Woodcarver Tom Ball has won the second annual Woodworker of the Year Award sponsored by Axminster Tools, including a £2,000 prize and trophy awarded at a special presentation at St George’s College, Windsor Castle on Wednesday 15 November 2023.
Heritage Crafts was set up 13 years ago as a national charity to support and safeguard heritage crafts skills, and has become well known for its Red List of Endangered Crafts, the first research of its kind to rank traditional crafts in the UK by the likelihood they would survive the next generation.
Now in its second year, this award sponsored by Axminster Tools celebrates a heritage craftsperson who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of woodworking over the past year. It recognises a contribution that is far beyond the ordinary, based on a proven dedication to a particular woodworking skill.
Tom Ball is the de Laszlo Lead Woodcarving Tutor at City & Guilds of London Arts School, and in 2021 was awarded the Master Carver Certificate by the Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers. Recent projects include restoration of Grinling Gibbons’ carving at Trinity College Chapel, Oxford, and carving the canopy columns for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee.
Global suppliers of woodworking tools and machinery, Axminster Tools has spent 50 years building their family business into the renowned organisation it is today. Working together with makers and creators at all levels, from trade professionals through to craft enthusiasts, their commitment to supporting woodworking skills fits perfectly with the ethos of Heritage Crafts.
Judges for the new award were Alan Styles (Managing Director of Axminster Tools), Sarah Goss (a traditional woodcarver who featured as one of the experts in the recent Prince’s Master Crafters: The Next Generation programme on Sky Arts), and Jonathan Hill (luthier and Woodworker of the Year 2022).
The three other finalists for the 2023 award were marionette maker Oliver Hymans, woodcarver Yichen Li and furniture maker Andrew Watt. Read more about Oliver, Yichen and Andrew here.