Farnham is getting set to celebrate Craft Month and this year it has extra cause for cheer as the initiative has been given funding to develop further.
The Surrey town was designated as England’s craft town in 2013 and has just been given a boost from Arts Council England.
October celebrates the town’s deep craft roots since its involvement with the pottery industry in the 16th century and the founding of the Farnham Art School in 1880.
This year will feature the most ambitious programme of events yet and will include something for all those with an interest in crafts, from makers to enthusiasts.
Among the highlights are a clay feast at Farnham Pottery organised by the West Street Potters who will honour the 19th century tradition of the clay diggers being paid by the potters and sharing a festive meal. Hands-on workshops will explore the relationship between clay and food with cooking in clay and making a feast based on 19th century menus.
Farnham Maltings will take an international perspective, working with the Crafts Council and the University for the Creative Arts to develop links with Bornholm Craft City and Craft Town Scotland and explore joint working.
The Surrey Hills AONB will present Unearthing Landscapes, a symposium which will focus on how to connect people to the landscape through craft and the arts.
Surrey Artist Open Studios will partner with venues, cafes, shops throughout the town to display local makers and craft organisations work in shop windows.
The 10 artists in residence at UCA will curate an exhibition of their work to show how they have developed during their year in England’s craft town. There will be demonstrations of craft skills ranging from weaving and making cordage to looping and printing as well as opportunities to meet the makers.
Local maker Rebecca Skeets, a member of the Craft Town Steering Group who led the bid for Arts Council funding said: “Farnham has such a diverse and exciting cultural heritage, which together with the support of Arts Council England, Farnham Town Council and the rest of the Craft Town team, means we can be really ambitious with this year’s month long celebration of craft.
“This year promises to be the best yet and brings a range of new events, collaborations and ideas.
“We invite everyone to become part of our town’s creative community and celebrate Farnham’s place as England’s Craft Town.”