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traditional crafts & the last riddlemaker

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  • traditional crafts & the last riddlemaker

    Last week I visited the last chap in Britain hand weaving garden sieves. Mike Turnock buys green beech 4x4s rips them with a circular saw, steams and bends them then drills and weaves the wire. This one is for grading shrimp, he does cockle ones and lots for garden use. He is 63 and has no one to follow him so another trade that has been going for centuries may die out.

    I visited with Brian Crossley of the Basketmakers Association as a precursor to discussing a new traditional crafts organisation. One problem which is not often highlighted is that many of these crafts are sole traders and there is absolutely no incentive for them to take on students or apprentices. Mike lives a hard but simple life churning out his riddles at great speed. It would take an apprentice a long time to become useful, then could Mike double his order book to pay two wages instead of one? There is so much more hassle and less freedom to the work then.

    I don't know what the answer is. Steam bent vessels of various sorts have been made in Britain dating back to the Iron age Glastonbury Lake Village it would seem a shame for it to die, the business is viable and there must be people out there that would love to take it on when Mike finishes.

    Lots more pictures on my blog here

  • #2

    Scorch's Pyrography :
    Crafts on Flickr :


    • #3
      Yes, dead right. It is really fascinating and interesting. I would love to learn the techniques and have a go at making some.
      Does anybody know if there are any books about, which give further information on this craft.
      Having said that, there is probably not much call for a cockle grader where I live in Mansfield, but there probably is near to my second home in Brittany.