The Heritage Crafts Association (operating as ‘Heritage Crafts’) is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (not-for-profit) governed by a Board of Trustees and run by a small team of part-time staff.
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The former Prince of Wales
Lord Cormack Kt DL FSA
Baroness Garden of Frognal PC
Board of Trustees
David Clarke FRSA – Co-Chair
David is Managing Director of DCA, a consultancy company which specialises in the development of projects in the heritage and cultural sectors. David moved into the cultural sector from education management in the mid-1980s and from 1987 to 1995 was Director of Chapter, a major centre for contemporary arts in Cardiff. In 1995 David set up DCA; specialisms include the development of cultural buildings, sustainable business planning and innovation. David is a fellow of the RSA, a member of the Institute of Leadership and Management, an RIBA Client Advisor and a member of the Museums Association and the Theatres Trust.
Jay Blades MBE – Co-Chair
Jay Blades’ journey has taken many twists and turns. From growing up on a council estate in Hackney and leaving school at 15 with no qualifications, he got back on track by studying for a degree in criminology and philosophy at Buckinghamshire New University (BNU), before finding his true vocation in restoration and supporting vulnerable people through former charity Out of the Dark. It is through BBC One’s extraordinarily successful The Repair Shop that he has become a household name, known for championing the revival of both heritage crafts skills and individual journeys through life, his own included. He was awarded the MBE for services to craft in 2021 and was appointed the first Chancellor of BNU in May 2022.
Dr Alison Robinson Canham – Secretary
Alison has worked in Higher Education, professional bodies and membership organisations for more than 25 years, including executive and board roles. She now provides freelance research and consultancy primarily to the not-for-profit sector. See is a strong advocate for parity of esteem between academic and vocational education and for practical skills-based learning opportunities as a vehicle for (multi)cultural inclusion. In a voluntary capacity Alison coordinates the Arbeau Dancers, a group which supports public engagement with culture through costumed performances of historical dance and enjoys making the costumes.
Robert Murray ACA – Treasurer
Robert Murray is a chartered accountant working for the Environmental, Social & Governance services section of PricewaterhouseCoopers. He has experience with multinational PLCs including external and internal audit, group reporting and financial management roles. He provides pro bono financial management to Sabre Education, an educational charity in Ghana.
Robin Wood MBE
Robin Wood is an internationally respected wood worker specialising in the use of local timbers and traditional techniques, as well as wood working tool maker. His extensive research into the history of foot-powered pole lathe bowl turning led to publication of the definitive book on the history of the wooden bowl – The Wooden Bowl. The last person to work in this way retired in 1958, and Robin taught himself the necessary techniques as well as making most of the tools for his work.
Dr Chrissie Freeth
Chrissie is a tapestry weaver based in Yorkshire. She has been interested in historical textiles for twenty years and first learned to weave on a warp-weighted loom as an undergraduate. She has been an Artist in Residence for the National Trust and was previously a features writer for UK Handmade magazine, weaving features editor of the Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers and a member of the Society of Designer Craftsmen. She is included in the Crafts Council’s directory of British craftworkers and in 2016 was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship to study medieval tapestry techniques in Belgium, France, Switzerland and the US.
Helen has been working in the not-for-profit sector as a fundraiser in a range of organisations for the last five years. Most recently she worked at the RAF Museum managing membership, events and individual giving. She is currently a corporate fundraiser for Centrepoint, a youth homelessness charity. She is passionate about arts and crafts, regularly attending exhibitions and enjoy photography. She is also a member of the Young People In the Arts organisation.
Laura is Head of Learning at the Science Museum, following a decade of working in museums and galleries. When managing the residency programme at the V&A she loved working closely with artists and makers in their studios, in particular the museum’s ceramic studio, and this is where her interest in heritage crafts began. In 2017 she coordinated Heritage Crafts’ Red List of Endangered Crafts launch at the House of Lords and the HCA’s annual conference.
Katy Bevan FRSA
Katy is a curator, writer and educator specialising in craft. She has worked in craft book and magazine publishing for over twenty years including working for Ceramic Review, Selvedge and Rowan. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Katy was previously Learning and Participation Manager at the Crafts Council where she was responsible for the Firing Up and Craft Club initiatives. She believes in the benefits of craft for health and wellbeing and is usually to be found knitting.
Jennifer works as a creative professional for advertising agencies and brands, and has over a decade’s experience of developing and implementing communications across a variety of channels. She was also a co-founder and COO of a small tech start-up, delivering activities information to families. An appreciator of arts, crafts and design, she frequently visits exhibitions and enjoys learning about making.
Jonathan is Production Manager and a Putter (putter-togetherer) at Ernest Wright, Sheffield’s last remaining handmade scissor workshop. Trained by two of the UK’s remaining master-putters, he is fast learning everything there is to know about making scissors, a craft that is classified as critically endangered by Heritage Crafts. As a Sheffield local, Jonathan is familiar with the decline of the handmade sector in the UK and the effect it has had on his home town. In his free time Jonathan enjoys other crafts such as ceramics and knitting, as well as being a collector of vintage tools and cutlery.
Jo started her career as an advertising copywriter, and has worked in various advertising agencies both in the UK and overseas before moving into radio and ending up in television. She set up To Market in 2005 to use her corporate experience to the benefit of growing small and medium-sized enterprises. Jo is also a photographer with a focus on close-up and social documentary works, dealing with culture, heritage and age. Her project the Black Artisans showcases and celebrates UK-based craftspeople through a travelling photography exhibition intended to inspire young people.
Kaffe Fassett MBE – textile designer
Kaffe Fassett is an American-born artist who has resided in England since 1964 and is best known for his colourful designs in the decorative arts – needlepoint, patchwork, knitting, painting and ceramics. His work was the subject of a 1988 one-man show at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the first time a living textile artist had such a show there, and which then went on to tour nine countries. Author of more than 30 books, he has hosted craft-related television and radio programmes for the BBC and Channel 4, including his own show, Glorious Colour.
Will Kirk – furniture restorer
Will Kirk, star of BBC The Repair Shop and BBC Morning Live, first developed a passionate interest in antique furniture and the craft of restoration at an early age, having watched his grandfather restore pieces of furniture in his workshop. He studied Graphic Design at the University of the Arts, going on to graduate with a BA in Antique Furniture Restoration and Conservation from London Metropolitan University. Since setting up his London based furniture restoration business in 2012, Will and his team of craftsmen have worked on a variety of commissions, from much loved family heirlooms, to larger corporate contracts.
Dr Alex Langlands – archaeologist and television presenter
‘The Victorian Farm’, which aired in January 2009, followed Alex and team for a full calendar year exploring rural life in the Victorian era. The follow up ‘Edwardian Farm’ saw Alex rick building, tanning, barrel making, lobster-pot making, hedging and forging a Devon-style bill hook. Most recently Alex has completed the series with ‘Wartime Farm’. Alex has recently completed his PhD on Travel and communication in early medieval Wessex. Alex has worked on archaeological sites throughout Europe, has a keen interest in rural crafts and runs a number of archaeology and local history courses.
Rose Sinclair – design lecturer, textiles practitioner and craft historian
Rose is a lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she teaches textiles and design related practice. She has passion for textiles and the stories that can be told through cloth, especially the stories of those often absent from the design discourse. Rose’s PhD doctoral research focusses on Black British women and their crafting design practices, through textiles, through the lens of textiles networks such as Dorcas Clubs and Dorcas Societies, through which she discusses migration, identity and settlement. She is also interested in the use of textiles networks as a form of participatory craft practice and public engagement in crafts.
- Richard Hobbs FRMS FIET FRSA (Vice-President)
- Professor May Cassar
- Mark Henderson
- Lord Cormack
- Sir Christopher Frayling
- Emma Bridgewater CBE
- Paul Martin
- Sir Mark Jones
- Professor Ted Collins
- Dr Roy Brigden
Visiting Professor, Department of Design History at the Royal College of Art. Tanya is the author ‘The Crafts in Britain in the 20th Century’ (Yale University Press, 1999). Trained as an art historian, she is a co-editor of the Journal of Modern Craft.
Visiting Research Fellow at Faculty of Arts, Open University.
Special advisor on intangible cultural heritage.
Senior Adviser, City & Guilds.
Special advisor on qualifications.