The Prince’s Foundation and QEST launch building arts programme

HammeringQEST and The Prince’s Foundation have launched the Building Arts Programme, focused on the core belief that our built environmental is a collaboration between a vast array of different disciplines which are all fundamentally linked.

Intended for students of architecture, building crafts and decorative and applied arts, this interdisciplinary programme will provide a space for rediscovering shared learning and practice, enabling students to explore the multifaceted nature of the built environment. Graduates will be well positioned to approach their practice in a manner which is both better informed and multidisciplinary, working with others to create a built environment which is more than just the sum of its parts.

Teaching will take place at Dumfries House, Ayrshire, but the course will also include a 12-week individual industry placement, giving students the opportunity to hone their skills within their own trade.

For more details visit the QEST website to download the course overview and application form.

Photo credit: Thom Atkinson

Flutemaking trainee sought to avert craft extinction

Stephen Wessel

Stephen Wessel – photo by South West News Service

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 to express an interest in this potential opportunity, applicants can contact 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.

New fund inundated with proposals to save endangered crafts

Zoe Collis, apprentice papermaker at Two Rivers Paper (photo by Alison Jane Hoare)

Zoe Collis, apprentice in the critically endangered craft of commercial handmade paper making. Photo by Alison Jane Hoare.

The Heritage Crafts Association (HCA), which earlier this year published the latest edition of its groundbreaking Red List of Endangered Crafts, has been overwhelmed with high-quality applications to its new Endangered Crafts Fund, launched on 1 July 2019.

So positive has been the response that the charity is now looking for additional donations to save even more of Britain’s most endangered crafts from oblivion.

Applications to the Endangered Crafts Fund include proposals for mentoring in marketing or business development, the provision of tools for trainees, and the creation of online educational resources to pass endangered skills on… all interventions that will help ensure that endangered crafts continue into the future.

The publication of the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts in May 2017 showed that the heritage crafts knowledge, skills and practices that form an important part of our shared cultural heritage, are – for a number of reasons – at risk of being lost. The HCA believes that these cultural assets are as important as unique heritage buildings and ancient beautiful landscapes and could provide future generations with fantastic opportunities to enrich their lives and the lives of others.

HCA Endangered Crafts Officer Mary Lewis said:

“We are so grateful for the donations we have received up to this point, which will provide critical support for some of the interventions needed… but it isn’t enough. We need more funds to prevent as many endangered crafts as possible from becoming extinct in this generation”

Donations make a real difference, with both smaller and larger amounts ensuring that craft skills are supported for the future. The Heritage Crafts Association will publicise instances of where donations are spent and the difference it has made to the survival of endangered craft skills.

Click here to donate to the Endangered Crafts Fund. For more information about the fund, email HCA Endangered Crafts Officer Mary Lewis at mary@heritagecrafts.org.uk.

Tinsmithing, currach making and letterpress on first register of Irish intangible heritage

Tinsmithing, currach making and letterpress on first register of Irish intangible heritage

The Irish Government have registered their first list of 30 cultural practices as part of their commitment to the 2003 UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, including traditional crafts such as tinsmithing, currach making, lacemaking, embroidery and basketmaking. Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan called these practices: “threads in the cultural tapestry of our lives that make us richer as individuals and as a country”.

Irish crafts registered include:

  • Limerick lace
  • Irish crochet lace
  • Mountmellick embroidery
  • Traveller tinsmithing
  • Sea currach making
  • Basketmaking
  • Letterpress printing
  • Carrickmacross lace
  • Dry stone construction
  • Boyne currach making
  • Loy digging

In December 2017, Ireland ratified the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. In stark contrast, the UK is one of only 17 of the 193 UNESCO member states not to have ratified the Convention, and is thus unable to register its traditional practices alongside those being celebrated and safeguarded across the world.

Tinsmithing is on the UK Red List of Endangered Crafts as critically endangered, meaning that it is at serious risk of no longer being practiced in the UK, with the current expectation that it will enter the next edition of the list as extinct in the UK. Coracle making and letterpress are currently also on the UK endangered list, with certain forms of lacemaking, basketry and dry stone walling also facing uncertain futures.

The Heritage Crafts Association helped set up an All-Party Parliamentary Group for Craft last year and will be continuing to advocate for better recognition for intangible cultural heritage to UK Ministers and Government officials.

Image: Tinsmith James Collins photographed by Alan Betson

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