Salisbury Contemporary Craft & Heritage Festival

Salisbury Contemporary Craft & Heritage Festival Launch Evening took place on 8th August; exactly one month before the Festival’s Preview Evening on 8th September.

The Launch Evening, held at Salisbury Cathedral Refectory, provided an opportunity to find out about the content for this year’s Festival as well as what’s coming up later in the year for the Festival team.

Overview of the 2016 programme

As usual, the Festival will have around 100 contemporary, heritage and emerging craft makers showcasing and selling their work in the Makers’ Marquee. In addition, there will be 18 heritage crafts people providing demonstrations and 11 of those will allow visitors to have a go and make something for themselves. Returning after the success of previous years are our highly respected Heritage Tours with many new additional tours and speakers.

New additions for 2016

The new Arts Council funded ‘Craftivate’ programme has already worked with a number of groups in Salisbury and some of their work will be displayed at this year’s event. Highlights from the programme include the Schools Heritage Challenge exhibition which will be on-site on the Friday, with a large number of the young people who created the work. Six class groups from six different primary schools have been working with the programme to create original felt pieces. The other exhibitions taking place at the time of the Festival are; the Reflection in Glass Exhibition across the Cathedral and its Close and a display of flags created by Circular Arts with groups across Salisbury.

The Festival village is being expanded with new marquees including a Maker’s Talk Tent, where our contemporary makers will explain what inspires and drives them to create what they do. Another new space is the Maker’s Film Tent, which will be a nice cool space to sit back and be mesmerised by the creative process of national craft makers with films created by R&A Collaborations. Six local artists from Salisbury Plain Arts will also be demonstrating their skills across the weekend in the Plain Arts Tent. On Saturday, the Paint Off returns to Salisbury Museum in the Cathedral Close.

New for 2016 is ‘A Good Reed’ which is our new and innovative encyclopedia corner. Come and find out amazing insights from the experts on a range of topics, from bee keeping to trout tickling. Artist Sarah Hurly has been commissioned to create stories inspired by the histories of craft in Salisbury Cathedral. Traditional oral Storytelling methods form the foundation of this lively, new set of stories about the carpenters, smiths, masons and glaziers - delivered for adults and children under the storytelling tarp.

The Crafts Workshop Tent also has a three-day programme, which is included within the cost of a Festival ticket. The workshop programme includes Sally Dove Lantern Making, Fragment Glass Painting with Ruth Spaak and a Ceramic Workshop with Jim Erin from the Great Pottery Throw Down. These workshops can be booked in advanced by visiting the website. As a drop-in experience, join in with a Craft Circle where you can learn skills in mastering material; this year the focus is on clay. Learn to throw your own bowls and pots on the potter’s wheel in clay with international artist Mirka Golden-Hann in the Craft Circle Tent on Saturday and Sunday of the Festival.

Again this year, the Festival has even more popular Heritage Games to try with your friends and family and a new Dressing Up Tent, Selfie Zone and Stocks to keep young and old entertained.

The Heritage ‘Have a Go’ Zone will be your opportunity try your hand at a wide variety of skills including stone-carving, pottery, felt making and workshops where you can learn spinning, weaving, braiding and cordage. In the Heritage Demo Zone you will be able to explore and see how makers create lace, spoons, felt and ceramics. Enjoy a more in-depth insight into the skills of a few of our heritage providers with Spotlight Talks at their stands, which will take place throughout the weekend.

Tickets are now available by visiting the Festival website www.salisburycraftfestival.org. Tickets include free access to the full programme of activities across the whole weekend and advance booking will secure you a fast track entry into the Festival.

Other Festival and ‘Craftivate’ events later in 2016

The programme will also offer professional development opportunities to already established and active artists and makers, including a series of maker's seminars. In November, a Big Craft Debate in partnership with the Craft Study Centre will allow amateur and professional crafters and makers to come together to share ideas and practices. 

 Craftivate will focus on both Contemporary and Heritage crafts, celebrating Restoration and Conservation skills with a  programme delivered by West Dean College and in collaboration with the Salisbury Cathedral's master craftsmen and women

Salisbury Contemporary Craft & Heritage Festival 

Salisbury Contemporary Craft & Heritage Festival is one of the largest and most prestigious Festivals of its kind in the UK, showcasing both contemporary crafts and heritage skills.

The Festival takes place on the West Lawn within the grounds of Salisbury’s medieval Cathedral and is delivered in partnership between Salisbury Rotary Club and Salisbury Cathedral. The Salisbury Contemporary Craft & Heritage Festival is a not for profit event run with any surplus proceeds going to local causes, predominantly relating to arts, craft and heritage.

The Festival is supported by a number of local organisations including Wiltshire Council, Salisbury City Council, Salisbury BID, Giant Peach, Salisbury Printing, Trethowans, Hills Group, Salisbury Journal and Bassets Sales & Lettings.