Friday, January 18, 2019

The Artisans #2 - Stephen Winstanley, Niamh Wimperis and Rod Hughes

It's the second episode of the Victorian House of Arts and Crafts tonight - and further to my last post - The Artisans without a credit on Arts and Crafts House - I'm very pleased to say that since my last blog post:
  • the artists sent a link to it to that post to the Managing Director of the television company that makes the programme
  • he referred it to the BBC
  • the BBC have given permission to change the end credits so that ALL THE NAMES of the artisans/crafters will now be included.
I call that a RESULT!

[UPDATE: The second episode included the names of ALLl the crafters - right after the presenters - in the credits roll at the end of the programme]

The Artisans - (top row - Left to right) Abdollah Nafisi, Ilsa Parry, Niamh Wimperis,
(Bottom row - left to right) Rod Hughes,Stephen Winstanley, Bryony Knox

So here's the second tranche of artisans who are contributing to the series. They include the youngest and the oldest of the participants.  They are - in order of youth!
  • Stephen Winstanley - age 25
  • Niamh Wimperis age 27
  • Rod Hughes - age 62

Stephen Winstanley

Website: - but it's just a URL so far and not live as yet
Facebook Page:

Ceramics by Stephen Winstanley

Some details about Stephen Winstanley

  • age 25 - originally from Glasgow but who now lives in Dundee
  • Background in sculpture. Age 14 he started working with Alexander Stoddart, sculptor to the Queen.
  • been a potter for two years, age 23. He was inspired to become one while browsing on Instagram. 
  • Entirely self-taught - he used YouTube videos to teach himself how to create ceramics and fire them but bought his own kiln! 
  • Very new to the business end of ceramics - he's currently selling his ceramics via markets while he works on finishing his website
  • Fan of street art and a lover of yoga.
In the first episode he made some very fine tiles for the fireplace which got rather less attention than maybe they should have.Looks as if it gets a bit more interesting in Episode 2

Niamh Wimperis

Facebook Page:
Etsy Store:

My studio is my sofa, where I sit and stitch till the early hours of the morning, or the Coffee Shop I go to on the break from my restaurant job.
From the Wimperis Embroidery Facebook/Instagram accounts

"I'm all about feminism and plants"
  • age 27, Niamh lives in Stroud and comes from an artistic family (her father works as a stained glass and light designer)
  • she has a BA in photography - followed by a series of boring jobs. 
  • age 23 started embroidery with work which originally was very political, featuring feminist values and meanings. 
  • she has just completed an MA in Contemporary Craft from Plymouth College of Art. The latter combined her two loves - the political writings of Morris and Ruskin, with the Victorian language of flowers.
She explains that she loves to subvert the preconceived ideas about embroidery being a dull, feminine and ‘Grandma’ thing to do.

  • Unsurprisingly Niamh is the Embroideress on The Victorian House of Arts & Crafts
  • In the first Episode, Niamh was given the role of project manager for the week - plus a rush seat to make which didn;t go too well. There again weaving is not the same as embroidery

Rod Hughes

Facebook Page:
I have been fortunate enough to work on a number of film and TV productions from History and Discovery Channel to the BBC. I think via film you can show context and drama and inform and, hopefully, inspire many more people around the world.
  • age 62, he lives in Surrey and works as a Bladesmith and Metal Worker - and part-time television person
  • had an early career as an engineer - and loves working with his hands
  • his craft specialism is that he's an historic bladesmith who specialises in recreating weapons, particularly from the Iron Age, Roman, Viking, and Medieval through to the Arts and Crafts Movement - and is passionate about authenticity
What started out as a part-time interest has developed into an amazing late career.
  • Spends a lot of time researching specific artefacts and experimenting with materials and period techniques. He works with most metals, woods, leather and bone, and the majority of his commissions come from museums and private collectors.
  • He also works at restoring Victorian houses to their original state.
Work by Rod Hughes

Episodes of The Victorian Arts and Crafts House

These are:
  • are broadcast on BBC on Friday nights at 9pm in England and different times elsewhere in the UK
  • available for catch up via BBC iPlayer 
Lots and lots of photos of the presenters and very few of the artisans....

This was last week

This is what's coming up

Episode 2

This week the crafters are returning to nature as they not only restore the master bedroom to all its Arts & Crafts glory - but also take part in some fresh water swimming and an authentic Victorian picnic. Using original tools and techniques they are set to craft from scratch an Arts & Crafts double bed and bed spread, a bed side clock and plaster wall decoration and all in just a week - all the while eating, working and living within the philosophies first outlined by the likes of John Ruskin and William Morris. Will their 1890s communal life help them to better understand the depth and scale of the Arts & Crafts movement both as a power for artistic and social change?
But a week into the experience and the highs and lows of living and working together as a creative commune are beginning to take its toll and the some of the crafters are beginning to crack as creative tensions start to show.

Episode 3

This week the crafters tackle the massive dining room in their creative communal home. Leaving behind their 21st-century tools and techniques they are set to craft from scratch a set of decorative Tondino plates with a particularly tricky glaze, a complete set of curtains and a pair of ornamental fire dogs to sit in the hearth. All big crafting projects with just a week to make each one. However, the arts and crafts communal working philosophies of John Ruskin and William Morris are beginning to have an effect on their 21st-century ideals and they are pairing up to work together - some more successfully than others - as they begin to better understand the depth and scale of the arts and crafts movement both as a power for artistic and social change. But it isn't all work as the crafters also find time to stage their own very unique performance of a much-loved nursery rhyme and take part in some very Victorian exercise. 

Episode 4 

Concentrating on the communal areas of the house (the 21st-century crafters) are have to craft from scratch a heavy metal weather vane, a decorative mirror, write, publish and print their own magazine and create a decorative pergola for the front of the house. All within a week.
Working together as a group they will see if the arts and crafts philosophies of John Ruskin and William Morris have sunk in, and if living the 1890's communal has helped them to better understand the depth and scale of the arts and crafts movement both as a power for artistic and social change. But will they get it all done in time to celebrate with a ball and fireworks display at the end of their month in the house and will they have learnt anything about what it means to be a creative crafter from their time as a Victorian?


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