What can people who sign up for your Craft Week workshop expect?
Neil: Hand stitching is the foundation of what we do – people at our workshops will have the chance to learn this skill and take home a finished piece. Along the way, people will learn about edge finishing, why vegetable tanned leather endures and why leather is such a unique and important material.
Is there anything else visitors to our Craft Week event should know about?
Val: LCW offers the chance for many of the students we have taught over the years to reconnect and tell us about their leather working journeys. We always have design ideas but not enough time to explore them, so soaking up the atmosphere and meeting interesting and interested people at LCW is a creative experience for us. Being surrounded by such treasures in Bentleys allows us to learn from the past and create leather goods of the future.
Why do you feel that interest in classic rail travel is increasing?
We all need to slow down. Flying creates a huge amount of environmental damage and the true cost is rarely reflected in the ticket price. Rail travel on modern trains is less damaging to the environment and slows us down. We can watch the world go by, walk and talk and sleep in comfort if need be. It connects us to the places we travel through and allows us time to process what we see, to listen and reflect.
Do you have any exciting plans for later this year?
Neil: For the past two years Val has had the privilege to be Chair of the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen. In 2023 we will be taking part in two exciting events with them. The Guild is celebrating its 90th year (established in 1933) with an exhibition at The Museum in the Park, Stroud from 17th June to 16th July – a decade by decade exhibition highlighting key events, stories and work made by Guild members of the past, alongside a selling exhibition of contemporary designer crafts made by current members. In September, 'Crafts Alive – In The Maker’s Hands' takes place from 13th–17th September at Rodmarton Manor, near Tetbury. The five-day festival is a unique re-imagining of one of the country’s finest Arts and Crafts houses, showing outstanding contemporary crafts inspired by the house. Not to be missed.