Dying art...ancient crafts face extinction
DOZENS of ancient British skills like building wooden boats and hat making could disappear for good, artisans have warned.
Cornish hedging and fair art are also among 146 skills in danger of becoming extinct, according to the Red List of Endangered Crafts.
The increased threat to traditional crafts comes in the wake of soaring energy prices, inflation and the fallout from Covid.
Charity Heritage Crafts, which compiles the list, has classified 259 trades as endangered, critically endangered or extinct. Seventeen have been added since 2021.
Chain making, encaustic tiles, plumes, silk ribbon and straw hat arts are critically endangered.
Mouth-blown flat glass craft has become extinct since the last report.
Heritage Crafts, whose research is funded by the Pilgrim Trust, blames the financial crisis and our changing population for stopping traditional trades being passed on. But in a rare glimmer of good news, some previously at-risk crafts are back. They include shinty stick making and brilliant cutting (hand cutting glass).
Their survival is credited to new perceived value in home-made items and support for small businesses during the pandemic.
Jay Blades, star of BBC TV’s The Repair Shop and Heritage Crafts cochair, said: “When craft skills are in danger of dying out it’s important we know exactly where to focus our efforts. Over recent years the Red List has made us realise exactly what we are at risk of losing, and has given Heritage Crafts the information we need to direct our support most effectively and turn the tide.”
The charity has distributed 57 grants of up to £2,000 to artisans.
Mary Lewis, of the charity, said: “If we allow endangered crafts to disappear, we diminish the opportunities for future generations to create sustainable livelihoods and deal with future challenges.”