• Enthusiastic response to Education Manifesto

    The value of the crafts industry to the British economy was measured using research commissioned after the government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport proposed dropping crafts from its list of recognised creative industries in 2013.  “It’s far bigger than we thought,” said Rosy Greenlees, executive director of the Crafts Council, which carried out the research. “This is emphatic proof of the impact craft skills have on the economy.”

    The launch of Our Future is in the Making: An Education Manifesto for Craft and Making received enthusiastic support from luminaries from the worlds of craft, design, education, art and business, following an open letter to The Times published on 10th November 2014.


    The UK is a world leader in craft, yet craft education is at risk. This is why we support an Education Manifesto for Craft and Making, being launched at the House of Commons today.

    Craft skills generate £3.4bn for the UK economy, with 150,000 people employed in businesses driven by craft skills, in engineering, science, design, architecture, fashion and film.

    Making contributes to cognitive development and fosters wellbeing. It develops creativity, inventiveness, and problem-solving.

    Between 2007 and 2012 following changes in educational policies, student participation in craft-related GCSEs fell by 25 percent. In higher education, craft courses fell by 46 percent. This comes when elsewhere around the globe investment in creative education is rising.

    We make five calls for change: put craft and making at the heart of education; build more routes into craft careers; bring the entrepreneurial attitude of makers into education; invest in craft skills throughout careers; and promote higher education and artistic and scientific research in craft.

    The Crafts Council’s manifesto lays out 22 specific action points for the government to support crafts in schools, higher education and other paths to employment.

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  • Fashion inspired by fishing flies

    After showing at Holland & Holland last winter, Lai Symes has been inspired by the country theme.  The hat shown is made from charcoal faux-fur with woodcock feathers from her father-in-law’s farm in Suffolk and embroidered with a silver beaded spray reminiscent of gun shot and finished with raspberry colour shell-stitched lining.  Lai’s winter collection will feature the beautiful names and colours of fishing flies such as Partridge and Olive, Green Highlander, Blue Wing Olive and Woolly Bugger.

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    Lai Symes, shotgun hat

  • All bagged up for NYC

    Distance is no barrier when making bespoke:  Leather maker, Mark Gizzi’s first sale from his Etsy site left his Hertfordshire studio and was delivered by UPS to legal offices in Manhattan in just over 24-hours. Although originally designed as a weekender bag, it is ideal for everyday use particularly for those that need to carry vast sheaves of evidence to and from the courts.  Made from English saddle leather and measuring 45cm x 50cm and 17cm deep, this is the third weekender bag he has made, the previous one was purchased anonymously by a style writer and received rave reviews on specialist The Tweed Pig website.

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    Gizzi Black Weekender Bag

  • From The Tate to Oslo

    Laura Homer has been appointed Paintings Conservator at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo.  She is one of a team of three paintings conservators looking after a collection of approximately 7500 paintings spread across the National Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Their responsibilities include the care of the painting collection, from the basics of framing and storage, through to research and full aesthetic and structural treatments to restore damaged artworks. They ensure the paintings are safe for display in exhibitions in their own galleries, as well as those across Norway, Scandinavia and the rest of the world.

    Laura is about to undertake research into the materials and painting technique of a painting by Edvard Munch.

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    Laura Homer, Paintings Conservator, Oslo

  • Worker bees brought to the City

    James Hamill, Master Beekeeper for The Hive Honey Shop was Country Life magazine’s beekeeping spokesperson during their first London fair at Fulham Palace in September.  The event celebrated the best of British Countryside-in-Town. “I was delighted to speak about the plight of the honeybee at the Country Life Fair. It’s not just about the honey. It’s vital that we all try and do what we can to help protect and nurture these wonderful little creatures that do so much for us behind the scenes,” said James.

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