A thatching spar maker, a pigment maker, and a boatbuilder are among the recipients of a new round of grants to help safeguard some of the UK’s most endangered craft skills.
Heritage Crafts has awarded the grants through its Endangered Crafts Fund, which was launched in 2019 to increase the likelihood of at-risk craft skills surviving into the next generation. Six of this round’s grants are funded by the Sussex Heritage Trust, the Ashley Family Foundation for Wales, and the Essex Community Foundation and were ring fenced for crafts practitioners within those areas.
In May this year Heritage Crafts published the fourth edition of its groundbreaking Red List of Endangered Crafts, the first research of its kind to rank the UK’s traditional crafts by the likelihood that they will survive into the next generation. The report assessed 259 crafts to ascertain those which are at greatest risk of disappearing, of which 84 were classified as ‘endangered’ and a further 62 as ‘critically endangered’.
The nine successful recipients are:
- Andy Basham from Essex, for himself and others to learn to make thatching spars from the last spar maker in East Anglia, and equip himself for production from his hazel coppice.
- Will Holland from Carmarthenshire, to develop his arrowsmithing skills and master the reproduction of historically forged arrowheads, and to teach the craft to others.
- Charlotte Kenward from West Sussex, to train and equip herself to offer traditional reverse gilded house numbers and signage to heritage properties.
- Lucy Mayes from London, to purchase equipment to produce a range of innovative and sustainable pigments from processing construction waste.
- Gail McGarva and the team at Building Futures Galloway, to equip a community workshop on the Solway Firth with tools needed to teach young people traditional wooden boatbuilding.
- Rob Shaw and team, from North Yorkshire, to equip the new coach trimming workshop of Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, offering a space to train more of their volunteers.
- Travis Smith from Hampshire, to train in hand hewing of timber and apply his skills to the restoration and reconstruction of historical building and the construction of new ones.
- Stephanie Turnbull from Newport, to trial the use of alternative types of limestone and other stone substrates for lithographic printing, and to publish her findings.
- Jessie Watson-Brown, Matthew Bailey and Jamey Rhind-Tutt from Devon, to equip a new tannery to produce traditional bark-tanned leather from wild deer skins.
These nine projects follow 57 others awarded in previous rounds, covering endangered crafts such as coppersmithing, Highland thatching, sailmaking and many more. Previous funders have included the Radcliffe Trust, the Pilgrim Trust, the Dulverton Trust, the Swire Charitable Trust and others, as well as individuals who have donated sums from £5 right up to several thousands of pounds.
As usual the fund was oversubscribed, and Heritage Crafts hopes to work with many of the unsuccessful candidates to identify other funding and support opportunities.
Mary Lewis, Heritage Crafts Endangered Crafts Manager, said:
“The survival of endangered craft skills relies on the people who make a positive choice to learn, make and teach these crafts. These projects will provide future generations with opportunities that they might not otherwise have, to become productive and healthy members of our shared craft community and to safeguard this important part of our national heritage.”
View the full list of the 66 grants awarded to date
Catherine Ade, lithographer. Photo copyright Jo Hounsome.
A lithographer, a wallpaper maker and an oak bark tanner 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 (HCA), which published the third edition of its groundbreaking HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts in May, has awarded a further eight 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 and the Swire Charitable Trust. The eight successful recipients are:
- Catherine Ade, from Bristol, to run a series of workshops on different lithography techniques and continue to supply lithography plate graining services.
- Peter Ananin, from Fife, to train an apprentice in the skills and knowledge of traditional Scottish bark tanning.
- Deborah Bowness, from East Sussex, to learn traditional wallpaper making techniques through one-to-one training with a wallpaper conservationist.
- Rachel Evans, from Stoke-on-Trent, to learn the techniques of hazel basketmaking, specifically the Gower cockle basket and the whisket.
- Nikki Laird, from Edinburgh, to print a book on how to make a traditional hand sewn kilt.
- Kate Longley, from Cornwall, to maintain the skills and knowledge of withy crab and lobster pot making in the community of Gorran Haven.
- Steven Lowe, from East Sussex, to provide shoe last making courses covering heel making.
- Edie Obilaso, from London, to make hats from straw plait produced on an antique machine, and to document the craft.
Peter Ananin, oak bark tanner. Photo copyright Woodland Tannery.
These eight projects follow 27 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, kishie basket making, flint walling, brick making, chair seating, lipwork basketry, paper making, concertina making and flute 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 Manager Mary Lewis said:
“For all the progress we’ve made, it will take more than just the Heritage Crafts Association to save craft skills; it will be the people who make a positive choice to learn, make and teach an endangered craft who will do that. These projects will provide future generations with opportunities that they might not otherwise have, to become productive and healthy members of our shared craft community.”
The Endangered Crafts Fund has been funded through generous donations from organisations including Garfield Weston Foundation, the Dulverton Trust, the Sussex Heritage Trust, as well as individuals who have donated sums from £5 right up to several thousands of pounds.
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 – for more information visit www.heritagecrafts.org.uk/ecf.
See the projects that were successfully funded in the previous application rounds
Print making using the craft technique of lithography. Note: This entry refers to the craft practice of lithography as distinct from fine art (see ‘Other information’ below).
|Historic area of significance
|Area currently practised
|Origin in the UK
|Current no. of professionals (main income)
(Most lithographers will practise as part of a portfolio of print making techniques)
|Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
|Approximately 12 professional print workshops
|Current no. of trainees
|See ‘Other information’
|Current total no. serious amateur makers
|See ‘Other information’
|Current total no. of leisure makers
Stone lithography is a printing process that allows an artist to work using traditional techniques, and to create prints that rival a painting in terms of detail, mood, variation etc. It reached its height of popularity during the 1800s, but it is still practised today by artists and lithography workshops.
In modern lithography, the image is made of a polymer coating applied to a flexible plastic or metal plate.
Lithography is a printing process that uses a flat stone on which the image areas is created using a greasy substance that the ink will adhere to, while the non-image areas remain ink-repellent.
Invented around 1798 in Germany, stone lithography exploits the water repelling properties of grease. An image is drawn on a smooth, level limestone plate using oil-based lithographic drawing materials that are available in both solid and liquid forms. When the drawing is complete, a chemical process is used to bond the hydrophobic image to the stone and allow it to be inked for printing.
During printing, the stone is kept continuously wet with water as the image is inked and the stone and paper are run through a press that applies uniform pressure to transfer the ink onto the paper.
Issues affecting the viability of the craft
Availability of raw materials: This is a key risk factor for the craft. There are no longer any lithographic stones being excavated and so all crafts people rely on old stones that are reused.
Training issues: Whilst training is being effectively disseminated by master printmakers in the UK, the highest level of training is primarily provided by the Tamarind Institute in New Mexico.
- Skills issues: Whilst there are many University and Open Access print rooms in the UK, a limited number of them have lithography equipment and/ or a technical instructor who is knowledgeable about the processes in lithography. It is not uncommon to have one technician only in these printmaking spaces, and most technicians specialise in one process. Without in depth technical support, the student is often left with more questions than answers. Lithography is a process that whilst simple in principle, is very technically complex, and if the student doesn’t have access to this support then abandons litho altogether and steps into another print process that the technician can assist them with.
Royal Society of Painter Printmakers
V&A prints and drawing room
Ashmolean Print Collection
British Museum Print Collection
Craftspeople currently known
Printers listed in this category will be those who provide expertise and work collaboratively with artists to produce lithographs.
- Stanley Jones MBE – considered a lithography ‘National Treasure’ who acts as an adviser and figurehead for the subject
- Paul Croft
- Lee Turner
- Simon Burder
- Catherine Ade
- Stephanie Turnbull
- Thomas Cert – is a trained Tamarind Master Printer, currently working as a full time Printmaking Technician at Kingston University instructing students in all forms of print
- Michael Gill
- Laura Bianchi
- Serena Smith
- Curwen Print Study Centre
- Jemma Gunning
- Alastair Clark, Edinburgh Printmakers
- Rachel Gracey
- Sue Baker
- Kenton and Serena Smith
- Robin Smart – Red Breast Editions
- SooMin Leong – teaches stone lithography at Morley College and Slaughterhaus Print Studio
- Scarlett Rebecca – teaches stone lithography at Draw Brighton and her studio in Wales.
- Veronica Calarco – Stiwdio Maelor, North Wales. Runs a residency programme for artists, including providing a stone lithography studio and courses
- Sharon Lee – Royal College of Art specialist lithography technician, mainly supporting students with stone and plate lithography. Trained at Tamarind Institute.
- Paul Sharrock – Designermakers21
- David Borrington – Dekkle Printmaking Studios, Baldock, has stone lithography facilities.
- Ian Wilkinson – Goldmark Atelier, Uppingham, has stone lithography facilities.
There are many UK artists and printmakers using lithography in their work at a highly skilled level. However, the craft of lithography as practised by highly trained master printers is at risk. Most of these printmakers will have been trained at the Tamarind Institute in the US.