Today I was in London meeting with Skills Minister John Hayes and the BIS craft skills advisory board. One of the things discussed was the NIACE craft toolkit. We helped publicise the call for input to this document a while ago and it’s good to see the finished website with a wealth of information. Perhaps one of the more interesting sections is the series of profiles of 50 or so craftspeople telling how they got into doing what they do. I am one of them and there are a lot of my friends and other Heritage Crafts Association members on there too which is nice to see. The “Value of Craft” section has some interesting articles and thoughts, then there are various useful links for instance to lists of awards and bursaries.
Our meeting was held at the Prince’s school of traditional arts, an inspiring place full of creativity. We did a bit of a tour and the Minister joined in a life drawing session. Talking about the work of the school the Minister said “We think of the arts as being about creativity, and of course they are, but that creativity channeled into disciplined learning and traditions which are drawing on a long history is about delivering excellence.” The students were learning drawing as part of an intensive and inspirational 3 week “building skills” program. I was surprised to be spotted by one of the students who had previously been on one of my bowlcarving courses and is now enrolled on the foundation’s 8 month craft course. What a fantastic opportunity.
To me the ethos of the building was well summed up by this piece of writing pinned up beside somebody’s desk.
I would love to be able to share with you the outcomes of the meeting, there are really very exciting progressions as the traditional crafts are finally recognised as an important sector with great opportunity for investment, promotion and growth. Sadly all the documents and projects we are discussing are still at draft stage and readers will have to wait until they are officially launched, it’s exciting stuff though. Last photo to share, after my 2 1/2hour journey home I come over the hill into Edale and this is the view that awaits me, my workshop is at the end of the valley toward the left of the picture and my home toward the right. I am told that rainfall so far this year has been 32″ with 10″ in June alone, it does make for a green and pleasant land though.
Tomorrow I pack the van and head off for another 4 days voluntary work manning the Heritage Crafts Association stand at my favourite art and craft event of the year Art in Action near Oxford. If you are visiting we are in the Market area, pop by and say hello.