Farnham World Craft Town Makers

The picturesque town of Farnham is proud to bear the title of England's first World Craft Town.

Though its crafting traditions span centuries, formal recognition as a craft hub emerged in the 21st century. Today, Farnham thrives as a haven for artisans, ranging from emerging talents to globally renowned craftsmen. The town teems with craft organisations, independent creative enterprises, and artisanal workshops.

As a World Craft Town, Farnham is committed to nurturing its craftspeople, offering affordable studio spaces and units to cultivate a vibrant craft community. Craft is interwoven into Farnham’s identity, visible in its architecture, galleries, and dynamic events, and has transformed Farnham into a unique tourist attraction, celebrated for its craft heritage, contemporary craftsmanship, and an annual October festival.

Craft fosters unity in Farnham, inviting individuals of all ages and abilities to explore their creativity and forge bonds, enriching both the local community and economy. In 2020, Farnham proudly achieved World Craft Town status, linking it with a global network of Craft Cities. Craft isn’t just an art form here; it’s a living part of Farnham’s culture and heritage.

With the annual October Craft Month, now is the time to celebrate some of the local talent who drive creativity in Farnham, and whose works can be enjoyed in the homes of yourself and your loved one, or seen on exhibition as part of a day out.

Denise Jaques – Mosaics

Award-winning artist Denise Jaques creates contemporary and captivating mosaic art for homes and gardens. Her art dances with shimmering colours and patterns, offering a unique play of distorted reflections. Denise’s work spans a wide spectrum, from crafting site-specific pieces for exhibitions and private clients to commercial artworks for both indoor and outdoor spaces.

With over two decades of experience, Denise not only crafts stunning mosaics but also shares her passion through Mosaic Happy workshops. These workshops cover everything from decorative plaques and mirrors to festive designs and garden art.

For those looking to introduce their older loved ones to the world of mosaic art, Denise’s workshops offer an engaging and creative way to bond and explore art together. You can find tickets for her workshops on her website, as well as her shop containing beautiful mosaics for homes and gardens.

Image: Mosaic Spinning Porthole © Denise Jaques

John Cooksley – Blacksmith

In Farnham, where history is alive and cherished, blacksmith John Cooksley plays a pivotal role in keeping the legacy of his community active. He’s part of a select group of blacksmiths in the Old Kiln Forge at the nearby Rural Life Living Museum, passionately handcrafting both traditional and contemporary wrought ironwork.

For over a decade, John and his team have been fashioning bespoke designs as artistic blacksmiths, working with various materials to create ornamental and architectural marvels. At the museum, they’re not just artisans but also educators, frequently demonstrating their craft during events and engaging with schools and other groups.

John’s recent projects include magnificent staircases, exquisite chandeliers, gate conservation, and even a charming rose tunnel. For those seeking a unique connection with their older loved ones, a visit to John’s workshop at the museum can be a shared journey through history and craftsmanship.

Image: Forged Steel Railings © Old Kiln Forge

Alison Ellen – Textiles and Knitting

Alison Ellen, a skilled textile artist and knitter, embarked on her creative journey at UCA Farnham in the 1980s. Her passion lies in exploring the intricate world of knitting, discovering how various stitches can shape fabric, resulting in seamless, comfortable garments that cater to diverse individuals, and she enjoys sharing her expertise through talks, virtual sessions, and workshops.

Alison’s creations start with raw British wool, spun to exact specifications, and dyed to create a palette of rich, subtle colours. Her meticulous use of stitches sculpts and moulds clothing, ensuring they are a perfect fit. She then collaborates with skilled hand-knitters across the UK to bring her designs to life. Over the years, Alison has showcased her work in numerous exhibitions, as well as penning four books on knitting design.

Her aim is to empower others with knitting stitches and techniques while nurturing confidence in design and creation. For those looking to bond with an older loved one, a shared knitting project inspired by Alison’s work could be a heartwarming connection through creativity and comfort.

Ian Bishop – 3D design

Bespoke 3D design artist Ian Bishop, is known for transforming imagination into tangible artistry. His multidisciplinary approach covers lighting, sculpture, furniture, and more, all driven by a deep-rooted passion for creation. His artistic journey, rooted in industrial ceramics, led him from design studios to founding his business.

Whether it’s a low relief panel, a sculpture, or intricate lighting, Ian combines materials and processes to craft solutions that delight his clients. In his work, there’s a harmonious blend of realism, classicism, and intimate design, where every piece is a problem-solving puzzle. His workspace in the beautifully restored West Street Cemetery Chapel adds a unique touch to his creative process.

Ian’s brand thrives through word of mouth and a visually captivating online portfolio. His work appeals to those seeking to bridge imagination and craftsmanship, allowing you to marvel together at visions brought to life.

Nicky Lawrence – Jewellery

Nicky Lawrence discovered her artistic calling while living abroad, where she was captivated by the cultural significance of jewellery. Her creations are a fusion of glass and metal, a vibrant interplay of colours against textured or polished metal backgrounds. Her art, beyond its visual appeal, carries a profound message – the urgent need to protect coral reefs from environmental threats.

Nicky first witnessed these underwater wonders while diving in Sulawesi, Indonesia, and the shock of witnessing the deterioration of coral reefs off the coast of Egypt drew her to create these visual tributes. Her pieces, like silver necklaces adorned with glass and metal nudibranchs, serve as a poignant reminder of the fragility of our world and its many ecosystems.

Fuelled by her love for art and a passion for conservation, Nicky’s pieces are not just jewellery but also a call to action. They inspire awareness and a shared commitment to preserving the environment, making her work a valuable source of inspiration for bonding with those we love.

Image: Barrel Coral with Nudibranch © Nicky Lawrence

October is the highlight of the crafting year in Farnham, where creatives come together to show their talents in exhibitions and shops, give workshops and talks, and meet the public. There are over 100 accessible events and activities taking place throughout the town that give the perfect opportunity to spend time marvelling at the creativity of the people of Farnham with your older loved one. You can see more at their website, download their digital programme, or pick up a copy of Farnham October Craft Month brochure from outlets such as Farnham Maltings, UCA, and the council offices.

For more information or support for you or a loved one to explore events in our local area, contact our team on 01252 758716 or enquire below.

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