A new £13,000 lottery-funded project will impart craft textile skills to 11 to 16 year olds at the Museum of Farnham.

The ‘11 Plus Craft’ initiative will delve into Farnham’s rich cloth town history dating back to the 1500s, backed by a £12,812 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

It will offer 12-week courses to secondary school students, led the Farnham Crafts Quarter CIC and craft specialists Helen Locke, Sam Jones, and Toby Poolman.

Held in the Garden Gallery at the Museum of Farnham after school on Mondays, the sessions will connect young minds with the town’s heritage and nurture sustainable craft textile practices.

They will focus on dyeing with natural colours, weaving, and block printing, keeping sustainable craft textiles alive for the next generation.

Textile specialist Sam Jones from Farnborough College of Technology will teach how to get colour from plants such as woad, madder and indigo. Toby Poolman will lead sessions on loom making and block design. And Helen Locke will build pattern and design skills working onto natural fabric.

Made possible by money raise by National Lottery players, the project will connect Farnham’s heritage of being a cloth town since the 1500s, when the dye plant woad was the central crop.

Young people will be introduced to the collections of the Museum of Farnham, and the textile designs held at the Crafts Study Centre to explore natural colour in weave and print.

They will also be given access to the museum garden to help establish dye plants, with the lottery grant including funding for informational signage about the plants and their heritage.

The 11 Plus Craft project is the first step towards making use of larger looms gifted to Farnham Crafts Quarter CIC by UCA.

It is hoped to exhibit and demonstrate the skills learned by students at events in May and June to showcase their importance and to reinvigorate interest in the fascinating collection of craft held at the museum.

Farnham Crafts Quarter CIC, an organisation dedicated to teaching craft textile skills, will engage 24 students from local schools in Farnham and Farnborough. The initiative aims not only to preserve the town’s rich textile history but also to instil valuable skills in sustainable crafting. 

Commenting on the award, Helen Locke said: “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players and are confident the project will support young people to build their skills with pride in their craft heritage.”

For more information, contact Helen Locke at [email protected]