Today I am cutting winter firewood in the Derbyshire hills, tomorrow I'll be at Clarance House, home of HRH The Prince of Wales, Tuesday at Department of Culture Media and Sport DCMS all to support traditional crafts skills.
First meeting at Clarance House is with Emily Cherrington.
Emily is Assistant Private Secretary to The Prince of Wales. The Prince has been a keen supporter of traditional crafts and is president of the Heritage Crafts Association. Emily is our new contact so we need to brief her on the work of HCA and discus ways in which we hope the Prince can support our work in the future, we have some exciting things in the pipeline...watch this space.
Then on Tuesday we meet Helen Williams Head of Heritage at DCMS,
Helen's is a new role created after considerable restructuring at DCMS. We have met before with a previous heritage adviser and Mick Elliot previous director of culture. Advocacy work has to be ongoing, people and roles change and it is people that make a difference so we keep meeting with key people in key roles to let them know early on about the position of traditional crafts in the UK. Woody Allen said "80 percent of success is just showing up' we show up a lot.
We will be pointing out how traditional crafts have not been recognised as arts or heritage so have fallen outside the remits of all support and promotion agencies. This has been a tremendous lost opportunity, with good promotion the traditional crafts can thrive and be a great asset to the UK arts, tourism and heritage, generate income and provide worthwhile jobs.
On all London trips I fit in as many meetings as possible so I'll also be meeting Guy Salter, a long time champion of craftsmanship in the luxury sector. I'll also be visiting a couple of workshops, first a tailor and haberdasher I met at Art in Action Jeremy Morgan
I have a suite I bought at a charity shop, nice Merino wool, sadly Italian not English but it was good quality and was £25 which is about what I can afford for a suit. Jeremy told me for a further £25 he can take the jacket apart and make it fit (it's currently a little loose) so I'll give it a go. I have also never been inside a traditional tailors workshop so hope to take some pics. Another visit which I hope to do if time allows is to a new London tweed weavers workshop London clothworks. And the final meeting is with Catherine Large director of Creative and Cultural skills.
By Tuesday night a few more folk will have a better picture of the state of traditional crafts in the UK and if Woody Allen is right then maybe it will make a difference.