Essex Craft Society Archive

Welcome to the Essex Craft Society Archive.

The society was formed over 20 years ago and consists of 20 or so members. Each member has joined after submitting a port-folio of their work to the selection committee. So the society is a peer selected society, with the key focus on high quality hand made craft pieces. A very important element is that of highly skilled production and original design.

The current members have put together this archive. The key purpose of the archive is to record the way in which each maker has come to produce the kind of craft work they do.

With 20 makers and far ranging skills, this oral history archive exists to lock down descriptions and the different stories from each artist. Many of the skills and techniques and some of the very types of crafts described are under threat. So it seemed very important for many of us to take part, to make a record of how we have individually learnt and practiced our skills. This is in the context of many of the craft areas no longer being routinely taught.

We appear to have come to a critical point in the crafts world. On one level, as I see it, there is great media appetite for crafts to become good television (Great Pottery Thrown Down, The Repair Shop.. for example) but this doesn’t appear to be effecting any better decisions within Government funding or thinking about the quality of teaching of Crafts. There is also sadly routine portrayal of crafts done quickly and badly on television giving the impression that such skills are cheaply and easily gained, which is of course a very false impression.

With this archive there will at least be an honest notation of the journey of the members of our society from the craftspeople themselves, in as they say, ‘their own words’.

The archive includes interviews with members whose craft areas are;

  • Woodturning plus the carving and decorating of turned pieces,
  • Fine Art Print Making,
  • Fine Art Textiles,
  • Jewellery,
  • Laminated Woodturning,
  • Pottery,
  • Designer Furniture Making,
  • Pole-lathe turning,
  • Ceramic Sculptures,
  • Calligraphy.

The hope is that this archive not only serves as a record of the work of the individuals but also provides information and inspires new generations of makers coming forward. I am indebted to the makers who have given their time and knowledge to create the archive. Thank you.