Archives for craft

Alan Kane’s Home for Christmas illuminated at Tate Britain

TATE Britain have commissioned the artist Alan Kane to create their Christmas light display, Home for Christmas. The cheering spectacle was switched on last week, decorating the exterior of the museum.

Alan Kane Tate Britain Home for Christmas Commission
Alan Kane’s Home for Christmas for Tate Britain

Switched on by prominent community figure, Jane Buttigieg, the exhibit on the Victorian façade of the building is part of the gallery’s community Christmas event. Tate’s traditional Christmas tree has been replaced by this light-hearted seasonal commission, featuring LED Santas, reindeer, snowmen and Christmas trees, similar to those decorating houses across Britain. The notion of combining the every-day with high-culture is a theme that frequently features in Kane’s work.

The commission is part of the greater festive period at Tate Britain, including craft activities, festive themed art talks, carol singing and torch-lit viewings of their esteemed Turner collection.

Director of Tate Britain, Alex Farquharson, says, “We’re excited to be giving Tate Britain a whole new face this Christmas … Alan’s ultra-festive response is sure to turn heads – of those both young and old. We look forward to unveiling other surprising festive artist commissions in the years to come.”

by Daisy Sewell

The display shall remain there until the January 6, 2018 and illuminated daily from 05:00am to 00:00am, at Tate Britain, Millbank, Westminster, London SW1P 4RG, UK.


West Dean College Supports Red List For Endangered Crafts in UK

HERITAGE crafts such as making clogs, pianos and blocks for millinery are still produced in Britain – but only just. Recent research by The Heritage Craft Association (HCA) reveals that many of Britain’s traditional craft skills are in decline and in some cases, no longer practised.  The Radcliffe Red List of Endangered Crafts is the title of the new project launched by HCA, supported by the Radcliffe Trust, which endeavours to oversee the viability of heritage craft skills on a regular basis. Their research reveals that the emergence of new technologies and an ageing workforce affect the viability of some craft practices but a lack of affordable workshops, training courses and business skills compromise others.

Heritage Craft Association, West Dean College, heritage crafts, Red ListWest Dean College student, Stacey Hibberd. Photograph courtesy of Christopher Ison

At present, Britain is one of the few countries that have chosen not to back UNESCO’s convention regarding the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage which supports craft skills. Greta Bertram, who led the research, has highlighted the need this month for increased government funding said, “For too long we have been bounced between heritage – which means historic buildings and museums – and arts – things that you can put on a shelf and admire.”

Heritage Craft Association, West Dean College, heritage crafts, Red ListWest Dean College student, Francesca Levey. Photograph courtesy of Christopher Ison

West Dean College in Chichester, who support the new Red List proposals have launched a brand new foundation degree in Historic Craft Practice which teaches metalwork, furniture, musical instrument-making and horology. The horology course includes a project for making an 18th century clock.

Heritage Craft Association, West Dean College, heritage crafts, Red ListWest Dean College student, Fons Vogel. Photograph courtesy of Christopher Ison

Apart from teaching crafts practice and tool-making, the course also endeavours to equip students with valuable business skills. Francine Norris, the Director for Education at West Dean College which specialises in conservation and creative arts education and is validated by the University of Sussex, said, “We hope the List will raise awareness of our rich craft heritage and encourage people to consider learning traditional skills many of which are still relevant today.”

by Miranda Charalambous

Front page image: West Dean College horology student. Photograph courtesy of Christopher Ison





An Art and Craft Revival: The Gardens of Heligan seeks “Heligan Makers”

Lost Gardens of Heligan SS2Local felt and print-maker Lou Tonkin, artist-in-residence at The Lost Gardens of Heligan

FOLLOWING a successful year with artist-in-residence, local felt and print-maker Lou Tonkin, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, St Austell, Cornwall  have announce their initiative to champion contemporary makers working with “lost” arts and crafts entitled “Heligan Makers”.

Inspired by crafts of a bygone era, Heligan wants to promote these lost arts and creative skills and so is looking for contemporary craftsmen and women with unique skills to join a select team at the Gardens.

Lost Gardens of Heligan SS3Hand-felted Red Admiral broaches

Heligan Retail Manager Sian Heason says: “It’s been a fantastically popular year for Lou and her Heligan-inspired felt and print work, now our visitors are simply hungry for more. Heligan has always worked hard to preserve its horticultural traditions and practices and this venture is no different; except it’s about crafts and creativity.

“So whether you’re a jewellery maker, a painter, a wood turner, a printmaker, or something we haven’t thought of, as long as you can create unique contemporary hand crafted products, we would love to hear from you.”

Lost Gardens of HeliganBluetit Patch

The Heligan Makers will be able to get inspiration from one of the most romantic and diverse gardens in Britain to create hand-crafted, unique Heligan-inspired items which will then be showcased at Heligan with customers being able to purchase the works in the Heligan shop.

Lost Gardens of Heligan SS4Hand Felted Bluetit Clutch Bag

In addition, there may be the opportunity for Heligan Makers to also create hand-crafted items with produce from the Heligan gardens. The Heligan Estate already produces quality timber, charcoal and wool; the latter of which is the base for all of Lou’s felt creations.

Lost Gardens of Heligan SS5The First Swallows of Summer

Any artisans, artists and craftspeople with a “lost skill”  and who would like to take inspiration from the unique Lost Gardens of Heligan are invited to contact the gardens at with a small biography, a brief description of their work and a selection of five images of work.

by Caroline Simpson

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Pentewan, 
St Austell,
United Kingdom,
PL26 6EN
Tel/textphone : 00 44 (0) 1726 845100
Fax : 00 44 (0)1726 845101