Craftspeople invited to apply for awards and bursaries recognising traditional skills

The Heritage Crafts Association is calling for applications for a suite of awards and bursaries recognising people working in traditional skills.

Craftspeople can be nominated for Heritage Crafts Maker of the Year, Marsh Trainer of the Year, and Marsh Volunteer of the Year. Nominations can also be made for the Marsh Heritage Crafts ‘Made in Britain’ Award.  Each award is worth £1,000.
A bursary offered with the support of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS) and worth up to £5,000 is also available for study in a wide range of heritage crafts such as weaving, basket making, hand engraving, embroidery, stone and wood carving and ironwork.

The deadline for applications is 30th November 2016. 
The awards will be presented at the Heritage Crafts Association’s Annual Conference in May 2017.

Further information and application forms are available at:

Recent recipients of Heritage Crafts Association awards and bursaries have included:

  • Basket makers John CowanJulie Livesey, and Emma Purcell; each received an HCA/NADFAS Heritage Crafts Bursary. All three are established basket makers and plan to use the bursaries to acquire further skills with master basket makers in England, France and Ireland.
  • Letter carver Luke Batchelor received the HCA/NADFAS Heritage Crafts Bursary, which has enabled him to continue learning his trade and travel to Italy to develop his skills in letter carving in Carrara marble and study ancient lettering. 
  • Priscilla McGirr was awarded the Marsh Volunteer of the Year. As chair of Alford Craft Market, Pris has led and organised a variety of events to promote Lincolnshire crafts. This has included demonstrations of mud and stud building, pole lathe turning, pottery, spinning, and Lincolnshire ladder back chair making; and workshops in ceramics, rag rug making, willow weaving, and knitting.
  • Shane Skelton, of Skelton Saws, received the Marsh Made in Britain award. Inspired by the master saw makers of the 18thcentury, Shane sources his materials – wood, brass, steel – from the UK, often from the area surrounding his workshop. He works with a furniture-making faculty at a college in Warwickshire and, later this year, will be holding one-day courses on saw sharpening to share his skills.
  • Weaver Jason Collingwood, of Rugweaver, was awarded the Marsh Trainer of the Year. Jason was taught to weave by his father and, in 1986, set up his own workshop. Since then Jason has woven more than 2,000 rugs and worked with architects and interior designers in the UK and overseas. He has taught traditional rug weaving skills to more than 10,000 people through group workshops, seminars, and residential one-to-one courses for beginners and skilled weavers.
  • Master harp maker Allan Shiers, of Telynau Teifi, was awarded the HCA Maker of the Year. Allan has spent almost 40 years sharing his knowledge and craft. In 2005 he established a not-for-profit community business, which has made more than 900 harps, to ensure a future for harp-making in Wales and he has continued to encourage younger harp makers through apprenticeships, workshops, and masterclasses. 

The awards and bursaries have been made possible through the generous support of the Heritage Crafts Association’s funding partners, the Marsh Christian Trust and the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS).
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Contact:         Sally Morgan
Twitter:           @heritage_crafts

Photograph: Master harp maker Allan Shiers, Heritage Crafts Association Maker of the Year 2016. Photo credit: Telynau Teifi

Notes to editors:

  1. The Heritage Crafts Association is the advocacy body for traditional heritage crafts and works in partnership with Government and key agencies.
  2. The Heritage Crafts Association was established in 2009 to provide a focus for craftspeople, groups, societies and guilds, as well as people who care about the loss of traditional crafts skills, and works towards a healthy and sustainable framework for the future.
  3. More than 210,000 people in England work in heritage crafts businesses and heritage crafts businesses contribute £4.4 billion in gross value added (GVA) to the economy of England.
  4. The Heritage Crafts Association gained charitable status in 2010 and is registered with the Charity Commission as charity number 1159208. HRH The Prince of Wales is the President of the Heritage Crafts Association.