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Marsh Heritage Crafts Trainer Award

This Award recognises trainers of heritage crafts who ensure that traditional crafts skills of the highest standard are passed from one generation to the next. The enthusiasm, knowledge and experience of key individuals can influence the number and quality of skilled craftspeople in the UK.

The Award winner could be anything from a teacher, tutor, workshop leader, master or simply a craftsperson who offers one-to-one advice. The trainer might give anything from taster sessions for beginners to masterclasses for professionals.

Trainers may nominate themselves, or be nominated by a trainee, a craft guild or membership organisation. Nominations for the Award can be made via the Heritage Crafts Association website. Entries are judged by a panel of experts in heritage crafts and representatives of the MCT.

Kathy Abbott 2018

Kathy has been a bindery manager at an antiquarian bookseller for over 8 years and has worked in a number of teams as a book conservator. In 2010, she wrote a bookbinding manual which is now used for reference in the field and is currently teaching two bookbinding courses, one for a class of around 10 people and one which consists of one-to-one sessions. She shows an enormous amount of dedication to her craft through the work she carries out in her own repair and restore business and through her teaching. Kathy is keen to get young people involved in the craft to ensure that it continues in the future. She is also the founder of a bookbinding collective called ‘Tomorrow’s Past’ which creates modern conservation bindings for antiquarian books.

Previous Winners

Alistair McCallum

Alistair trained at Loughborough College of Art and the Royal College of Art and set up his first workshop in London in 1978 after graduation. Alistair is a silversmith and one of the leading practitioners of the Japanese metalworking technique of Mokume Gane, which he has explored for over 40 years. He works to commission as well as exhibiting nationally and internationally. Mokume Gane is a time consuming technique and involves building a sandwich of different metals which are then joined together by fusion or silver solder – the number of these layers can vary but Alistair uses between 5 and 128 dependent on each individual piece he makes.

Over the last 20 years, Alistair has dedicated his time to delivering workshops and short courses on this technique, which he has worked hard to get back into crafters’ minds. Sadly in June 2016, Alistair became blind overnight and so is no longer able to make or teach, but he remains positive and keen to support others in their own careers, acting as a mentor and adviser to the many students he has taught.

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 and 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.

Wendy Shorter

Wendy Shorter offers training and learning opportunities in upholstery and soft furnishings. In 2006 she set up her own training centre which has expanded and developed over the years to deliver classes and accredited qualifications to hundreds of students. As Director of Training for the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishings, Wendy has developed a range of qualifications which are offered at her centre alongside a variety of day and evening leisure classes and one and two- day taster classes. She also works with local schools, providing upholstery training to a group of 17 year old students.

Wendy continues to look for opportunities to expand the training available to students from school age to retirement. She has helped others to set up their own training centres and ensures that courses delivered by training partners are at a high standard, by offering mentoring support. Since Wendy’s centre was set up, at least a third of qualified students have gone on to work in the upholstery and soft furnishings industry, either for themselves or for other employers in the industry. Through her work, Wendy has helped to ensure the continuation of these creative skills for years to come.

Cameron Maxfield

Cameron teaches all traditional silversmithing skills: hand-raising, casting, soldering, spinning, chasing and forging. Although he has a love for these traditional techniques, he also has a keen eye for contemporary design and has helped many of the younger makers perfect their work in this area. He is a great mentor and is happy to share his personal equipment and his workshop with his students, at home when they need to have access to equipment not available in the silversmith’s workshop.

Cameron taught for 28 years as a senior technician and lecturer at the Sheffield Hallam University’s Jewellery and Metalwork course. After he retired from there, he was invited by Yorkshire Artspace to work as a technical skills expert and design advisor for the Starter Studio Programme for emerging silversmiths. He provided one-to-one tuition to up to six emerging silversmiths and jewellers per annum and has done so for ten years. He also regularly runs master-classes, specialising in hand-raising, forging and spinning.

Cameron has made significant contributions to the careers of his trainees. The silversmiths who attended his course at Sheffield Hallam University all now teach, sell their work, win awards and run their own successful businesses. Of the younger silversmiths he has taught on the Starter Studio Programme for silversmiths, most are now working from their own workshops around the UK.

Wayne Parrott

Wayne is a trained assessor, and was in charge of the City and Guilds of London exams for Silversmithing and Allied Crafts. Wayne had taught day release, pre-apprentices, full-time and part time City and Guild Students, National Diploma and Higher National Diploma students. He has an MA in Applied Art and Visual Culture, is a Freeman of the City of London, The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers and is a Fellow of the Institute of Professional Goldsmiths.

Wayne is regularly active in giving demonstrations and lectures to the Horological Society. He has always been active in his studio, and has had commissions for the Duke of Edinburgh and the late Queen Mother. He engraved a clock dial for the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, which was auctioned to raise money for apprenticeships and has works on display at Westminster Abbey, St Pauls Cathedral, Goldsmiths’ Hall, the Barbican Library, He is also regular judge for the Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council Awards.

Wayne runs regular short courses at West Dean College, West Sussex. He also runs evening courses through the Hand Engravers Association in London and occasional one – three day courses at the same location. These are all for beginner to intermediate level students, although can also be useful to more advanced craftspeople to keep up to date with their craft. Wayne also gives private tuition in his own workshop.