Coppersmith Siân Evans Represents Great Britain at the 1st International Handicrafters Festival
18th November 2019
QEST Scholar Siân Evans was honoured to represent Great Britain in Uzbekistan for the 1st International Handicrafters Festival in September. The event gathered more than 600 artisans from 79 countries in Kokand, a city recently granted the status of Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art by the World Crafts Council.
Siân was invited by The Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in London to demonstrate coppersmithing and talk about her work. According to The Radcliffe Red List of Endangered Crafts she is one of only five known ornamental coppersmiths working in the UK today and the idea of cultural preservation through the language of crafts skills was a core theme at the Festival.
The event was held in the grounds of the Palace of Khudoyar-Khan, where a village of yurts, tents, marquees and huts had sprung up, each housing a working craftsperson. During the opening ceremony the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, spoke of the value of craftsmanship in universal culture and how it “occupies a special place in the life of each nation, shaping its mentality and values”. He added, “the craftsmanship derives inspiration in harmony with nature” and that in order to “breathe life” to an ordinary clay, piece of metal or wood… there needed to be not only scrupulous work, but also the warmth of human soul”.
“The final two days of the festival were spent meeting new people,” says Siân, “discovering beautiful work, sharing skills, laughing and dancing. Many craftspeople, especially those in obscure or dying crafts, spend a lot of time working in isolation, so this new sense of a global community was not only profound, it was a revelation.”