Surrey Hills Society has worked closely with Surrey Hills Arts (SHA) for a number of years. Much of their work relies on external grant funding and, understandably, the majority of these sources have been diverted towards the pandemic. However, SHA haven’t been idle. They have progressed a range of projects and are looking to initiate a fascinating piece of work that Society members may wish to participate in.
Recently, SHA have created an online programme of arts activities, many inspired by our landscape or using natural materials. This weekly programme is allowing people of all ages to join the artist by simply clicking on the link and being instructed with their artworks. So far they have painting for adults, wood carving and pyrography, print making and creating a papier mache friend to keep you company in this period of isolation! These are all proving very popular and more classes are being added. The programme is also supporting our local artists who have suddenly found themselves without an income.
SHA have been developing a project on reviving historical crafts in the Surrey Hills. The project will research into the history of these traditional crafts of the landscape. It will identify and support specialists to train selected contemporary artists/makers who will then re-imagine the craft within the relevant landscape setting. SHA hopes that the project will give access to a new audience who would not normally experience the crafts or landscape whilst providing new skills and knowledge.
The Surrey Hills have a strong history of making use of the natural materials of the land. Basketry was a common industry in Guildford in the 18th century and hurdle making was widespread in South West Surrey. Brickmaking has a long history in East Horsley using locally dug clay, white sand from Ockham Common and red sand from Ripley.
The first stage of this project is the research – so if any Society members have relevant knowledge or an interest in researching, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. SHA are particularly interested in the crafts: basketry, brickmaking, hurdle making, pottery, textiles and glass. They intend to do a pilot project in one area, possibly near Farnham as this is Surrey’s Craft Town. To fund this project, SHA will be looking for sponsorship. Naturally, if you know of anyone who would be interested in doing so, they would love to hear from you.