Arts, Crafts & Quilting Tours
An arts and crafts tour with Janet Redler Travel can be tailor made to match the interests of you or your group, whether that is quilting and patchwork, tapestry making and embroidery, pottery and sculpture, woodwork and furniture making, or any one of a number of traditional arts and crafts.
Wool spinning at Beck Isle Museum in North Yorkshire © VisitEngland/NYMNPA/Chris J Parker
The UK and Ireland have a long history of decorative arts and crafts, practiced in homes for centuries, perhaps originally out of necessity but, in more recent times, often as leisure activities. Popular arts and crafts involve textiles, wood, metal, glass, paper or flowers and, on one of our tailor-made tours, you will be able to investigate the story of your favourite hobby and see modern day craftspeople in action.
Paradise Mill in Cheshire
For those interested in the history of textiles, a visit to the Silk Museum and Paradise Mill in Cheshire is a must. Macclesfield was once the world's biggest producer of finished silk and the mill boasts Europe's largest collection of Jacquard silk handlooms in their original setting.
A quilting and patchwork tour, for example, would enable you or your group to explore the fascinating history of these traditional textile techniques, which date back to medieval times and beyond. There are a number of quilt and patchwork collections around the country, as well as regular events and exhibitions, which make a tour of the UK a must for anyone interested in these age-old crafts.
The Mortlake Tapestries at Forde Abbey in south west England
The Mortlake Tapestries at Forde Abbey in Somerset are well worth a visit. Woven from cartoons painted by Raphael that are now on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum, the tapestry depicts scenes from the lives of St Peter and St Paul. The original tapestries were commissioned for the Sistine Chapel in Rome, and were first woven in Brussels in about 1520. The set on display at Forde Abbey was made in London at the Mortlake factory about one hundred years later.
Commissioned in 1997, The Last Invasion Tapestry (pictured above) is an incredible display of advanced needlework. The embroidered tapestry commemorates the 200th anniversary of the last ever invasion of mainland Britain. Designed and sewn by around 80 local women, the tapestry is housed in Fishguard Library in south west Wales.
The Great Tapestry of Scotland
The Great Tapestry of Scotland should not be missed! One of the world’s largest community arts projects, the tapestry tells the visual story of Scotland’s history, heritage and culture from its formation to the present day. A purpose-built gallery and visitor centre has recently opened in the Scottish Borders to provide this incredible artwork with a permanent new home.
The Overlord Embroidery
The Overlord Embroidery at the D-Day Story, Portsmouth in England, is an extraordinary piece of visual art, which tells the story of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy in the Second World War through 34 hand-stitched panels stretching to a total length of over 270 feet. It is based on a series of paintings by Sandra Lawrence, which now hang in the Pentagon in Washington DC in the United States.
Arts and Crafts Movement
The 19th Century ‘Arts and Crafts’ movement, led by William Morris and John Ruskin, saw a revival of interest in traditional ways of working and creating. It championed the craftsmanship of the past, in reaction to the rapid industrialisation of society which was then taking place. The impact of the Arts and Crafts Movement in the UK and Ireland was very strong, lasting well into the 20th Century, and indeed influencing artists and craftspeople to this day.
Blackwell Arts and Crafts House in Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria © VisitEngland/Cumbria Tourism
Enjoy an Arts and Crafts tour with Janet Redler Travel & Tourism, taking in many of the sights most associated with the movement, such as William Morris’s inspirational homes, Kelmscott Manor in the Cotswolds and the Red House in South East London; Brantwood, John Ruskin’s home in the Lake District, and Standen, an Arts and Crafts house set amidst the romantic Sussex hills, which is crammed full of Arts and Crafts items. Perhaps take in famous Arts and Crafts gardens such as Hidcote in Gloucestershire, or enjoy Plas Brondanw Gardens in North Wales designed by famous Arts and Crafts architect, Clough Williams-Ellis.
Plas Brondanw Arts and Crafts Garden in North Wales
If you or your group would like to enjoy a tailor-made tour exploring the arts and crafts of the UK and Ireland, please do contact our friendly team.