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Posted by Rachel Westall on 25 March 2021
The Heritage Crafts Association (HCA) has launched its 2021 President's Award for Endangered Crafts, established last year by HCA President HRH The Prince of Wales. Each year the Award provides £3,000 to a heritage craftsperson who will use the funding to ensure that craft skills are passed on to the future.
The HCA published the latest edition of its groundbreaking HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts in 2019, which revealed that there are 107 endangered crafts in the UK. Crafts deemed critically endangered range from millwrighting and horse collar making to watchmaking and tinsmithing. Other endangered crafts include a number of musical instrument making crafts, including brass, woodwind and percussion instruments, harps and Northumbrian pipes.
The inaugural award was won last year by Ernest Wright scissor makers. Following a tragedy in 2018, the company went into receivership and the critically endangered craft of scissor making was on the verge of disappearing from Sheffield. Paul Jacobs and Jan Bart Fanoy took action and bought the company, re-hired the remaining master putter-togetherers, Cliff Denton and Eric Stones, and took on several 'putters' in training. The factory is now back in action with 12 scissor patterns currently in production. They used the prize to repair machinery so that putters-in-training have more productive time learning the craft from Cliff and Eric.
Applicants for the President's Award are invited to submit proposals to help secure the survival of their craft, which must be listed as 'endangered' or 'critically endangered' on the 2019 edition of the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts.
The President's Award will be presented at a special reception at Dumfries House, home of The Prince's Foundation, as well as at a prestigious winners' reception at the Houses of Parliament.
The Award judges are renowned advocates of craft skills:
HCA Operations Director Daniel Carpenter said: “The UK is known around the world for its manufacturing ingenuity and its craft skill, and there is no better example than Sheffield, the historic home of the global cutlery trade and of last year’s Presidents’ Award winners Ernest Wright. British craftsmanship is facing unprecedented challenges, only exacerbated these past 12 months by the COVID pandemic. We are keen to ensure that everyone, including the policymakers who have it within their power to help, understands that not only are craft skills an important part of our national cultural heritage, but also a potentially vital part of our shared future.”
The HCA has also launched four other awards in association with the Marsh Christian Trust, including Maker of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Trainee of the Year and Volunteer of the Year, each with a prize of £1,000. Members of the public can nominate their favourite craftspeople at http://awards.heritagecrafts.org.uk by 30th April, 2021.