural heritage, including practices that have come here through migrant and diaspora communities, and better safeguarding of the most at-risk examples.

Traditional craftsmanship is one of five domains of intangible cultural heritage recognised by UNESCO, alongside oral traditions and expressions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe. Heritage Crafts has already been monitoring and safeguarding the traditional craftsmanship domain since 2017 through its influential Red List of Endangered Crafts, the first research report to rank craft skills by their likelihood of survival in the UK and its Endangered Crafts Fund, which has provided 66 grants to improve the chance of survival of the most at-risk examples.

The Government has today launched a public consultation to “inform UK’s approach to creating a new register for traditions valued by communities up and down the country”, through which “[c]ommunities across the UK will be able to nominate their most cherished local traditions to be included in a new register of cultural heritage in the UK.” The consultation runs until the end of February.

Cultured WaistThere will be no single government or organisation responsible for implementation across the UK, so open dialogue and discussion to ensure a diversity of voices and views will be fundamental. This is in line with the underlying principles of the Convention that implementation is community based, inclusive and respectful, open and engaged.

The process for adding items to the Inventory will be to call for items to be submitted by communities, groups or individuals. Subject to a light-touch approvals process, the new entries will be announced on a regular basis – probably quarterly. DCMS will look to engage and provide support for those who wish to submit items.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, Arts and Heritage Minister, said:

“The UK is rich in traditions which are passed down from generation to generation. These crafts, customs, and celebrations have helped to shape our communities and bring people together, who continue to shape them in turn. By ratifying this Convention, we will be able to celebrate treasured traditions from every corner of the UK, support the people who practise them, and ensure they are passed down for future generations to enjoy.”

Daniel Carpenter, Executive Director of Heritage Crafts, said:

“Following 14 years of advocating for the ratification of the 2003 Convention, this is a historic day for the United Kingdom. Ratification will help ensure that knowledge, skills and practices integral to the UK’s ever-evolving national identity will be properly valued and safeguarded, and we will be able to join the rest of the world in sharing good practices on how to achieve this. The work now begins to ensure that the full diversity of intangible cultural heritage in the UK is represented.”

DCMS announcement:

DCMS consultation:

Summary of consultation questions (for reference only):

Heritage Crafts’ reponse to the consultation:

Online consultation workshops: 

Heritage Crafts and The Royal Mint launch new precious metal bursaries

The Royal MintThe Royal Mint and Heritage Crafts have announced four new bursaries for precious metal workers to preserve and champion traditional British craftsmanship skills, following the success of last year’s bursaries.

The four successful applicants of the 2024 bursary scheme will benefit from up to £4,000 in funding each, as well as one-to-one support from the staff at Heritage Crafts.

Silver box making by 2023 bursary recipient Iona Hall

Silver box making by 2023 recipient Iona Hall

The new bursaries follow five previous bursaries awarded in 2023 to early-career practitioners of precious metal crafts. In August the successful recipients visited The Royal Mint’s manufacturing base in South Wales for a special tour and to meet key craftspeople. Last year’s bursary recipients included Iona Hall, who has been training in silver box making with renowned silversmith Ray Walton. The others were silver spinners Claire Mooney and Caius Bearder, silversmith Emma-Jane Rule, and jewellery maker Rosie Elwood.

The UK has an incredible range of heritage craft skills, from basketmaking and boatbuilding to musical instrument making and stained glass, along with some of the finest craftspeople in the world. But many of these skills are in the hands of individuals who have been unable to pass them on, often due to limited training opportunities and the increasing burdens put upon small businesses, leaving a number of traditional British crafts under threat.

Silver box making by 2023 bursary recipient Iona Hall

Silver box making by 2023 recipient Iona Hall

The 2023 edition of the Red List of Endangered Crafts produced by Heritage Crafts showed that 62 crafts were classified as critically endangered and a further 84 as endangered. But it’s not all bad news; some crafts, such as gilding, have seen a resurgence thanks to support from Heritage Crafts and a heightened appreciation of the handmade among the general public.

The Royal Mint’s expertise in precious metals spans over a thousand years. Known as the home of precious metals, The Royal Mint offers products including gold, silver and platinum commemorative coins, bars for investment, and a digital gold saving option, backed by metal held in their vault. Last year they announced plans to build a factory to recover precious metals from electronic waste. Recovered precious metal is being used to create beautiful jewellery pieces in their latest business venture, 886 by The Royal Mint.

Anne Jessopp, CEO of The Royal Mint, said:

“The Royal Mint is an exemplar of British craftsmanship, and we believe we have a duty to promote, protect and celebrate British craftsmanship, which is why I am extremely proud to support a second year of precious metal bursaries in partnership with Heritage Crafts. Following the success of the inaugural bursaries, it’s been positive to see the successes of the winners and we’re delighted we could support their careers development both financially but also by learning from our master craftspeople here at The Royal Mint. I look forward to seeing what this year’s applicants plan to do with the new bursaries and what precious metals skills will be utilised.”

Iona Hall, one of the 2023 bursary recipients, said:

“I am so grateful for this bursary, which has helped my practice so much. Having my work seen and appreciated by organisations like Heritage Crafts and the Royal Mint made me feel so much more confident in my work and gave me a new drive. My skills have come leaps and bounds after undertaking my training, and my trainer has said that can see me improving and growing confidence. I have thoroughly enjoyed every part and I am so thankful you believed in my silver boxes!”

Jay Blades, Co-Chair of Heritage Crafts, said:

“We are delighted to launch the second year of bursaries in partnership with The Royal Mint. Their passion for the preservation of British craftsmanship aligns so well with our mission to safeguard these skills for the next generation. Based on the success of last year, we know that these bursaries will provide unique opportunities to precious metals craftspeople that would not previously have been possible.”

This is a part of an ongoing partnership between Heritage Crafts and The Royal Mint that also saw the presentation of the first ever Precious Metalworker of the Year Award in November, to watch dial enameller Sally Morrison from Glasgow, during a special reception at the College of St George, Windsor Castle, and featuring a trophy specially made by The Royal Mint team. In addition, the two organisations hosted a symposium of precious metal practitioners from across the UK at Somerset House in July 2023 to identify the issues facing the sector and what might be done to relieve them.

Click here for more information on how to apply for the bursaries (deadline 23 February 2024)