Glass engraver Tracey Sheppard has won Maker of the Year in the 2021 Heritage Crafts Awards supported by the Marsh Charitable Trust, which was presented at a prestigious Winners’ Reception at the House of Lords on 2 February 2022, sponsored by Swaine Adeney Brigg.
The result was one of four revealed at the COVID-delayed ceremony hosted by Heritage Crafts Vice Presidents Baroness Garden of Frognal and Lord Cormack. Other recent successes were also celebrated, including seven national honours and the awarding of the second annual President’s Award for Endangered Crafts, set up by Heritage Crafts President HRH The Prince of Wales and won in 2021 by watchmaker Rebecca Struthers.
The Heritage Crafts/Marsh Maker of the Year award was won by glass engraver Tracey Sheppard, who took up glass engraving at evening classes in the 1980s and soon reached the pinnacle of her craft, receiving commissions from Historic Royal Palaces to present to Her Majesty the Queen, and to be part of the Downing Street Collection of engraved glass. She has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Guild of Glass Engravers and is now their President, alongside being Master of the Art Workers Guild.
The Heritage Crafts/Marsh Trainer of the Year award went to Greg Rowland who runs a wheelwrighting workshop in Devon with his father and fellow master-wheelwright Mike. Greg was nominated by his current trainee Sam Phillips who is being trained through the Livery Companies Apprenticeship Scheme as well as a Bench Joinery apprenticeship with Exeter College. As well as training apprentices of his own, Greg was also instrumental in the development of the apprenticeship standard in collaboration with the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights.
The Heritage Crafts/Marsh Trainee of the Year award went to violin maker Niam Chauhan. Niam is studying at the Newark School of Violin Making, but began learning violin maintenance from the age of 13, before starting an informal apprenticeship with the late luthier and clock-maker John Bedingfield at the age of 16. Violin maker Melvin Goldsmith said: “[During my 30 years as a professional violin maker,] I have had some excellent students of the craft visit my workshop but of them all Niam is the outstanding example.”
The Heritage Crafts/Marsh Volunteer of the Year award
went to violin maker Colin Garrett, who has been a member of the British Violin Making Association for over 20 years and in that time has served many roles including Chairman and BVMA Enterprises Secretary. For the last 18 years he has also been Treasurer of the Rowan Armour Brown Trust, a charity that helps supports student luthiers with financial grants, wood distribution and work experience placements. He is also Treasurer of Luthiers Sans Frontiers, a charity that offers free training to some of the poorest countries in the world.
The finalists were as follows:
Heritage Crafts/Marsh Maker of the Year
- Fabian Bush – boat builder
- Rachel Frost – hat maker
- Tracey Sheppard – glass engraver
Heritage Crafts/Marsh Trainer of the Year
- Deborah Carré – shoemaker
- Delyth Done – blacksmith
- Kevin Millward – potter
- Greg Rowland – wheelwright
Heritage Crafts/Marsh Trainee of the Year
- Kieren Berry – papermaker
- Niam Chauhan – violin maker
- Francis Lloyd-Jones – potter
- Anna Olafsson – hand engraver
Heritage Crafts/Marsh Volunteer of the Year
- Colin Garrett – British Violin Making Association
- Jane Kerr – Wooden Boatbuilders Trade Association
- Debbie Richardson – Braid Society
The next round of nominations open on 1 March 2022.