Falconry furniture making
The making of hoods and accessories for the practice of falconry.
|Historic area of significance||UK|
|Area currently practised||UK|
|Origin in the UK||Probably 8th Century|
|Current no. of professionals (main income)||1-5|
|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|
The craft of falconry furniture making has waxed and waned with the fashion of the sport. Up until the mid- to late-1600s falconry was practised by most classes. Once firearms became readily available it fell out of fashion and was pursued by a very few enthusiasts for about 300 years. Furniture would have been made by local craftsmen, saddlers, blacksmiths, glovers etc. Falconry underwent a revival from the 1960s onwards, and by this time everyone had to make their own equipment as there was nobody left to learn from. This led to a number of professional makers, most of whom came and went as they were mostly not able to make a living. About ten years ago people started to import equipment from abroad, mostly Pakistan, which has seriously impacted UK makers.
- Glove making
- Fine leatherwork
Issues affecting the viability of the craft
- Most makers are self-taught amateurs. Even professionals, of which there are few full time, are largely self-taught.
- Many makers have succumbed to outsourcing production to Pakistan or China and selling mail order from home.
- Imported furniture is often poor in quality and design, but many falconers know no difference.
Craftspeople currently known
- Ben Long
- Chris Payne
- Steve Halsall
- Kevin McMillan
- Martin Jones – has reduced his business, stopped producing a full range online and just markets specific items to a high-end London retail trade.
Some falcon owners make their own furniture, generally simple things like jesses. A much smaller proportion make gloves and hoods regularly, although quite a few will have a go once or twice and then give up.