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Seven more grants to help save endangered crafts

A coppersmith, a Highland thatcher and a trainee sailmaker are among the recipients of a new round of grants to help safeguard some of UK’s most endangered craft skills.

Scot AnSgeulaiche, Samantha Dennis and Nicholas Konradsen 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. Five of this round’s grants are funded by The Radcliffe Trust and were selected with special consideration of the impact of the energy crisis on our most vulnerable crafts.

In 2021 Heritage Crafts published the third 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 244 crafts to ascertain those which are at greatest risk of disappearing, of which four were classified as extinct, 74 as ‘endangered’ and a further 56 as ‘critically endangered’. A new edition will be published on 11 May 2023.

The seven successful recipients are:

  • Scot AnSgeulaiche from Perthshire, to train an apprentice in the craft of Highlands and Islands thatching and encourage the use of locally-grown thatching materials.
  • Birgit Frietman and Robyn Smith from London, to set up a hub for horn working in London and reduce their carbon footprint by completing more processes in-house.
  • James Slaven from Glasgow, to train in sailmaking with Mark Shiner and set up a workshop at the GalGael Trust making and repairing sails and repurposing old sailcloth.
  • Steve Hogarth from Derbyshire, to add the skills of leadworking and flint masonry to his steeplejack business, maintaining the usefulness of traditional buildings without the impact of scaffolding.
  • Samantha Dennis from Shetland, to catalogue and replicate historical coiled baskets of Shetland and create a market for small crofters to sell locally-grown oat straw.
  • John Wills from Northamptonshire, to set up a tinsmithing and coppersmithing workshop that will also provide teaching, using renewable charcoal to heat the traditional soldering coppers.
  • Nicholas Konradsen from Lincolnshire, to research and make Lincolnshire bagpipes in a new workshop with more energy-efficient equipment.

These seven projects follow 50 others awarded in previous rounds, covering endangered crafts such as clockmaking, tinsmithing, kiltmaking and many more. Along with The Radcliffe Trust, which has been the major funder in this round, other funders have included The Sussex Heritage 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 current energy crisis means that our craft skills are at more risk than ever before. We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Radcliffe Trust and other funders to address the specific challenges being faced by endangered crafts practitioners at this time.”

View the full list of the 57 grants awarded to date 

Promising future beckons for tinsmithing

Imogen Peacock, tinsmithing masterclass participant at Museum of Making

Imogen Peacock, tinsmithing masterclass participant at Museum of Making

Tinsmithing skills passed on to a new generation of makers in unique masterclasses, organised with the generous support of The Worshipful Company of Tinplate Workers Alias Wireworkers and Heritage Crafts’ Endangered Crafts Fund.

The future of tinsmithing, a critically endangered craft on Heritage Crafts’ groundbreaking Red List of Endangered Crafts, has been given a boost following two successful masterclasses facilitated by Heritage Crafts and the Museum of Making, Derby. With generous support from The Worshipful Company of Tinplate Workers Alias Wireworkers and Heritage Crafts’ Endangered Crafts Fund, Heritage Crafts brought historical tinsmith Karl Schmidt of Dakota Tinworks, USA, to the UK to lead the five-day masterclasses.

Using tools and techniques of nineteenth century tinsmiths, fourteen participants learned how to develop patterns, successfully use tinsmiths’ tools and operate hand-crank machines, as well as traditional construction techniques and other aspects of tinsmithing, applied to a range of creative tasks. The masterclasses gave participants a first-hand understanding of tinsmithing as a recognised heritage craft. The course participants are now part of a supportive online network where they can share their ongoing progress.

In addition to developing the skills of the participants, the tinsmithing masterclasses equipped the Museum of Making with the knowledge and materials to continue safeguarding and supporting tinsmithing. Three of the Museum’s technicians are now trained in tinsmithing and its workshop is stocked with tools needed to continue the craft. The museum has already scheduled its first public tinsmithing workshop, ‘Cookie Cutters: An Intro to Tinsmithing’, taking place this December.

Heritage Crafts Endangered Crafts Manager Mary Lewis said:

“Without this course it was very likely that the skills of tinsmithing would be lost in the next few years. With these wonderful learners and some fantastic partnership working between Heritage Crafts, The Museum of Making and master tinsmith Karl Schmidt, we now have a chance of preserving these skills for the next generation.”

Museum of Making Workshop & Studios Manager Steve Smith said:

“Post Karl Schmidt’s tinsmith masterclass, the Museum of Making workshop is now equipped with the tools and skills to evolve and develop as a UK centre committed to tinsmith work, preserving this red-listed endangered craft. Tinsmithing as a heritage making discipline, and its technical skills, are still relevant to contemporary making culture; the aesthetic and utilitarian tin products it creates are complimentary to everyday life. The workshop is already programming tinsmithing courses, and, in continued collaboration with Mary Lewis and Heritage Crafts, plan to bring back the new-collective of masterclass tinsmiths to the Museum of Making workshop in 2023.”

Tinsmithing masterclass participant John Wills said:

‘I enrolled on the masterclass because tinsmithing is complementary to my work as a brazier/coppersmith. I would never have picked up the specific tinplate techniques watching online tutorials. Karl’s passion for the material is infectious and the time he gave to get my technique right has been invaluable both to my copper work and future tin work. Tinplate is certainly being added to my product range’.

Fellow masterclass participant Marion Godwin said:

‘During the course of the week, I learnt skills that will be invaluable in helping my museum bring back our historic tinsmithing exhibit after many years out of action. I look forward to sharing my newfound skills with other staff, hopefully helping to provide a small home for this valuable endangered craft to propagate. A huge thanks to Heritage Crafts, the Museum of Making, and to Karl for being so willing to share his skills’.

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Heritage Crafts and the Museum of Making collaborate to save tinsmithing

Karl SchmidtA unique tinsmithing masterclass will be held in September with generous support from The Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers alias Wire Workers and the Heritage Crafts Endangered Crafts Fund.

Tinsmithing is listed as a critically endangered craft on the Red List of Endangered Crafts. With very few remaining tinsmiths in the UK, we are bringing traditional tinsmith Karl Schmidt all the way from South Dakota to deliver a five day masterclass at the Museum of Making, Derby.

Endangered Crafts Manager Mary Lewis said:

“We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Derby Museums and The Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers alias Wire Workers. This funding will allow us to pass tinsmithing skills on to the next generation of makers and supports our mission to further the appreciation of heritage craft skills as a vital part of the cultural life of the UK.”

Using tools and techniques of 19th century tinsmiths, students will learn how to lay out projects using patterns, cut and shape tin plate, and assemble shaped tinplate pieces into items they can take home, such as a tin cup or tankard, a tin sconce, tin ornaments and icicles, cake/biscuit cutters or a lantern.

Students will make multiple items, each one building on previous skills and techniques and gradually increasing in complexity over the course of the five-day workshop. They will learn how to develop patterns, workshop safety, how to use basic tinsmith’s tools and stakes, how to operate hand-crank machines, soldering, traditional construction techniques and more, all applied to specific creative tasks. The workshop will give participants a first-hand understanding of tinsmithing as a recognised heritage craft.

Tinsmithing partners

Tinsmithing Masterclass

Where: Museum of Making, Silk Mill Lane, Derby DE1 3AF
When: 12 to 16 September, 10am to 4pm (PAID PLACES FULLY BOOKED) OR 19 to 23 September, 10am to 4pm (PAID PLACES FULLY BOOKED)
Cost: £250 (two free bursary places available on application – enquire by 29 July)

If you feel that you would benefit from this training but can’t afford to fund your own place, please get in touch with mary@heritagecrafts.org.uk. We will assess applicants based on their financial need and how their skills will help to safeguard the critically endangered craft of tinsmithing for the future.

For more information about the course or the bursaries, click here or email Heritage Crafts Endangered Crafts Manager Mary Lewis at mary@heritagecrafts.org.uk.

Tinsmithing Masterclass

Tinsmithing Masterclass

When: Due to popular demand, we are now running two courses!

  • 5-day course, 12 to 16 September 2022, 10am to 4pm FULLY BOOKED 
  • 5- day course, 19 to 23 September 2022, 10am to 4pm

APPLICATIONS FOR BURSARY PLACES HAVE NOW CLOSED

Where: Museum of Making, Silk Mill Lane, Derby DE1 3AF
Tutor: Karl Schmidt (Dakota Tinworks)
Price: £250 including materials and refreshments. The are two free bursary places available – see * below. Please bring your own lunch or buy from the Museum restaurant.

Using tools and techniques of 19th century tinsmiths, students will learn how to lay out projects using patterns, cut and shape tinplate, and assemble shaped tinplate pieces into items they can take home, such as a tin cup or tankard, a tin sconce, tin ornaments and icicles, cake/biscuit cutters, or a lantern. They will make multiple items, each one enabling them to build skills and techniques, leading to the next project and level of complexity over the course of the five-day workshop. They will learn how to develop patterns, learn shop safety, use of basic tinsmith’s tools, how to successfully use tinsmith’s stakes, operate hand-crank tinsmith’s machines, soldering, and other aspects of tinsmithing, including traditional construction techniques while applying them to specific creative tasks.

The workshop will give participants a first-hand understanding of tinsmithing as a recognised heritage craft. Students will receive individual guidance from the instructor as they work on their projects.

Students will need to bring safety glasses (they don’t need to be expensive ones) and a pair of thin leather gloves or thin synthetic gloves that are cut-resistant.

*There are two free bursary places available on application. If you feel that you would benefit from this training but can’t afford to fund your own place, please apply below. We will be assessing applicants based on their financial need and also on how their skills will help to safeguard the critically endangered craft of tinsmithing for the future. The deadline for bursary applications is Friday 29 July at 5pm.

 

Booking form

Six new grants awarded to help save endangered crafts from extinction

Zoë Watson, trainee kiltmaker. Photo by Nikki Laird.

A kiltmaker, a clockmaker and a typefounder are among the recipients of the latest round of grants awarded to help safeguard some of the UK’s most endangered craft skills.

Heritage Crafts, which published the third edition of its groundbreaking Red List of Endangered Crafts last year, has awarded a further six 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 Endangered Crafts Fund has been offered with support from the Dulverton Trust, with further support from the Pilgrim Trust, the Sussex Heritage Trust and the Swire Charitable Trust. The six successful recipients are:

  • Katie Beard, from Gloucestershire, to apprentice to type founder Stanley Lane, to safeguard the history and craft of metal type manufacture and letterpress book printing.
  • Hugh Dunford-Wood, from Dorset, to create short films to support the teaching of the craft of hand-blocked wallpaper making throughout the UK and beyond.
  • Scott Jeffrey, from Hampshire, to fund the setup of wheel and pinion cutting in his clockmaking workshop, and offer wheels and pinions to the trade.
  • Anna Rennie, from Cornwall, to apprentice to master maille maker Nick Checksfield, to learn how to restore and preserve original maille, and to become the first female professional maille maker.
  • Karl Schmidt, from the United States, to reintroduce the critically endangered craft of tinsmithing to the UK through a specialist tinsmithing masterclass.
  • Zoë Watson, from Perthshire, to train as a professional kiltmaker at the Kiltmakery in Edinburgh, after doing an introductory course as a 16-year-old student.
Hugh Dunford-Wood, wallpaper maker. Photo by Derek Reay.

Hugh Dunford-Wood, wallpaper maker. Photo by Derek Reay.

These six projects follow 35 awarded in previous rounds, covering endangered crafts such as scissor making, sail making, damask weaving, boot tree making, neon bending, and concertina making, amongst others.

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.

HCA Endangered Crafts Manager Mary Lewis 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.”

Since 2019, the Endangered Crafts Fund has been funded through generous donations from organisations including the Pilgrim Trust, the Dulverton Trust, the Sussex Heritage Trust, the Swire Charitable Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Benefact Trust, and the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund, as well as individuals who have donated sums from £5 right up to several thousands of pounds.

Heritage Crafts 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.