Marsh Awards for Heritage Crafts

The Marsh Awards for Heritage Crafts are run in partnership with the Heritage Craft Association.

These awards recognise and celebrate the exceptional individuals that contribute so much to our rich living heritage. The awards have been created to encourage the passing on of skills from one generation to another and to acknowledge the great work that volunteers do to raise the profile of heritage crafts across the UK.

Pictured right: Silver engraving

The 2015 winners are Mary English and Jean Leader

Trainer – Mary English

Mary has been working in ceramics for over 25 years. Her main expertise is in using the method of pit-firing ceramics, an ancient craft which has been used for thousands of years. Mary enjoys teaching and instructing others in the craft, demonstrating the links between history, art, chemistry & anthropology via the method of pit-firing.

Mary conducts demonstrations, lectures and workshops in several locations across the southern part of the UK: in schools, council funded courses, in groups and weekly workshops at studios, and during festivals and open studio events. She also runs workshops working with children with behavioural difficulties who benefit from this one-to-one support.

Several of Mary’s trainees are now themselves instructing others in the method of pit-firing and have used Mary’s continued expertise and advice to develop their own work and art practice. Mary exhibits and sells her own pit-fired work in galleries throughout the UK, Australia, India and the USA.

Volunteer – Jean Leader

Since the 1980s, Jean has been involved in the craft of lacemaking, volunteering between 1 and 6 days a week of her time to the craft. Jean is an active member of the Glasgow Lace Group freely sharing knowledge and skills, and carrying out officer roles including organising exhibitions, courses, and other events.

Jean has chaired The UK’s Lace Guild as well as its education sub-committee, overseen the publication of high quality instructional material and worked on a database for the Guild's collections. She also launched the first Guild website in 1997 and continues to serve as webmaster.

Jean has worked to promote the craft internationally and is a member of OIDFA, the international lace organisation, taking a particular interest in the freehand lace and now running the OIDFA website with its unique translation facility.

Jean has shown ongoing work with the care and cataloguing of lace collections at the Lace Guild and Glasgow museums. In 2013 her and her husband launched a lace identification app available to individual collectors and curators. Jean is also an excellent lace maker herself!

Pictured above:
Top - Works by Jane Harrison, one of Mary's students. Photograph © Mary English
Below - Chinese Dragon, part of a collaborative project with a student at Glasgow School of Art and Jean Leader. Photograph © Jean Leader


Heritage Craft Association
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