Traditional Craft Village
Featuring hedge laying, drystone walling, willow weaving, bee keeping, furniture making, and taxidermy.
Traditional Craft Village
Some of the most fascinating age-old skills and crafts have survived until today, mainly thanks to the dedication of people determined to keep our countryside heritage alive.
And many of these will be on show throughout the weekend, with dedicated and skilled artisans demonstrating these traditional crafts and explaining why, despite the quickening strides of technology, these skills still play a part in our current world.
Come and meet some of the most talented and devoted craftspeople in Britain in this special area. Learn about beekeeping and taxidermy, furniture and glass making or willow weaving. In some cases you’ll even be able to try out some of these craft skills for yourself.
Vivienne Rodwell Ceramics
New for 2019, Vivienne produces an individual range of both functional and sculptural ceramics, using stoneware and porcelain clays. These are both thrown on the wheel and hand built. Satin glazes in black, white and soft greys combine with her strong tactile shapes. Vivienne’s inspiration comes from drawing, both landscape and seascape. She will not only be demonstrating her skills but will also give visitors the chance to have a go.
Craftsmanship in Wood
Also new for 2019 is Adam Bragg, a graduate of the Chippendale International School of Furniture who specialises in bespoke furniture making and design, on commission; the restoration of antique and treasured pieces of furniture; gilding, French polishing and marquetry; and the restoration, repair and adjustment of gun stocks and fore-ends.
He will be demonstrating his abilities and some visitors will be able to try out gilding.
Parkland Honey is a team of bee keepers from Hertfordshire and Lincolnshire who promote bee keeping and the importance of pollinating insects to our way of life and food production. It celebrates bio-diversity and encourages people to plant trees, shrubs and flowers which will help feed and nurture all pollinating insects.
All are members of the British Bee Keepers’ Association registered charity that provides public liability insurance to all its members throughout the country. It also publishes a number of leaflets to help inform and educate the public.
Look out for a demonstration hive of live bees for the public to see along with the chance to buy honey and bee products such as candles, honeycomb and beeswax.
Chris Elliott is one of the leading taxidermists in the UK. He was an apprentice at Rowland Ward and is specialist accredited by the Guild of Taxidermists. He will be displaying a fine selection of taxidermy, old and new, and will be on hand for all visitors to see and understand the resurgence of this exciting art, including how to treat skins, construction of manikins, renovation, history of taxidermy and much more. For more information, please visit www.taxidermist.uk.com
Alan Bateman of Chiltern Country Supplies has been carving rams horn sticks for over 35 years and attending The Game Fair® for 20 of them. One of the most established carvers in the UK, Alan has featured in six DVDs on the subject of stick carving and, as well as demonstrating his craft at The Game Fair, he is displaying a selection of sticks in country styles such as game birds and other wildlife. To contact Alan, please call 07901 824 662.
Neil Taylor produces handcrafted, primitive-style chairs with a contemporary feel, which combine comfort, elegance and function – perfect for any type of setting in home or office. He uses native Herefordshire hardwoods such as oak and ash alongside metals such as gold leaf, brass and solder. Using wire wool (iron) and vinegar (acid), he is able to produce a beautiful dark colour in his work simply by allowing the natural chemistry of the tannin in oak to react with them. For more information, please visit www.neiltaylorfurniture.co.uk
Meanwhile, Peter Tree’s speciality is quality chairs, skilfully crafted using fine, home-grown hardwoods. His designs are a blend of selected design features, specialist knowledge and years of experience to create both traditional and contemporary seating, many depicting carved themes of British flora and fauna. For more information, please visit www.petertreechairs.co.uk.
Ed and Margaret Burke created E+M Glass in the mid 1980s and have been designing and making unique works of art for the table from their studio on the Welsh and English borders since 1988. E+M Glass is very much a family affair now that their son Charlie and his wife Amy have joined the company.
Margaret specialises in the cold working of glass. She designs and embellishes a range of plates, bowls and glasses. Primarily inspired by primitive art, she has developed the technique of etching through layers of coloured glass to create designs that are both contrasting and tactile. Margaret enjoys working on the functional form, creating ranges of tableware that emphasise the functionality of each piece.
Ed is a master glassblower. Having discovered glass at the age of 18 he embarked on a career in the medium, gaining a BA (Hons) degree in glass design before working with many established glassmakers. In 1988 he built his own furnace and studio and began producing his unique style of glassware. Specialising in tableware, Ed’s interests are in the use of strong colour and shape. His designs range from the manufacture of production ranges to the more exclusive one-off limited editions.
Ed and Margaret’s eldest son Charlie has enjoyed being around molten glass since he was seven-years-old. Since training in Sunderland at the National Glass Centre and gaining a BA (Hons) Degree in Glass and Ceramics, Charlie has travelled to a variety of different studios before joining his parents at E+M Glass.
Amy discovered hot glass at university and has a degree in Three Dimensional Design BA(Hons) specialising in hot glass. Amy enjoys exploring the vast potential of molten glass especially layering up coloured glass with its refractive and vivid qualities. Her designs lie in the tessellating element of natural shapes such as butterfly wings and shell patterns.
Carved wood is becoming more and more popular, whether you want a house name produced in English oak or a decorative piece for your garden. Paul Thomas from Oakwords will be on hand to demonstrate his special hand-carving techniques.
For more information, please visit www.oakwords.co.uk.
If you have ever fancied a go on a pole lathe or thought spoon carving might be your thing, then head over to Amerton Arts Studio. There will be a programme of traditional green craft lessons running throughout the day, suitable for adults and children over the age of eight. You can turn an item on a pole lathe after preparing green wood on a shave horse.
If you are 18+ you will be able to carve a spatula or spoon using an axe and knife. Projects suitable for children over eight include sword or magic wand-making on the shave horse using a spoke shave and children’s safety whittling knives. There will be different classes running throughout the day, so check out the blackboard in the Amerton Arts Studio area for details.
Willowpool Designs uses traditional skills to create willow baskets and contemporary animal sculptures such as piglets, birds and living willow structures. Willow is a sustainable, versatile and pliable material. Watch them demonstrate this ancient skill with a modern twist or join in willow-weaving workshops throughout the day. For more information, please visit www.willowpooldesigns.co.uk
Mick Dadd has been hand-making nets for ferreting since he was 12 years old and he will be showcasing many of his skills over the weekend, most notably demonstrating the art of producing a net that can catch a rabbit.
Rural Boundary Display
Marking out a boundary can be a beautiful thing and once again the National Hedge Laying Society and the Dry Stone Walling Association have joined forces to demonstrate some amazing skills.
Hedge laying is vital for the preservation of field boundaries while also helping to provide both shelter and corridors for wildlife.
The NHLS was established back in 1978 in a bid to halt the decline of traditional hedge-laying skills and encourage more interest in this art. Thanks to the generous patronage of HRH The Prince of Wales, the society not only continues to promote the craft but also actively engages new cutters.
Now in its 51styear, the Dry Stone Walling Association works to promote a greater understanding and knowledge of the traditional craft of building dry stone walls but also encourages the repair and maintenance of existing walls throughout the country.
For further information, please visit www.hedgelaying.co.ukand www.dwsa.org.uk.