Haslemere Arts and Crafts Weekend
Friday 7th to Sunday 9th July 2017 at Haslemere Museum
The Arts and Crafts Movement was one of the most influential international artistic movements of modern times. Inspired by the work and writings of John Ruskin and William Morris, it grew out of a concern for the effects of industrialisation on society and traditional skills in the late 1800s. The movement influenced many areas of the cultural landscape including architecture, garden design, clothing and home furnishings.
Next month, Haslemere will play host to an Arts and Crafts weekend to celebrate the town’s rich Arts and Crafts heritage. Organised by Haslemere Museum and supported by Haslemere Events and the Visitor Information Centre, the weekend of special events promises a fascinating insight into the Arts and Crafts Movement.
In Haslemere, a thriving centre for a community of artists and craftspeople inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement formed the Peasant Arts Society which flourished until the early 1930s. Determined to revive lost country crafts and rejecting the industrial economy with its mass production of goods, they set up craft workshops and weaving houses in the town teaching local girls to weave. Many different types of crafts were produced from striking handwoven textiles to printed cards, some of which survive in the collection at Haslemere Museum.
Members of the movement, including Godfrey Blount and Joseph King collected beautifully decorated household objects and intricately embroidered textiles from all over Europe and brought them back to Haslemere displaying them in their own museum to inspire the local artisans. Joining them in this pursuit of collecting was Gerald Davies, a master at Charterhouse School in Godalming and his collection was later purchased by the Peasant Arts Society. In 1926 this remarkable collection of European folk art was re-homed to Haslemere Museum where it remains today providing an insight into the rituals and patterns of life of the people who produced them.
The craft workshops and weaving houses have long since disappeared from Haslemere but the history of this inspiring movement is still visible today in the road names and buildings, together with a lasting legacy in the European Peasant Arts Collection at the museum.
Highlights of the weekend include an evening talk with Eric Knowles, a leading authority in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Decorative Arts and antiques expert who has graced the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow programme for over 20 years, a series of lectures by expert speakers including garden historian Dr Sarah Rutherford author of the Arts and Crafts Garden, Professor Neil Jackson from the School of Architecture at the University of Liverpool in London and Donna Steele, Curator of Ditchling Museum. There will also be a trail around the Arts and Crafts industry buildings and houses of Haslemere, a guided garden tour of Gertrude Jekyll’s iconic woodland garden at Munstead Wood and dinner by candlelight at St Christopher’s Church, a stunning example of an Arts and Crafts building.
Don’t miss the exhibition at Haslemere Museum entitled ‘The Rustic Renaissance’ which runs throughout July and August showcasing wonderful objects from the European Peasant Arts Collection as well as rarely seen textile designs made by local weavers. It will also display original artwork by Godfrey Blount and photographs and documents from the Peasant Arts archive. The Horniman Museum and Gardens, London, have kindly loaned Haslemere Museum their Swedish Folk Art straw goats, which will be shown during the exhibition as part of Object in Focus, a project funded by Arts Council England. They will also be hosting a free family friendly craft workshop on Saturday 8th July from 10am-12pm, so do go along to Haslemere Museum and learn a Swedish craft.
Whether you love history or arts and crafts, or simply want to discover more about this inspiring movement, this weekend of special events is not to be missed!
To find out more visit www.haslemere.com/artsandcrafts.