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Take part in the Pre-apprenticeship Programme in West Cornwall

16 to 25-years olds have until 27 January to apply for one of our three free ‘pre-apprenticeship’ taster courses in the crafts of Cornish hedging, basketry or coppersmithing this Spring. This opportunity is being funded and run in partnership with Penwith Landscape Partnership.

 

Cornish hedging

  • Cornish hedging with the Guild of Cornish HedgersCourse description: During this five-day course, participants will have a good taster of working in Cornish hedging, which will include learning about the materials used, selecting the right materials, how to work tools correctly, techniques used, preparing and setting up a work area, good code of practice, and how to work safely.
  • Location: The Guild of Cornish Hedgers, Sancreed.
  • Start date: To be arranged depending on participants and trainers availability. They plan for it to begin in the middle of March.
  • Duration: 5 days, once a week. This will be weather dependent.
  • What next?: Aside from this being a great opportunity to have a taster of what Cornish hedging is like, after the free 5 day taster training course, there is the option to attend a further paid for 10-day training course with the Guild.

 

Basketry

  • Basketry with Geraldine JonesCourse description: During this course, participants will learn a bit about working with living willow, which will include some planting and possibly creating willow arches at a recently discovered ancient willow garden. There will be the opportunity to try out various basketry techniques, talk to other crafts people and also learn a bit about selling work in galleries and outlets.
  • Location: Various, which include Rosudgeon and Porthleven with basket maker Geraldine Jones.
  • Start date: To be arranged depending on participants and trainers availability. They plan for it to begin in the middle of March.
  • Duration: 9 days, which are planned to be run in blocks.
  • What next?: This course is aimed to give you an insight into learning more about basketry and also how to set up a small business. Participants could become a self employed crafts person and map out any further training they may want to attend to develop their practise.

 

Coppersmithing

  • Coppersmithing with Newlyn CopperworksCourse description: During this course, participants will have the opportunity to learn some coppersmithing techniques in a well established workshop with experienced trainers. They will also see examples of past and present commission/project work.
  • Location: The Copper Works in Newlyn.
  • Start date: To be arranged depending on participants and trainers availability. They plan for it to begin towards the end of February / beginning of March
  • Duration: To be confirmed as this depends on commissions/projects they have in place at the time and availability of participants/trainers. They would prefer training to run in blocks, which will last for no more than 18 days.
  • What next?: This training will give participants a great opportunity to try out Coppersmithing and to see how a successful business in the industry works. There will also be opportunities to discuss further skills development outside of this project and how to work in the industry.

 

If you would like to apply for any of these opportunities, please fill out the application form here.

For more details, please contact Project Manager Anna Pope at anna@heritagecrafts.org.uk.

MBEs for three heritage craftspeople in the Birthday Honours

Plaster worker Geoffrey Preston, basket maker Hilary Burns, and coppice worker Rebecca Oaks have been awarded MBEs in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021, in recognition of their unparalleled craftsmanship and tireless work in ensuring their skills are passed on to current and future generations.

The three were nominated by the Heritage Crafts Association for this year’s Birthday Honours, following 20 previously successful nominations since 2013. Last month, the charitable organisation – which was set up in 2009 to support and champion traditional craft skills – published the latest edition of its groundbreaking HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts, the first report of its kind to rank craft skills by the likelihood they will survive into the next generation.

Geoffrey PrestonGeoffrey Preston MBE spearheaded the reintroduction of the endangered craft of stucco to the UK, a style of pargeting whereby designs are moulded directly onto a wall or ceiling, and is categorised as endangered on the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts.

He has been a sculptor and decorative plaster worker for fifty years, after being apprenticed as a stonemason in London, working as a carver on the West Front of Exeter Cathedral in the 1980s, and being trained in modelling under Professor Robert Baker. Francis Terry, one of the UK’s leading classical architects, called him: “England’s best modeller of architectural detail in stucco and moulded plaster”.

Hilary BurnsHCA Maker of the Year 2018 and Yeoman of the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers, Hilary Burns MBE is a craftswoman, teacher, writer, researcher and advocate with a passion for passing on her skills. Working with humble materials, she produces stunning functional and sculptural pieces inspired by her study of traditional basketry techniques.

An instigator of the largest international basketmaking conference held in the UK in 2013, Hilary has continued to promote the craft globally, with her own work exhibited in New York and Japan, as well as organising skills exchanges to countries such as the Azores and Cyprus.

Rebecca OaksRebecca Oaks MBE is the founder and driving force behind the Bill Hogarth Memorial Apprenticeship Trust, set up in 2001 in honour of her mentor, to provide training in sustainable woodland management that benefits biodiversity and wider society. She developed a structured three-year apprenticeship that has awarded diplomas to 18 apprentices, most of whom now run their own coppice craft businesses.

Rebecca went on to develop a partnership with the Small Woods Association to run the National Coppice Apprenticeship Scheme, and was a founder director of the National Coppice Federation, which gives a national, unified voice to regional coppice groups.

HCA Operations Director Daniel Carpenter said:

“We are extremely delighted that Geoffrey, Hilary and Rebecca have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Having traditional craftspeople up there with other great luminaries of public life in this way is vitally important, as unlike countries such as Japan and Korea we have no Living National Treasures scheme to celebrate master craftspeople, and the UK is one of only 13 of the 193 UNESCO member states yet to ratify the 2003 Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage.”

The Heritage Crafts Association encourages anyone who supports the continuation of traditional craft skills, whether or not they are makers themselves, to become members. The charity has set up an Endangered Crafts Fund to provide small grants to projects that increase the likelihood of endangered craft skills surviving into the next generation, and is currently seeking donations to save more of Britain’s most endangered crafts from oblivion – visit www.heritagecrafts.org.uk/ecf to find out more and to donate.

Nine new grants awarded to help save endangered crafts from extinction

Monica Cass. Photo copyright Katherine Mager.

Monica Cass weaving a ‘tau tray’ using skeined willow in Norfolk. Photo copyright Katherine Mager.

A chair seater, a concertina maker and a brick and tile maker are among the recipients of the latest round of grants awarded to help safeguard some of the UK’s most endangered craft skills.

The Heritage Crafts Association, which is due to publish the third edition of its groundbreaking HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts in May, has awarded a further nine grants from its Endangered Crafts Fund, which was launched in 2019 to increase the likelihood of endangered crafts surviving into the next generation.

This round of the HCA Endangered Crafts Fund has been offered with support from the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Dulverton Trust, the Sussex Heritage Trust, Allchurches Trust, the Radcliffe Trust and the Swire Charitable Trust. The nine successful recipients are:

  • Duncan Berry, from West Sussex, to buy tools to enable him to pass on his skills as a flint waller.
  • Ben Bosence, from East Sussex, to develop and make bricks and tiles from waste clay that has been excavated locally.
  • Monica Cass, from Norwich, to train a chair seat weaver in skeined willow techniques, and document the process.
  • Collette Davies, from Monmouth, to help revive the craft of lipwork straw basketry.
  • Tom Frith-Powell, from Cumbria, to develop a gelatine sized paper as part of his commercial handmade papermaking charity.
  • Bob Green, from Brighton, to buy tools to enable him to develop and pass on his skills as a flint waller.
  • Jake Middleton-Metcalf, from Buckinghamshire, to be trained in making the critical working components of the English system concertina.
  • Tony Millyard, from Northamptonshire, to pass on flute making skills and to develop a new model of flute.
  • Dominic Parrette, from East Sussex, to build shave horses to allow him to teach trainees how to make Sussex trug and Devon stave baskets.
A hand made Anglo-German Concertina by Jake Middleton-Metcalfe. Photo copyright Jake Middleton-Metcalfe.

A hand made Anglo-German Concertina by Jake Middleton-Metcalfe. Photo copyright Jake Middleton-Metcalfe.

These nine projects follow 18 awarded in previous rounds, covering endangered crafts such as scissor making, sail making, damask weaving, boot tree making, cockle basket making, folding knife making, neon bending, coracle making, fan making and swill basket making, coppersmithing, withy pot making, disappearing fore-edge painting, plane making and kishie basket making.

As usual the fund was 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:

“The impact of COVID-19 in the last twelve months has only compounded the pressures on those at-risk craft skills that were already on the verge of being lost, but have so much to offer a post-COVID future, as productive and fulfilling ways to rebuild a sustainable economy. These projects will realise some of that potential.”

The Endangered Crafts Fund has been funded through generous donations from organisations including Garfield Weston Foundation, the Dulverton Trust, the Sussex Heritage Trust, Allchurches Trust, the Radcliffe Trust, as well as individuals who have donated sums from £5 right up to several thousands of pounds. The forthcoming 2021 edition of the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts is funded by the Pilgrim Trust.

The HCA continues to seek further donations to save even more of Britain’s most endangered crafts from oblivion. Donations are welcome at any time.

Report on endangered basketmaking skills

Endangered Baskets in the UKThis report arises from the first UK-wide survey of the endangered basketry skills we carried out in partnership with the Basketmakers’ Association, the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers and the Museum of English Rural Life.

Its aims were to raise awareness, to create a list of endangered skills, and to consult with the basketmaking community to develop an action plan to safeguard these skills as part of our intangible cultural heritage.

Findings from the report, authored by Mary Lewis and Selena Chandler, will inform the 2021 edition of the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts due to be published in May.

View the report

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.