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New President of the Master Carvers Association

Tim Crawley was elected as the new President of the Master Carvers Association at the A.G.M. held in October 2011.

The Association outlines its history as follows;” The Association was founded by the many employers of thousands of trade carvers in the late 19th century. Its primary function was to uphold the quality of training of architectural carvers, and to provide a mechanism within which their skills were recognised and for which rates of pay and working conditions could be negotiated with the newly emerging Trades Unions. To become a Member of the Association, an employer had to demonstrate that the carving skills of his employees were of an excellent standard, comprehensive, properly rewarded, and that an apprentice training scheme was in place. Today things are very different. Architectural styles have changed with carved ornament very rarely a requirement. The large workshops that could encompass the manifold skills of architectural carving in wood and stone plus the allied crafts hardly exist today. More often than not crafts people are working in small specialist groups or as individuals. This dispersal has also brought about a change in the training of crafts people. Some colleges now provide courses in basic skills that students can hone later on shorter apprenticeships with a Master Carver.”

Tim Crawley says, ”As far as I know this is the first time a stonecarver has been elected as President of the Association. This is a great honour and I intend to use the position to work with other members for the benefit and promotion of the craft of carving. To do this I believe we need to raise the profile and understanding of our skills amongst both professionals and the general public so that  what we do is better valued and  more sought after. As the custodians of a great tradition that goes back far beyond the founding of the Association, it is also essential that we encourage and involve aspiring craftsmen and ensure that proper training is available now that the traditional apprenticeship  route for carvers has disappeared. If we are to continue to play our part in keeping our skills alive we must adapt to changed circumstances, but use our knowledge and experience to ensure that our standards of excellence in skill and design are not compromised.”

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