The Lettering and Commemorative Arts Trust is now based at Snape Maltings, near Aldeburgh in Suffolk, and it is wonderful to have a showcase for all the excellent work that this charity does. It was set up as a result of the founder, Harriet Frazer MBE, not being able to find a suitable memorial for the untimely early death of her stepdaughter. Many people want a stone cut so that it is personal to a special memory, and working with a craftsperson in creating something unique and beautiful often helps in the bereavement process.
Memorials don’t have to be rigid and conventional rectangular stones. This one by Gary Breeze celebrates the life of a gardener, and so is attached to a living tree.
They also, as on the right, don’t have to be in a churchyard. Some memorials are in gardens, and may even be portable, so they can be moved from house to house with the owners if necessary.
But the Lettering and Commemorative Arts Charity is so much more than simply acting as agents to put lettering artists and patrons in touch with one another. To enable people to see what is possible, there are now six sites for the Art and Memory Collection, from Canterbury in the south to Pitlochery in Scotland, where you can see the variety and inventiveness of those who work in this medium. This wonderful Stone Ring is by Dave Crowe in Arnos Vale.
Letter cutting is a heritage craft, and like similar crafts, if efforts are not made, the skills and techniques to prepare stone and wood, design and cut letters will be lost. So the Lettering and Commemorative Arts Trust not only runs short courses at its base at Snape, with the very best tutors, but also seeks to arrange full time apprenticeships so the learners can immerse themselves in the workshop experience. Of course, funding is not easy for these and the Lettering and Commemorative Arts Trust is working with the Heritage Crafts Association to ensure that this craft, developed in ancient times, can continue into the future.
I feel very proud to be a Patron of this most worthwhile charity.