Country’s Oldest Craft Guild Encourages Young Blood

UntitledJust because the Country’s oldest craft guild, the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen (SGC), has just celebrated their 80th birthday, does not been it is stuck behind the times – in fact it’s quite the opposite.

The guild, which was established in 1933 and boasts a County wide membership of over 160 members, have developed a yearlong programme of events which will include 9 exhibitions. Each exhibition will focus on a small group of makers and their particular medium or craft, starting with ‘Jewels’ which is running now until the 21st February.

Alongside the exhibition, a profile of each maker will be posted on Facebook every 3 days, to not only carry the guild’s message of promoting excellence in design and craftsmanship far and wide, but to also give people the opportunity to engage and learn about the individual makers and their craft.

It is hoped that this approach will encourage and attract younger makers to come forward, share their talents and become members. John Candler, the guild’s master said “We realise that there are many, many talented youngsters out there and we wish to attract more of them as we are able to offer a fantastic platform to promote their work, a support network with like-minded makers and assist them with generating a sustainable income via their craft. Plus, we also want to represent a balanced view of Somerset’s talented and rich creative industry and that of course includes the younger generation”.

With the plans to establish an annual ‘Open to All’ prize exhibition in the summer and consideration taken over the potential and possibility of apprenticeships, the SGC is proving a must for any young up-and-coming talented makers out there.

The ‘Jewels’ exhibition includes pieces from all the established jewellery makers within the guild. Much of the inspiration of the handmade individual pieces has come from the local landscape and environment within the County of Somerset and sees subject, shape, colour, form and texture all playing a part.

Visitors to the exhibition at SGC’s stunning Courthouse Gallery in Somerton, will also enjoy the diverse range of work available to admire and purchase from all the other makers within the guild, offering a mixture of traditional and contemporary techniques with a variety of materials such as, pottery, ceramics, glass, metalwork, leather, wood and textiles. Each piece provides the knowledge that it has been beautifully and individually crafted by a local maker. “As a professional organisation, only the very best of skilled and dedicated makers are accepted through our stringent selection process and to become an exhibiting member is a sign of quality and prestige – the next group to exhibit is our glass makers which will include a colour and light exhibition opening at the beginning of March” John Candler also said.

The exhibition will run until 21st February and in support of the event there will be a ‘Red Heart Saturday’ held on the 8th February where a 10% discount will be offered on all Jewellery purchases in preparation of Valentine’s Day. The Gallery/Exhibition is open 10am – 5pm, Monday – Saturday, admission is free.

For further information please contact:

The Somerset Guild of Craftsmen, The Courthouse Gallery, Market Place, Somerton TA11 7LX. Tel: 01458 274653. email: [email protected]

Image: Erica Sharpe’s Swan Earrings. Inspired by the beauty, movement and grace of the swans that live on the Somerset Levels and Bishops Palace in Wells