Anyone tuning in to last night’s (Sunday 10th September) edition of Countryfile will have seen us featured as part of an investigation by Tom Heap, their Rural Affairs correspondent, into a new report on endangered crafts.
The Radcliffe Red List of Endangered Craft was published by the Heritage Crafts Association, who want to see craft protected by Government regulation in the same way we protect our historic buildings.
Tom Heap introduces “Britain’s most endangered species …and it is isn’t a mammal, bird or even a reptile’’ before trying out the craft of hurdle making. You’ll find examples of these beautiful traditional woven gates and fences in woodlands and gardens. Anyone inspired to have a go at making these beautiful hurdles can browse courses here.
We were asked about the popularity of craft courses and were happy to report that there is no lack of interest in learning crafts from the British public - as well as international visitors to the UK. With 2000 enquiries week and over a million visitors to the website during the last year there seems to be something of a crafts resurgence in Britain.
TV programmes like Forged in Fire, The Great British Pottery Throwdown and the Great British Sewing Bee have all boosted participation on blacksmithing, ceramics and sewing courses, but there is also huge interest in stone, glass, wood, jewellery - and pretty much all forms of textile art (we have over 110 specialist course categories).
Kate Dewmartin from CraftCourses met Tom Heap and the BBC crew at the Welsh Mill in Frome, where leatherwork, bike building, book binding, stained glass and print making courses are all on offer from experienced professionals. Kate introduced Tom to Master leatherworker Bill Blakie who showed him the rudiments of saddle-stitch.
Tom Heap summed up by saying that whether the survival of crafts came from teaching or from finding new customers , that if we truly value them, they will survive.
Of course, we will continue to do our best to help them!