A traditional craft saved for the future.

Regular readers of this blog will have seen Mike Turnock’s workshop before and read about how he is the last sieve and riddle maker in the UK, steam bending wooden rims and weaving wire mesh sieves for gardeners, shellfish fishermen, cooks and potters.

The Heritage Craft Association have done much to help publicise Mike’s work both nationally which has helped bring in more work and locally in the hope of finding someone suitable to take the business on. We are delighted to be able to report now that Mike has found a successor and so HCA can be proud to have played a part in saving our first Heritage Craft from extinction.

Damien Bramhall used to visit the workshop when he was a child and watch Mike and his father at work. he has been working as a lorry driver but was looking for a change of career when he read one of the press stories about Mike in the Buxton Advertiser. He got in touch, they came to a mutually convenient arrangement and Mike has already started training Damien up. Mike hopes to retire and pass the business on at the end of August. HCA are trying to help them find some funding to help cover the costs of the training since neither will be earning much whilst Mike is teaching and Damien learning.

I met with them yesterday and Mike was showing Damien how he makes the smaller kitchen sieves using prewoven stainless steel mesh. First he takes one of the small steam bent rims and fixes the ends together.

Then he cuts a circle of the stainless mesh.

and bends it round a former.

A strengthening wire is clipped to length

and the mesh wrapped around.

Now the mesh sits between the two steem bent rims and the whole lot is forced tightly together pulling the mesh taught.

A couple of tacks keep everything in place and the finished sieve should last a lifetime. I bought an almost identical one in an antique shop not so long ago.

To me it was an absolute delight seeing this old craft given a potential bright future since a visit to Mike’s workshop 18 months ago played a crucial step in setting up the Heritage Crafts Association, pictures of that visit and the blog post here 

Some of the press coverage from the last year

Guardian article here
and audio slideshow here
discussed in the House of Commons here

and Mike’s website

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One Response to A traditional craft saved for the future.

  1. Jane May 8, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    I use these for sieving glazes, and had no idea they were hand made. I will look at them with quite different eyes from now on!

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