The Maltings remains unshakable in its belief that craft offers unrivaled opportunities to engage new audiences and new makers. Craft is the country’s most popular hobby with around one in six of the adult population choosing to take up tools and work with their hands. There is something special about the everyday making activities – whether knitting, sugar craft, pottery or woodwork – which make us content and have an ability to bring us all together.
Our enthusiasm for making springs partly from our location. Farnham has a rich tradition in the crafts and the presence of the Crafts Study Centre, the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham Pottery, the Rural Life Centre and the New Ashgate, alongside the Maltings, means that we have access to a unique blend of entrepreneurial, academic and creative expertise. It is no surprise that Farnham now has a reputation as a craft town – replicating Hay-on-Wye’s success as a national centre for books by accentuating the role of crafts at the heart of its cultural offer. We believe that this places us in a strong position to raise the ambition and impact of the crafts across the region and ensure that they prosper and are celebrated.
Here are some of the ways in which we support the crafts:
We manage around 25 craft-based studios here at the Maltings.
We facilitate communities of makers by providing space (virtual or within our building) for them to come together.
We are raising the profile of crafts in the region by initiating debate and promoting the achievements of the sector. We are improving the ecology of the marketplace by bringing together the right makers with the right opportunities to sell their work and continue to develop our festival programme including unravel, sugar craft, art in clay and the festival of crafts.
We will not do something alone if we can do it better with others and we are working with the Crafts Council to build on their support for emerging makers. We are also hosting the Surrey Guild of Makers at shop maltings and are forming new alliances with other organisations.
We run and host an extensive workshop programme to encourage all of us to become makers. We know that craft provides a popular and accessible way of engaging communities – but we also know that this does not mean that the work cannot also be experimental and challenging.