The Importance of Tradition
When it comes to artisan crafts, there are many longstanding skills and working methods that are steeped in tradition. Crafts that involve working manually in the manufacture of an end product have remained popular for centuries. Today these traditional crafting methods can take the form of companies manufacturing items using traditional methods, or hobbyists who enjoy recreating the past, using materials and approaches from past eras.
Some of these longstanding techniques are defined as Heritage Crafts. These are manufacturing methods which employ a great depth of knowledge of traditional materials, designs and techniques in a modern age. Those who carry out such crafts will also possess manual skill and dexterity of the type that will be honed over years of practice. These crafts will have been practised for two or more successive generations.
Such skills include roles that have a practical use, to provide a service, such as blacksmithing, dry-stone walling, carpentry and woodworking. These are practical skills that entail a high degree of dexterity and expertise, using methods that have been around for years. There are older textile skills such as weaving and handloom textile making, or even upholstery, that combine with other disciplines to create a finished piece of furniture. There is still significant interest in these traditional skills, to the extent that you can take specialist courses in some of these time-honoured disciplines.
Style and substance
Styles and aesthetics may have evolved over the years as materials and methods changed, but the fundamentals of traditional crafts remain the same. Leatherwork is inspired by a myriad of eras, as leather was one of the first materials to be used to make items such as saddlery. Forging skills such as metalworking, another longstanding staple of manufacturing with its origins in the ancient world, is still as relevant today, in the making of such items as buckles and fasteners, but also larger pieces or ironwork, again with practical uses. Craftspeople with various skills can each make the individual constituent parts that can then be assembled – a random example would be a lamp, which involves a wooden or metal base, partnered with a manmade shade, of glass or textile.
Keeping tradition alive
At Abbey England, we have been making and selling products which have a variety of practical applications. Though we were only founded in 1982, our traditions and inspiration for our work goes far further back than then. Our 1832 foundry uses traditional and modern methods to make items that serve multiple industries. Our specialists produce bespoke items which are used on a diverse array of products, including belts, satchels, fashion garments, rucksacks, handbags, vintage cars, yachts, horse harnesses and carriages.
S.E.H Kelly trench coats.
We stock and sell many components to create a finished piece – for example the parts of a saddle, or a leather bag, that can incorporate leather, textiles, stitching and metalwork to create a finished piece. As well as our range of buckles, fasteners, equestrian tack and other items, we also sell workshop tools and materials for craftspeople to create their own products. This is all part of keeping tradition alive and ensuring these essential techniques are not lost to the ages, but are passed down through the generations once more.
Discover our comprehensive range of products online today or for any enquiries, please email [email protected]