Farnham’s transformation into England’s first World Craft Town did not happen overnight. Although people have been making in the area since prehistoric times, it was not until the 21st century that conversations began to simmer about acknowledging the special role of craft in Farnham.
Farnham and the surrounding countryside is home to an astonishing number of craft makers - from the just getting started to the internationally renowned - as well as craft organisations, creative micro-businesses and independent creative industries. Makers work from home, from retail outlets, in dedicated workshop spaces and from bespoke craft studios in the town. As a World Craft Town, Farnham will work to support its makers to become more resilient and enterprising and seek to create more affordable studio spaces and incubator units. This will help ensure that supply meets demand and the town retains its craft graduates and apprentices.
Take a stroll through the alleyways and streets of Farnham, and signs of the town’s makers are everywhere - in the buildings, in the green spaces, in the street names, in the contemporary work in our high street galleries and shop windows, and in the generations of craft apprentices and students who have been and continue to be educated in the town. Craft has made and continues to make Farnham a unique place treasured by residents and visitors.
Farnham’s reputation for craft has made it an attractive and distinctive tourist destination with an appealing blend of craft heritage; high quality contemporary craft for sale; regular craft festivals and pop up events; a month of celebration and activity each October; and a creative buzz. The town has also proved a magnet for a diverse mix of makers from around the world which helps enrich the day to day and make Farnham a great place to live. The opportunities to see, buy and make your own work all create a special sense of place – as well as helping to drive the local economy.
Craft brings the community together. Farnham is full of makers of all ages and abilities and seeks to provide everyone with the opportunity to develop and express their creativity through making. Not only does this create greater community cohesion but it benefits our mental health and well-being.
Farnham is delighted to have been granted World Craft Town status which also gives the town access to an international network of Craft Cities. This award acknowledges that the roots of craft run deep in Farnham - from the clay beneath our feet to our centuries’ old tradition of passing on craft skills – but also recognises that craft remains relevant to contemporary life in Farnham and has the potential to shape the future life of the town.