Sunday, 6 June 2010

Traditional crafts mapping project, are you on the map?

The Heritage Crafts Association have launched a map of traditional craftspeople in the UK. This great map allows you to zoom in to your county or area and follow links to websites or get contact details of interesting traditional craftspeople to visit or commission. If you are a traditional craftsperson and not on the map yet you can input your details for free here it is incredibly easy and takes just a few seconds. This is what the map looks like today, we are short on pins in Scotland, Wales and NI so please encourage folk from there to sign in.

If anyone has blogs or forums where they could publicise this map that would be helpful, the more people that are on there the more useful it will be to folk using it. Back in 1993 Henrietta Green published her "food lovers guide" locally produced artisan food was still a bit alternative back then though undergoing a resurgence. I used to use the guide (and still do actually) when on holiday to locate interesting food producers taking the extra effort to make good regional produce. Traditional craftspeople have been hard to locate but I believe we are on the tip of that major resurgence just as food was in the early 90's. Now is the time to get the map fully populated with all the interesting craftspeople out there. If you know someone who you think should be on the map but isn't send HCA their email and we will invite them or maybe you could send them a link to the map sign up page.

When I visit Sweden it is easy to locate traditional craftspeople because each county has a craft consultant who is responsible for promoting crafts, they know everybody and can suggest folk that a visitor would be interested to see. Our map we hope will be equally useful to tourists looking for something unusual to take home or to craft lovers wishing to source good locally produced work.

The map is the brainchild and hard voluntary work of Daniel Carpenter who runs the HCA website, as with everything HCA do it is done by craftspeople for craftspeople and it costs you nothing so please help support. Oh and if you want a special red pin rather than a blue one to show that you are a friend of HCA then you can sign up here, that costs just £12 per year, you get your name on the website alongside such eminent craftspeople as Owen Jones, Guy Mallinson and Tom Perkins and the good feeling that you are helping make a difference.


  1. Please define traditional. Does it mean rural and based on designs made before the industrial revolution? My thrown porcelain is based on 1950s designs, such as those made at Poole pottery and Branksome china. Is that too new to be described as traditional? The work is all thrown on the wheel by myself. I suspect it is defined as contemporary.

  2. Hi Linda

    The HCA defines traditional as anything that involves a significant degree of hand skill and that has been handed down through generations in Britain (even if it has origins in other countries).

    So we support industrial crafts such as cutlery and scissor making as well as rural ones. We don't support the contemporary art side of craft as this is already served well by the Crafts Council. We prefer the term 'craftsperson' to 'designer-maker'.

    Your work would definitely fall under our remit as it uses a traditional technique to produce a recognisable product.

    Defining what we cover is difficult when it comes to pottery, as techniques have stayed relatively the same for many generations. Other crafts have changed more drastically so it is easier to mark a cut off.

    So in short, we feel that you fall within our remit, but if you feel better served by the Crafts Council or similar then we are glad.

    Best wishes

  3. Thank you -I am glad to be within your remit. I thought HCA was only for potters making very traditional shapes ie. seventeenth century slipware. I can't find any potters on your map -is there anywhere listing all the pins on the map?

  4. There's no search facility at the moment, but you can go to and press Ctrl F, you can do a text search for 'potter'. I just tried it and found eight.

    If we get any money for a web developer we will try to make a fully searchable version.

  5. I added myself/ fabrication and andrew of military metalwork weeks ago, but you have only added him not me :-( am I not traditional enough with my tailoring

    Dawn Ages of Elegance

  6. Hi Dawn

    I put you both on at the same time. If you zoom in enough your pin is just next to Andrew's, though it disappears behind it in the zoomed out view because you are so close.

    All best