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11 new training bursaries awarded

Heritage Crafts is delighted to award 11 new bursaries for trainees from across the UK to learn heritage craft skills, supported by the City & Guilds Foundation, the Army Benevolent Fund, the Ashley Family Foundation, the Principality Building Society’s Future Generations Fund, the Arts Society, DCA Consulting and Kendrick Hobbs.

These follow previous bursaries supported by The Royal Mint and other partners, and are intended to support heritage crafts trainees who are unable to meet the cost of their training, as the UK continues to deal with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Bursaries 2023Hannah Girvan is a Devon-based early-career furniture maker and architectural joiner who works for Woodlab, making furniture from local wood that they kiln-dry on site. Their bursary will allow them to undertake a one-to-one apprenticeship there, alongside spending up to a week per month at fine furniture school Williams & Cleal. Their goal is to develop a skillset based on eco-forestry principles. They plan to teach and speak in support of an inclusive culture in heritage crafts, helping craftspeople of the future.

Leena Patel is an Edinburgh-based early-career jewellery maker. For the last two years she has attended weekly community-based jewellery-making sessions. Her bursary will allow her to complete a one-year foundation course to continue on her jewellery-making journey. The course would provide an in-depth knowledge into the skills required to become a jewellery maker and designer. Ultimately, she hopes to start a business, and to encourage a diverse range of people with different backgrounds and cultures to feel comfortable and able to consider jewellery making or other crafts as part of their future.

Roy Evans trained as a metalsmith in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. After leaving the Army he got a job in IT but always wanted to return to his passion, and started making metal sculptures in his spare time before giving up the day job in June this year. His bursary will allow him to train with Michael Johnson at Newlyn Copperworks in Cornwall, a workshop with an international reputation in a number of coppersmithing techniques. He plans to go on to teach the craft to others.

Andy Fisher is an early-career leatherworker who served in the Army and Reserves for 22 years in the Royal Corps of Transport, Royal Logistic Corps and 21 SAS. He currently works part time as a training provider in construction skills but his passion lies in leatherworking, especially for vintage vehicle interiors. His bursary will allow him to attend three courses on leather restoration and repair, seat upholstery, and industrial sewing machine repair. As well as restoring vehicles and making leather products, he also intends to run short courses for veterans.

Gareth Roberts was introduced to the craft of bookbinding by Bound by Veterans (BBV), after serving in the British Army. BBV is a charity which supports wounded, injured and sick ex-service personnel using the restorative powers of manual bookbinding to assist rehabilitation and develop employment skills. His bursary will allow him to continue to train with BBV and at Cit Lit College, London, under experts Kate Rochester, Sue Doggett, Ina Baumeister and 2018 Heritage Crafts Trainer of the Year Kathy Abbott. He plans to pass on his craft, believing that every sector of society has the right to learn this age-old skill.

Ieuan Williamson is a Gwynedd-based slate roofer whose great, great grandfather was a ferryman bringing slate down the river Dwyryd from the Ffestiniog slate quarries. He wishes to expand his skills into timber framing in order to incorporate whole building construction into his projects and make his business more viable to support his young family. His bursary will allow him, and his apprentice Dwyryd to attend an intensive two-week residential timber framing course. In the future he would like to pass on his skills to other young people in this area through the Welsh language.

Barney Murray is a Denbighshire-based early-career drystone waller who took up the craft after deciding that he preferred being outdoors than studying at college. His bursary will allow him to undertake the extremely rigorous and notoriously challenging Drystone Walling Association’s Master Craftsman certification scheme, under the mentorship of master waller Andy Loudon. In the future he intends to take on an apprentice of his own, replicating his own training path.

Bodhi King, based in Pembrokeshire, took up blacksmithing after attending a private week-long course last year in mid Wales. After experiencing homelessness he has spent the last few years building a more financially stable life for him and his son. His bursary will allow him to undertake a number of specialised courses focusing on traditional and heritage blacksmithing. He intends to operate as an independent blacksmith, doing smaller local jobs whilst developing his skillset and portfolio to do larger heritage and architectural work.

Abby Gray, originally from rural Galloway and now based in Glasgow, participated in a trainee programme in the costume department of an independent feature film in 2021. She had no prior professional experience, but as a result realised that university wasn’t the right path for her and that she wanted to pursue a career in bespoke tailoring. Her bursary will allow her to undertake an apprenticeship with renowned tailor and dressmaker Alis Le May. In the future she would like to run her own business focusing on creating bespoke clothing for people who feel that they aren’t catered for.

Logan Beckford-China, aged 16, is based in Cornwall and passionate about supporting the critically endangered craft of Cornish hedging, having been introduced to the craft through Heritage Crafts’ Pre-apprenticeship Project earlier this year. Logan intends to undertake 40 days training under the auspices of the newly-formed Cornwall Rural Education and Skills Trust (CREST) while studying in the evenings for his GCSE in Environmental Management. He intends to work as a freelance Cornish hedger, the first of a new generation that will ensure the future of this centuries-old craft.

Cameron Wallace is a Clackmannanshire-based monumental mason in his first year of self-employment with a young family. Not content with computer-controlled sandblasting to inscribe memorials, Cameron wishes to join the small number of Scottish hand lettercutters. His bursary will allow him to learn with master lettercutter Gillian Forbes, and eventually set up his own workshop making beautiful hand-crafted memorials.

Heritage Crafts Endangered Director Daniel Carpenter said:

“Building on the five bursaries awarded earlier this year in partnership with The Royal Mint, we are immensely grateful to be working with so many wonderful partners to increase that number to sixteen in 2023. These bursaries will not only change the course of their recipients lives for the better, but will help ensure the future of so many skills that are rooted deep within the UK’s intangible cultural heritage.”

 

Click here to see the 22 bursaries awarded since 2021

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About Heritage Crafts

Founded in 2009, the Heritage Crafts is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) registered as the ‘Heritage Crafts Association’. Working in partnership with government and key agencies, it provides a focus for craftspeople, groups, societies and guilds, as well as individuals who care about the loss of traditional crafts skills, and works towards a healthy and sustainable framework for the future. Its aim is to support and promote heritage crafts as a fundamental part of our living heritage.

www.heritagecrafts.org.uk

 

About the City & Guilds Foundation

The City & Guilds Foundation is part of the City & Guilds Group charity, and has a specific focus on high impact social investment, recognition and advocacy programmes. Each of the programmes it runs act as a catalyst to make a difference to people, organisations and society, through investing part of its surplus and resources into helping everyone, no matter who they are or where they come from, get opportunities to succeed.

cityandguildsfoundation.org

 

About the Army Benevolent Fund The Soldiers’ Charity

The Army Benevolent Fund is the Army’s national charity. It stands at the forefront of support for the Army family, last year supporting 70,000 people in 45 countries around the world. As one of the largest funders in the sector, it awards grants to individuals and families, and fund leading organisations that support soldiers, former soldiers, and their families.

soldierscharity.org

 

About the Ashley Family Foundation

The Ashley Family Foundation (formerly The Laura Ashley Foundation) is a registered charity founded by Sir Bernard and Laura Ashley following the success of the Laura Ashley fashion and interiors business. It uses its funding to develop strong communities, social welfare and creative arts in England and Wales, with a particular emphasis on supporting rural communities.

www.ashleyfamilyfoundation.org.uk

 

About the Principality Building Society’s Future Generations Fund

The Principality Building Society’s Future Generations Fund is a Wales-wide fund set up in partnership with Principality Building Society with the aim of having a positive impact on society and the lives of young people in Wales.

communityfoundationwales.org.uk/grants/the-principality-building-societys-future-generations-fund

 

About the Arts Society

The Arts Society is a leading arts education charity with a global network of local societies which bring people together through a shared curiosity for the arts. Its belief that the arts have the potential to enrich peoples’ lives is at the heart of everything it does.

theartssociety.org

 

About DCA Consulting

DCA is a Birmingham based culture, creativity and regeneration consultancy and project development company working on arts, creative industries, media, heritage, regeneration and broader economic development projects.

www.dca-consultants.com

 

About Kendrick Hobbs

Kendrick Hobbs delivers relevant, sympathetic and financially sustainable catering solutions, and is uniquely placed to advise how best to plan, setup, design, organise and manage catering operations in theatres, visitor attractions, historic houses, music halls, museums and galleries.

kendrickhobbs.co.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

Dry stone walling

Currently viable crafts

 

Dry stone walling

 

The building of stone walls and structures without the use of mortar or cement.

 

Status Currently viable
Historic area of significance Scotland; North Wales; North of England
Area currently practised
Origin in the UK Neolithic

 

History

Dry stone walling is the building of walls and structures without the use of cement or mortar. The skills stretch back over three millennia and include places like Skara Brae and the brochs in Scotland. Dry stone walls are common in upland areas of Britain where stone is much nearer the surface and soils thinner.

Many of the skills used by early wallers are still recognised and used today. The skill of the waller is being able to use the local stone to its best advantage. Today dry stone walling is prospering with an upsurge in interest in the environmental value of walls and the growth in prestigious garden, landscape and artistic projects.

 

Techniques

Stones are placed lengthways into the wall to provide strength. Large stones are used for the base of the wall and the middle is filled with smaller stone as the wall goes up. Most walls have throughstones placed about half way up which tie both sides of the wall together and add strength to the structure. The profile of a wall is like a capital letter ‘A’, tapering towards the top.  The wall is finished off with coping stones which can be done in a variety of styles and protect the wall from livestock and decay.

 

Local forms

Most walls are built using the same basic techniques but it is the type of stone used that gives the walls their distinctive appearance. Some areas of the country do have different styles of building due to the nature of the stone, for example in far north of Scotland where some walls are built with large, single boulders and no small filling.

 

Sub-crafts

 

Issues affecting the viability of the craft

  • At present there are no formal funding opportunities for people seeking to learn the traditional craft of dry stone walling. The Dry Stone Walling Association (DSWA) has, in the past, been successful with NLHF grants to offer bursary placements but the future of such a programme is dependent on grant applications and is not a sustainable way forward. Apprenticeships are not available as most dry stone wallers are sole traders so do not meet the criteria of “employers”.
  • Grants available for the repair of dry stone walls are often geared towards farmers so private landowners may not be eligible to access funding and the grant rate being offered is sometimes seen as the “going rate” for dry stone walling, which is not usually the case.

 

Support organisations

 

Craftspeople currently known

The Dry Stone Walling Association maintains a professional register of dry stone wallers on its website.

 

Other information

 

References