Farnham Maltings and Farnham Town Council are submitting an application to join the network of creative craft cities worldwide that was recently launched by the World Crafts Council.
Farnham Maltings is a cultural organisation, that exists to encourage the people of Farnham and further afield to participate in, shape and understand the world through actively engaging in cultural activity. The aim by being creative, connecting with others and articulating new ideas is to foster a happier, healthier and more inclusive set of communities. Set in the heart of Farnham this collection of buildings hosts 16 crafts studios including printers, weavers and jewellers together with 6 resident theatre and dance companies who produce and tour work regionally, nationally and internationally.
Farnham Maltings offers a varied programme including theatre, cinema, craft, music and workshops. Facilities include: Great Hall, rehearsal studios, cinema, dance studios, pottery and kiln room, conference and meeting rooms, bar, café and craft studios. The Maltings also plays host to a huge range of community and voluntary groups including U3A, dance schools, keep fit, Pilates, writers’ group and knitters. An active Arts & Health programme which holds singing, drama and craft groups aimed at promoting general wellbeing in all ages is also organised.
According to regional data, Farnham, and the wider borough of Waverley has a higher than average percentage of craft makers and independent creative industries with many local makers working from home, in their own retail outlets, in dedicated rentable workshop spaces such as those at Farnham Maltings, 318 Ceramics and Little Acre Studios in nearby Rowledge or as Artist in Residence at the University for the Creative Arts and the New Ashgate Gallery. There are also recent new developments such as Pierrepont Farm managed by the Countryside Restoration Trust, as a new set of craft studios. The borough council is actively working with the Maltings to identify new studio spaces that might further contribute to the perception of the town as a craft friendly regional hub.
There is a particularly strong retail offer for craft makers in Farnham that includes the New Ashgate Gallery as a leading contemporary craft gallery, through the festivals held at Farnham Maltings, as well as through the Craft Town October events and activities. Working with the University’s student union over recent years a successful and innovative initiative has been a graduate pop-up shop under the Unify brand. The October celebrations draw new audiences to the town, showcasing yearlong activities that take place.
There are many craft activities throughout the year to enable those that wish to try, explore and train in crafts. Including workshops at the Adult Learning Centre, West Street Potters, 318 Ceramics, Farnham Maltings as well as a variety of one to one or small group workshops in pop-up locations or makers’ own studios as well as pop-up craft events for local communities.
The University for the Creative Arts run undergraduate and postgraduate programmes for those that wish to focus on the Crafts for their careers, including subjects in Jewellery, Ceramics, Glass, Metalwork and Textiles.
The University for the Creative Arts, the Crafts Study Centre, the Museum of Farnham and West Street Potters regularly run Craft Lectures open to the public to educate different communities in the crafts.