Tannaghmore Blacksmiths win major craft award

THE Tannaghmore Blacksmiths, based in Craigavon have been shortlisted for a top prize in the Craft Skills Awards 2013, to be presented at a ceremony on May 2 hosted by Kirstie Allsopp.

The Tannaghmore Blacksmiths have been shortlisted for the Award for Encouraging Craft Skills in Informal Settings.

Judges and ambassadors including Sir Christopher Frayling will attend the awards, which have been created to celebrate the passing on of craft skills.

Craft skills have played a key part in in the heritage of our nation, and this remains evident in our surnames – who doesn’t know a Tanner, Carpenter, Potter or Smith? Yet despite this rich history, traditional and contemporary crafts in the UK are at risk of dying out if we don’t do more to pass on skills.

“Our craft skills are simply too important a resource for the UK economy to lose”, comments Catherine Large, Joint CEO of Creative & Cultural Skills. “Learning these skills opens up aspirational and satisfying career options and sustains a valuable chunk of our economy, whilst fuelling our ability to innovate. Fostering their growth has to be a key priority.”

Acting upon this belief, the Craft Skills Awards have been created by Creative & Cultural Skills in partnership with the Crafts Council, the Heritage Crafts Association, the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

The Tannaghmore Blacksmiths are based at Tannaghmore Farm, a visitor facility run by Craigavon Borough Council. The initiative was originally conceived as a one off six-week course in traditional blacksmithing skills. The enthusiasm of the teachers and the demand for the course kept the doors open and to date 60 students have benefitted.

“ Students have been involved in creating two major public artworks for the local council. Both traditional and contemporary approaches are celebrated and taught and students come from all age groups and social backgrounds. One of the teachers – Steve Murphy – is currently smithing for HBO’s series “Game of Thrones”.