Celebrating Craftsmanship

It’s all over for another year. The 2013 Fellowship programme, that is. We celebrated this year’s Fellows’ craftsmanship and enthusiasm for the SPAB philosophy with an award ceremony in November. The touring Fellows made a stop in London so they could be presented with their William Morris Craft Fellowship certificates in the impressive surroundings of Ironmongers’ Hall.

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Nearly 100 guests were welcomed with a speech from Lord Cormack, Chairman of William Morris Craft Fellowship Founding Committee. Lord Cormack remarked that “without craftspeople the grand designs of architects cannot be realised” – a theme that was echoed throughout the day. SPAB Director, Matthew Slocombe, introduced each Fellow, commending them individually for their dedication to their craft and the Fellowship.

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When SPAB Scholar Martin Ashley (of Martin Ashley Architects) addressed the room he spoke of the enduring nature of craftsmanship, “crafts have existed forever and will exist forever; the William Morris Craft Fellowship ensures this”.

Dorian Crone, SPAB Scholar founding and current member of the Dance Scholarship Trust, closed the event. He drew parallels to the Lethaby Scholarship, which runs parallel to the Fellowship programme, and spoke of the great things that can happen when architects and craftspeople pool their knowledge.
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Here’s what this year’s Fellows had to say about their experiences over the last 6 months:

Johnnie Clark, stonemason Fellow from Glasgow

“The appreciation and understanding I have gained of all the different crafts involved in the field of conservation has allowed me to approach my own work with greater confidence. I am involved in apprentice training, which is major focus at the Cathedral and I can pass all that I have learnt onto the trainee stonemasons. In terms of my own craft, I have been able to move out of my comfort zone and understand the regional differences in materials, adapting to the many types of stone and tools used.”

Jamie Miles, plasterer Fellow from Chesterfield

“Personal highlights have been the 2 weeks spent at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales where I had the opportunity to repair an old lime kiln and build a slaking tank before firing up the kiln and seeing the whole process involved in producing quicklime. I feel the knowledge and confidence gained from my time on the Fellowship will be invaluable to me and my company in the future.”

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Tyrone Oakley, leadworker Fellow from Dundee

“The SPAB Fellowship has been a very edifying experience for me. The first thing I learnt was just how little I knew about anything whatsoever! The variety on the course has filled me with a great appreciation for historical architecture. I’ve been given a good understanding of our national crafts, both ancient and contemporary. But most of all my love of my own craft, leadwork, has reached a new level of obsession.”

The SPAB Fellowship is supported by English Heritage, Historic Scotland, The Monument Trust, William Morris Craft Fellowship Trust and William Morris Society. If you would like talk about how you can support the Fellowship get in touch with our Development Manager development@spab.org.uk.

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