Craftsmen Past and Present in the Town Hall!

Last Saturday saw the culmination of our project, as The Craftsmen of St Andrews Past and Present gathered in St Andrews Town Hall.

The Baxters, Fleshers and Hammermen books on display.

The Baxters, Fleshers and Hammermen books on display.

Trying your hand at calligraphy.

Trying your hand at calligraphy.

Our staff from Special Collections were there, with the Baxters’, Fleshers’ and Hammermen’s books and a fantastic variety of palaeography (old handwriting) and calligraphy tasks for people to try out.

MakLab were also on site, to showcase the crafts of the future. They brought a 3D printer, laser cutter, a vinyl cutter and a heat press, so that our visitors could see this exciting equipment close up, and try it out for themselves.

Learning about the laser cutter.

Learning about the laser cutter.

The 3D printer in action, making a vase.

The 3D printer in action, making a vase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first demo of the day was by Stuart Minick, of Minick’s Artisan Butchers, and his colleague James Lothian. This was a fascinating insight into the skills required to ‘bust down a lamb’, with Stuart talking us through his work, from sourcing meat to producing haggis.

James Lothian, of Minick's Artisan Butchers, demonstrates his craft.

James Lothian, of Minick’s Artisan Butchers, demonstrates his craft.

He underlined how important it is to buy local produce, and talked about the years of training needed to become a flesher, while James prepared half a lamb according to traditional methods, and the other half using modern techniques.

The old and new butchery techniques shown side-by-side.

The old and new butchery techniques shown side-by-side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the afternoon blacksmith Mihai Cocris talked us through the properties of various metals, letting us see, and hear, the differences between them. He showed us the ways that metal could be joined, and talked about how the techniques had changed over the years, demonstrating different tools along the way.

Blacksmith Mihai Cocris demonstrating the craft of the Hammerman.

Blacksmith Mihai Cocris demonstrating the craft of the Hammerman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At two o’clock, Graeme Nicol awarded the prizes for our photography competition. Graeme is a former Deacon Convener of the Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen, and was kind enough to say a few words about his organisation before he awarded the prizes.

Graeme Nicol (centre) with competition winners Frank Riddell and Emily Noakes.

Graeme Nicol (centre) with competition winners Frank Riddell and Emily Noakes.

The photographs were the result of a challenge set to St Andrews Photographic Society, to capture the craftspeople of North East Fife in action. Congratulations to Frank Riddell, Emily Noakes and Chris Reekie who all won prizes.

MakLab's Delphine Dallison explains how to use the printing blocks.

MakLab’s Delphine Dallison explains how to use the printing blocks.

After this, MakLab ran a workshop where participants could print their own design onto a tote bag. First they had to cut out their printing blocks on the laser-cutter, before using the ink to create their finished product. Messy but fun!

Some of the trades-based designs from the workshop participants.

Some of the trades-based designs from the workshop participants.

The last demo of the day came from Murray Barnett, of G H Barnett & Son bakery. Murray talked us through the process of making bannocks, as well as the different techniques and skills that bakers have to learn.

Murray Barnett showing how to make the perfect bannock.

Murray Barnett showing how to make the perfect bannock.

The bannocks in the pan. Delicious!

The bannocks in the pan. Delicious!

He told us a bit about the history of his company, how long it takes to train as a baker and how science and art combine in the baker’s craft.

 

 

 

 

Here are some of the comments that our visitors left about the day:

rsz_laser_printing_lady

rsz_beautiful_bannocks rsz_liked_the_blacksmith rsz_only_buying_haggis_from_minick_now

rsz_ancient_and_modern_combo_was_fascinating rsz_old_books_the_best

 

Thank you to all the project partners, volunteers and visitors who made our event so enjoyable!

Come and try out the crafts of the future!

We are thrilled to announce that MakLab will joining our event on 7 May, to let you try out the crafts of the future!

MakLab is an organisation which provides the resources to support innovation and excellence in design and making across Scotland. Their experts will be in the Town Hall all day, and will be bringing along a 3D printer, 3D scanner, laser cutter, vinyl cutter and heat press. Don’t miss the chance to see how this equipment works, and try it out for yourself!

Print your own bag or scarf using woodblocks cut with the laser cutter!

In this 45 minute workshop, you’ll get the chance to create a printmaking block by assembling wooden shapes cut out on the laser cutter. Once you’ve created your design, our MAKLab team will guide you through the process of block-printing a pattern onto a bag or a summer scarf.

The workshop runs from 14.30 -15.15. There are only 20 places available, so book now!

 

Craftsmen Past and Present in Special Collections

On Tuesday St Andrews University Library hosted a special viewing of the craft books for our project partners.

Murray Barnett takes a look at the the first volume of the Baxters book.

Murray Barnett, of Barnett’s bakery takes a look at the the first volume of the Baxters book.

Our three craftsmen were there, along with some members of the St Andrews Photographic Society.

Stuart and Meg Minick with the Fleshers book.

Stuart and Meg Minick, of Minick’s Artisan Butchers, with the Fleshers book.

Dr Claire Hawes gave an introduction to the history of the crafts, then everyone had a chance to have a close-up look at these fascinating documents.

Blacksmith Mihai Cocris delves into the Hammermen book

Blacksmith Mihai Cocris delves into the Hammermen book.

The evening was rounded off with a glass of wine in the curator’s office. The craftsmen of early modern St Andrews would certainly have approved!

Project Update!

We are delighted to announce that our photography competition will be judged by Graeme Nicol, former Deacon Convenor of the Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen.

Graeme Nicol

Mr Nicol joined the Aberdeen Weaver Incorporation in 1978, after becoming Managing Director of Kilgour and Walker Ltd, a long-established textile company. He was elected Deacon of the Weavers four times, in the late 1980s and 1990s. From 2008-2010 he served as Deacon Convener of the Seven Incorporated Trades.

Like St Andrews, Aberdeen was home to the Baxters, Fleshers and Hammermen crafts, as well as Weavers, Tailors, Wrights & Coopers, and Shoemakers. The first Deacon Convener was elected in 1587, in order to allow the crafts to defend their interests collectively, and the position has been continuously occupied since then.

The Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen meet in Trinity Hall. Each craft has its own stained glass window in the Major Hall (shown in the photo, above) which depicts its crest and motto.

In common with their early modern counterparts, the Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen engage in charitable work and education, to support their members and the local community more broadly.

Connect your work to the history of the crafts in St Andrews and beyond!

Are you a craftsperson working in the area? We are looking for images of makers in action, to showcase the present range of exciting craft work happening in St Andrews and beyond. Post to our facebook page, with some info about your work and your location. You can even link to your own website, so that others can find out more!

We would also welcome images of craftspeople of all types from the past. Do you have old family photographs of people making things that you’d like to share? If so, let us know!