Welcome to our new feature, The Craft Edit, where we bring you snippets of news from the sector.
This month, we hear about exciting collaborations between Scottish and Icelandic makers, a pioneering hand-knitting scheme in Shetland, catch-up on the FCA&C Symposium and the sad decline of heritage crafts.
The latest findings of The Radcliffe Red List of Endangered Crafts shows that many heritage crafts are at risk of becoming extinct. This is the first research of its kind in the UK and it has enabled the Heritage Craft Association (HCA) to shine a light on the UK’s collective intangible heritage that has, until now, been languishing in the dark. Heritage craft is defined as:
"a practice which employs manual dexterity and skill and an understanding of traditional materials, design and techniques, and which has been practised for two or more successive generations".
It is HCA's hope that this heritage crafts research will act as a call to action to those who have it within their power to resolve or alleviate these issues, and that this project will mark the start of long-term monitoring of heritage craft viability and a shared will to avoid the cultural loss that is borne each time a craft dies.
For more stories about the relevance of heritage craft, read Amalia Illgner's article for The Independent.
Thinking, Making and Matter
If you missed Fife Contemporary Art & Craft's (FCA&C) Thinking, Making + Matter Symposium in February 2017, you can now watch films of the exciting talks and panels. The symposium explored the blurring of the boundaries of craft, design and visual art. Artist and makers are no longer adhering to the conventional principles of their discipline and now move fluidly between many specialisms. The abundance of materials currently available has allowed artists and makers to experiment and develop a practice with infinite possibilities.
Keynote speaker was London-based designer Ted Hunt alongside presentations from curator Amanprit Sandhu, curator Catriona Duffy of Panel and contemporary ceramic artist James Rigler. Catch up on the panel discussion with speakers including artist/maker Jasleen Kaur, chaired by Helen Voce.
Five makers from the Highlands and Islands have embarked on a new project, SHIFT, a catalyst for changing the emphasis, direction or focus in their work. Diggory Brown, Eileen Gatt, Hilary Grant, Julia Smith and Yellow Broom attended DesignMarch 2017 in Reykjavik where they took part in a cultural exchange with four Icelandic makers. SHIFT brings together this diverse group to explore and inspire one another - producing fresh ideas, new approaches to creative production, making contact with new audiences and markets, and fostering a deeper connection between cultures.
The designer/makers' work was also presented at the Craft Showcase (image above) at the XPONorth creative industries festival in Inverness on 8 June 2017. This showcase was curated by ilka North - a new collaborative creative practice of designers, artists and cultural producers. Many of the group also participated in a panel discussion at the festival: 'Shift: Scottish Icelandic Maker Collaborations’.
SHIFT has been made possible through a collaboration between Emergents/ XpoNorth Craft, Fashion &Textiles in the Highlands and Islands and Handverk og Hönnun in Iceland , with support from DesignMarch. They are currently working on funding applications to support the development of this new work and a subsequent exhibition tour, beginning at DesignMarch 2018 and then travelling to a range of venues across Scotland.
Crowd-Funded "Shetland Peerie Makkers" Help Safeguard Knitting Culture
Shetland Peerie Makers is a ground-breaking crowd-funded project. Shetland’s hand-knitting tradition is world-renowned but their skills were in danger of being lost because knitting is no longer part of the school curriculum. Fetlar-based, Brough Lodge Trust set up a pilot project called Shetland Peerie Makkers where skilled volunteers provided free hand-knitting tuition to children in five local communities in Shetland. Now with the help of crowd-funding this project is being rolled out across Shetland. Trust chairman, Pierre Cambillard said
"It provides the missing link that was needed to secure the future of the hand-knitting culture, which is so fundamental to Shetland’s identity."
Get in touch
We’re always on the lookout for the latest in Scottish craft news. If you have any stories you would like to share, send your news to firstname.lastname@example.org.