A Place for Craft: Conference – London Craft Week

XC6C5759lowresThe Heritage Craft Association Conference Sat 9th May 2015

‘A Place for Craft’ is the theme for this year’s conference on Saturday 9th May at the V&A Museum – which will place makers and craftspeople at the heart of the conference and the discussions.

The conference will highlight the relationship between crafts and location – focusing on those crafts which have developed in particular regions or locations, and why craftspeople have chosen to live and work in areas with a special tie to their craft. Speakers include Sir Christopher Frayling and Genevieve Sioka, artisan buyer for the National Trust, and makers and craftspeople will again be able to bring and exhibit the tools of their trade at the conference.

The conference falls during London Craft Week, 6-10 May. The HCA is a strategic partner for London Craft. This inaugural festival will celebrate traditional skills and new talent, and showcase the work and expertise of craftspeople in major galleries and individual workspaces across London. During the festival, the HCA will hold the first HCA craft photography exhibition, featuring finalists of a competition run by the HCA and sponsored by Furniture Village, at the Prince’s Foundation in Shoreditch


10.30 am   Conference Start: Welcome – Patricia Lovett MBE, Vice-Chair of the HCA

V&A and Registration open from 10.00 am

10.40 am   Craft – a word to start an argument – Sir Christopher Frayling, Patron HCA

11.30 am   Crafting Provenance – Mark Hogarth, Creative Director, Harris Tweed Hebrides

12.00 pm   Local Craft and the National Trust – Genevieve Sioka, Artisan and Craft Buyer, National Trust

12.20 pm   Break

12.25 pm   HCA AGM/Lunch

12.55 pm   Lunch for all. View Instant Gallery – Craft and its Place

Twelve lucky makers get a chance to talk about their craft and the possibility of selling to the Artisan Buyer of the National Trust, who will also be looking at the Instant Gallery.

2.00 pm    Recognition & Awards: National Honours, Heritage Crafts Awards, Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Craft Fellowships

2.40 pm    A Place for Makers, introduced by Robin Wood MBE, HCA Chair

2.45 pm    Felicity Irons – Rush Matters

3.10 pm    Richard Eaton – Potter and Design Director at Denby pottery

3.35 pm    Veronica Main – Significant Collections Curator, Luton Culture

4.00 pm    HCA Updates

4.30 pm    Conference End

Short meetings with Genevieve Sioka

The Heritage Crafts Association has a terrific opportunity for all makers! Genevieve Sioka, Artisan Buyer for the National Trust, will be explaining about the organisation’s approach to buying local at A Place for Craft, on Saturday May 9th at the V&A Museum. She has kindly agreed to a very limited number of short meetings during the lunch break with individual craftspeople – a chance for you to seek advice, ‘pitch’, and ask questions.

To express your interest please contact Chloe Marley, HCA Administrator info@heritagecrafts.org.uk.

Speaker Biographies

Sir Christopher Frayling
Sir Christopher Frayling has a deep interest in art, design and craft, and has written extensively on the subjects, including his book On Craftsmanship. He was Chairman of Arts Council England 2005­–2009 and has also been Chairman of the Design Council, Chairman of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee, and a Trustee of the Victoria & Albert Museum. He was a governor of the British Film Institute in the 1980s.

Christopher Frayling was awarded a knighthood for Services to Art and Design Education in 2001. He has written and presented television series such as The Art of Persuasion on advertising, and Strange Landscape on the Middle Ages.

Genevieve Sioka
Genevieve is Artisan & Craft buyer for the National Trust, last year launching their Artisan & Craft collection featuring the work of Sasha Wardell, Sue Binns, Scott Benefield and Wallace Sewell to name but a few.

Tasked with sourcing products with provenance, authenticity and spirit of place, Genevieve works closely with established and emerging makers alike to develop pieces for the National Trust shops, forging sustainable and profitable relationships for both parties in order to continue to support the National Trust in looking after special places for ever and for everyone.

With a background in lecturing Textiles and Printmaking and with a Masters in Multi-Disciplinary Printmaking, Genevieve now thoroughly enjoys being able to bring great British craftsmanship to the National Trust audience, encouraging shopping for a cause whilst telling the stories of great makers.

Felicity Irons
Felicity Irons is a designer and weaver whose life with the English Bulrush began in 1992 when she was working in the antiques trade. With invaluable support from The Prince’s Trust she started her business with rush harvested locally in Huntingdonshire by Tom Arnold, the last in a centuries-long line of cutters. When Tom died in 1994 Felicity took over the business. Now, several workshops later, Rush Matters employs two people based on a farm in Bedfordshire and a small team of local women working from their homes.

Her passion for all things rush led her to start designing and making. She and her team now cut 4-5 tons of rush a day during the summer harvest. They hand weave a range of work: rush floor matting, tableware, log baskets, handbags, cushions, hats and shoes.

Their work can be seen in National Trust properties in the UK, the Chateau Azay le Rideau in France, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY and they work with many designers, architects and shops here in the UK and overseas. She also teaches her craft here and in Europe. Felicity was made a Yeoman of The Worshipful Company of Basketmakers in 2009 and in 2011 Rush Matters was awarded the CPRE Mark in the Living Countryside Awards.

Richard Eaton
Richard Eaton, who was born and brought up in London, initially came to Denby Pottery in rural Derbyshire as an enthusiastic young student on work experience for his Master of Arts degree.  Richard instantly felt an affinity with Denby’s stoneware clay, designing and putting into full production a unique, and now collectable, range of giftware.

Richard returned to Denby in August 1987 after completing his M.A. in Ceramics and a B.A. in 3 dimensional design.  Within a short time Richard was promoted to Head of Design and subsequently Design Director.  Over successive years Richard has built up the Denby Design Team which comprises six designers and five technicians.

In addition to his work for Denby, Richard encourages the work of young new designers.  He has been a member of the panel of Judges for the Royal Society of Arts design competitions and an advisor on the Princes Youth Business Trust.  Richard was until recently an external assessor for M.A. in Ceramic Design at Staffordshire University and is currently undertaking special projects with a number of Universities.

Veronica Main
Over one, under two - Straw plaiting for the hat industry was an occupation for tens of thousands of men, women and children throughout the United Kingdom in 1800s but with the introduction of imported straw plait from the Far East in the 1870s the skills began to die. By the 1930s the number of plaiters in the country could be counted on one hand. Veronica’s presentation will tell her personal journey to rediscover these skills. Her journey, started in the 1970s has taken her around the world and leads her to become a museum curator looking after the nationally important Hat Industry and Headwear collection Wardown Park Museum, Luton.

image and text from HCA website

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