A-level students from The Bishop's Stortford High School visit Grandey's Place Heritage and Craft Centre in Green Tye
Year 12 students from The Bishop's Stortford High School (TBSHS) visited Grandey's Place Heritage and Craft Centre in Green Tye to hear from the talented community of artists and makers who work there, writes Helen Miller.
Eight A-level art students and two design and technology students toured the studios and workshops on Wednesday March 1 and met practitioners of a wide range of arts and crafts including stained glass making, pottery and mosaics, lettercarving, figurative sculpture, musical instrument restoration, upholstery, corsetry, leatherwork and horology.
Afterwards the students gave the experience a unanimous thumbs up. Art student, Amelia Skinner, 17, said the visit was "eye-opening" and 16-year-old DT student Neo Egbokhan said he was particularly struck by artist Grace Brennan's painted leather jackets, praising her skill "and the way she was able to capture lifelike figures" on a tricky material.
The tour was organised by TBSHS art teacher Megan Mansfield, who said it was important for students to see the different ways in which art can be applied.
"Seeing art happening beyond the classroom is exciting and helps our students to realise how and why art is essential in helping the world go round," she said.
"Our young people are growing up in a world where everything is fast-paced and instantaneous. Art requires time, patience, dedication, resilience and the ability to refine.
"And having such a diverse and wide-range of artists all in one place just a stone's throw from school allows our students to see success locally."
Grandey's Place is a philanthropic venture founded by retired chocolate manufacturer Clive Beecham in 2019 to help sustain the UK's heritage crafts by providing affordable studios and workshops for rent.
Since its inception, Grandey's Place has worked closely with the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, a charity which supports the training and education of talented craftspeople. With many heritage crafts in danger of dying out, getting young people interested in these skills is key to their survival.
"Witnessing what these craftspeople do and how they do it is, quite honestly, awe inspiring," said Clive.
"I can't think of a more positive way of getting youngsters fired up than actually seeing and listening to the Grandey's Place tenants as they go about their work."
Grandey's Place welcomes visits by other secondary school groups. Teachers are invited to enquire via the contact form at www.grandeysplace.co.uk.
Tours of Grandey's Place are available to the general public on the first Wednesday of the month.
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