Maker in Residence

Maker in Residence 2024

The Society of Antiquaries of London, in partnership with Heritage Crafts, is thrilled to introduce Illuminator Sarah Davis as the Maker in Residence for 2024 at Kelmscott Manor. This historic residence, once the cherished home of acclaimed writer, designer-craftsman, conservationist, and revolutionary socialist William Morris, will be the backdrop for Sarah’s residency from April-October 2024.

This year (2024) sees the second of three residencies at Kelmscott Manor by members of Heritage Crafts, with a particular focus on an ‘endangered’ craft featured in the 2023 edition of the Red List of Endangered Crafts. During her residency Sarah will be focusing on the endangered craft of Illumination.

The project presents an opportunity to showcase endangered crafts in an iconic rural setting visited annually by over 27,000 people.

‘After a successful first year of our Maker in Residence programme I’m delighted to see our partnership with Heritage Crafts continue. I’m excited that we are championing an endangered craft this year and bringing awareness of these to a wider audience. Sarah’s expertise as an illuminator will no doubt inspire those interested in the craft and those who have never seen the beauty of an illuminated text. I can’t wait to see Sarah’s response to Kelmscott and the work she develops during her time with us.’

~ Memoria Lewis, General Secretary Society of Antiquaries

Sarah’s appointment as the 2024 Maker in Residence at Kelmscott brings with it the unique opportunity to reflect Morris’s advocacy of heritage and the handmade and contribute to his legacy by playing a distinctive part in the Manor’s programme of public engagement. Visitors will be able to discover the endangered art of illumination through hands-on workshops and demonstrations led by Sarah throughout her residency. Sarah will also share her historic craft with education groups as part of our Learning & Outreach programme.

‘As this year’s Maker in Residence at Kelmscott Manor, I am thrilled to highlight the endangered craft of illumination. Guided by the manor and its beautiful surroundings, I see this as an opportunity to grow as an illuminator and to deepen my knowledge of this stunning endangered craft. Inspired by the enduring legacy of William Morris, his commitment to craft skills and fellowship, I look forward to sharing what I learn with visitors to the manor and the wider community online.’

~ Sarah Davis, 2024 Maker in Residence

‘Morris believed in the enduring relevance of crafts that had been passed down through the generations, as well as the necessity of their continual evolution in order to secure their place within an ever-changing society. We are delighted to be working with the Society of Antiquaries for a second year, focusing on crafts the continuation of which modern society has put obstacles in the way, but that we believe can have a viable future. Sarah’s craft is a wonderful example of this, and she is perfectly placed to continue Morris’s legacy of maintaining the contemporary relevance of mediaeval craftsmanship.’

~ Daniel Carpenter, Heritage Crafts Executive Director

Sarah’s appointment as the Maker in Residence is made possible as part of our NHLF- funded £6 million Kelmscott and Morris: Past, Present and Future project.

Maker Bio

Sarah Davis is a multi-media artist exploring themes relating to the cyclical nature of recovery and renewal. The natural world serves as a deep pool of inspiration with the allegory, myth and folklore of animalistic subjects driving her narrative approach. Davis uses traditional making techniques with a deep historical resonance, such as wood carving, gilding and illumination. Since 2020 Sarah has been practicing the art of illumination which is listed on The HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts.
In 2012 Davis graduated from Chelsea college of art with a BA in Fine art. She returned to education in 2015 to study woodcarving and gilding at the City & Guilds of London Art School, where she now teaches on the Woodcarving BA & Conservation BA.

You can find out more about Sarah and her work by visiting her website here.