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Ten films of rural crafts

Please click on the links to the right to view each film:

Swill basket maker

The hay rake maker

Some crafts have endured through the fortunate combination of a particular person working in a particular place. But things can change very quickly and their onward survival is even more a matter of chance, with the odds often stacked against.

The swill basket maker

Some craftspeople are primarily tradition bearers or guardians of a living craft in its original form. They make a living from teaching others and from demonstrations as well as from the craft itself.

The country potter

Some crafts delight in a touch of quirkiness and creative flair to go alongside the skill and technique involved in the process itself. There is an unconventionality in the lifestyle of the craftsperson which the customer buys into when purchasing the product.

The hurdle makers

Ancient crafts with a modern use keep coppice woodland active. The challenge is how to make a living from these products at the price that customers are prepared to pay. Cheap foreign imports are a serious threat to the home producer.

The blacksmith

Village crafts that serviced the needs of the local farming community have now almost gone. Contemporary versions explore the creative possibilities of the craft for a largely non-agricultural clientele.

The weaver

One factor apparent in many rural crafts is the importance of carefully selected, naturally sourced raw material. Another is that additional sources of income can also be significant to support what is a very labour intensive activity.

The horse collar maker

The knowledge and skills in a traditional craft can sometimes find new uses in the developing world where technological advance may involve trying, for example, to harness the working animals more efficiently.

The wheelwright

Some crafts continue with a more formal structure of organisation and training to provide an avenue for new entrants. Where there is steady demand for their highly specialist products, they can survive in the modern business environment.

Dry stone walling

Crafts that help sustain and enhance historic rural landscapes can be supported through funding from environmental stewardship schemes as part of the England Rural Development Programme. To date, over 1,300 miles of dry stone walls and 17,500 miles of hedgerow have been restored.

The edge tool maker

Here and there, the countryside harbours craft industries with a long pedigree that have largely disappeared from urban areas where costs and pressure on space are much greater. Almost unnoticed, they continue to cater for a highly niche market.