Balvenie Masters of Craft awards

The Balvenie has launched The Balvenie Masters of Craft awards, celebrating handcrafted goods from across the country.

The awards scheme aims to shine a light on the talent in the field of handcrafts – working with metal, leather, wood, stone, food and drink, glass and ceramics and textiles. It is not a history project – youthful exuberance is helping to drive these skills on and making them relevant in the 21st century and commercially viable.

Joining HCA Chair Robin Wood on the judging panel is Kevin McCloud, the presenter of Channel 4’s Grand Designs. Kevin has employed craftsmen in his design business, and witnessed their skill on the set of Grand Designs. It is, he says, “an enormous privilege” to watch a craftsman at work. But he is concerned for the future. “We have lost touch with the value of things,” he says. “We don’t understand the skills required to make things anymore.”

Kevin feels it is time to honour our craftsmen. “When we talk about value these days we talk about money don’t we? Rather than time and gifts, love and commitment. So I think the idea of being able to champion craftsmanship, to thank craftsmen, promote them, to show off whatever disciplines there are – leather, metal, wood – is hugely important.”

THE COMPETITION

Nominations
Nominations are sought for craftspeople who uphold elements of traditional artisanship and recognise the importance of working to innovate and develop sustainable markets for their products in today’s world.

Awards categories
Nine awards will be given in total. One for each of the seven craft categories (Stone, Wood, Metal, Glass and Ceramics, Textiles, Leather, Food and Drink), one for The Balvenie Young Master of Craft 2011 (those 30 years of age and under, who symbolise the successful passing on of skills to a new generation) and one for the overall Master of Craft 2011. Craftspeople can nominate themselves.
The judges
The distinguished judging panel includes television presenter Kevin McCloud, Robin Wood, chairman of the Heritage Crafts Association, Nick Hand, professional crafts photographer, and David Stewart, The Balvenie’s malt master.

Requirements
The judges require no more than 500 words about the individual craftsperson and their work, their vision and their business. Include a brief history of the business, how the individual trained in their specialist skills and developed their work and what they do. Where possible, give information of sales performance, markets and materials. Any customer or other testimonials would be helpful to any entry.

Up to 10 captioned photographs of their work will be accepted. Any other promotional materials such as fliers, brochures and advertising will be accepted as part of the entry, but craftwork itself will not be accepted. Personal information about the craftsperson’s beliefs and approach to their work and its development, survival and future would also be helpful.

Send nominations to…
Please submit any nomination via the application form available at www.thebalveniemastersofcraft.com. Entries can be sent by post to: The Balvenie Masters of Craft Awards, c/o Seventy Seven PR, 77 Kingsway, London WC2B 6SR. Electronic entries welcomed: email entries@thebalveniemastersofcraft.com.

Images sent do not have to be originals; scanned copies will be accepted. Photographs and any attachments should be in jpeg or PDF form. Electronic entries should not exceed 10MB. For further information, visit www.thebalveniemastersofcraft.com.

Closing date
The Balvenie Masters of Craft competition will be open from Sunday January 23. All entries must be in by Thursday April 21 2011.

Winners
Each winner will receive a specially handcrafted trophy and a bottle of The Balvenie single malt. Winners will be invited to attend an awards ceremony in London in May.

For full terms and conditions go to www.thebalveniemastersofcraft.com.

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