While waiting to go to the Heritage Crafts Association forum and launch today in London I read an article by Jon Henley about heritage crafts at risk. I was quite surprised to find that (in his view at least) Britain does so little to aid crafts people.
"Modern Britain, it seems, is not much fussed about the skills and knowledge that exist only in the minds, eyes and hands of people who make things – our living vernacular heritage. We like them, in a rose-tinted, nostalgic kind of way, but we don't do much to support them."
With this view in mind it will be very interesting to see what the HCA can offer today in terms of proposing a solution to this problem.
"My real vision," says Wood, "is of a country that understands how much a part of us these crafts are. Where schoolchildren in Nottingham learn how to make lace, and in Northampton, a shoe. Pots in Stoke, willow baskets in Taunton, cutlery in Sheffield, chairs in High Wycombe. In Sweden they do that. They know how these skills helped make us."
Well yes it doesn't seem that school children in Britain get much in terms of craft education. Perhaps the Craft Club initiative setup by the UK hand knitters and the Crafts Council will be able to rectify this in some way. As for Sweden we will have to put it to our Swedish correspondent Ane.
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