2018 Rural Craft Winner, Richard Wilson

Our Rural Craft competition has been introduced to recognise craftsmen and women living within a twenty mile radius of Melplash Church and who derive their livelihood or a greater part of it from their craft.  The competition has been created by Mrs Elizabeth Gale, former Chairman and Secretary to the Melplash Agricultural Society, in memory of her late husband, Guy Gale.

“Last year we had a wonderful cross section of crafts entered including hedgers, thatchers, potters and wheelwrights.  It would be fantastic to get a similar number and range this year.”  said Mrs Elizabeth Gale

Guy Gale was a Master Thatcher in Dorset for over fifty years, Chairman of the Dorset Master Thatchers’ Association and an executive on the UK committee.  He took a great pride in his work and could run his hand to other skills such as hurdle making, woodcraft, stone walling, bee-skep making and hedging.  He enjoyed sheep shearing by hand which he practised on some of his own flock of Polled Dorsets and Ile de France sheep when farming at Salway Ash over forty two years.  Hand sheep clippers are used both in shearing and thatching.  Guy Gale served on the Melplash Agricultural Society executive committee and was at one time chairman of the sheep section.  He was always on the field during show week in all weathers assisting in getting everything ready for show day.  He died in January 2009.

The winner of the Rural Craft Award will be presented with the Guy Gale Perpetual Memorial Trophy and £100 prize money.  The trophy has been made by Simon Grant-Jones, blacksmith, specialist toolmaker and lecturer at the Dorset College of Agriculture.  A prize of £50 & certificate will be awarded to the second place winner.

If you would like to enter our 2019 Rural Craft competition please complete an entry form by clicking here.

2018 Results

This  year’s judges were the 2017 Rural Craft Winner Mr David Burleigh and Mr Cleeves Palmer.  The Steward was Mr Stuart Gay.

The Winner receives The Guy Gale Perpetual Memorial Trophy, a complimentary trade stand at the Melplash Show and £100.  The runner up receives £50.

1st:  Richard Wilson, Ceramics, West Bay

2nd:  Russell Randall, Joiner and Wheelwright from Litton Cheney

3rd:  Peter Thomas, Living Wood, wood turner and stick dresser from Rampisham

Originally from Norwich, Richard Wilson moved to West Dorset in 1990 setting up first in Abbotsbury before moving to West Bay some 6 years ago.  He has been a potter since the 1970s working with different potters and craftsmen to learn and hone his skills.  It was during his time in Germany and Eastern Europe in the 80s that he learnt the techniques of ceramic decoration, and started to create his own contemporary art decoration.  “Decorating pottery is one of the most rewarding aspects of working in clay… it is the time you can add colour, be creative and really bring life and a personality to a bare clay surface – the decoration on my pots often echo the shape of the piece.”  said Richard.

Richard uses terracotta clay from Stoke-on-Trent with which he makes a range of domestic ware and sculptural pieces. Recently his work has explored colour and abstract patterns in strong forms that capture the ebb and flow of the sea and landscape of West Dorset.

His shop at The Old Timber Yard in West Bay is open every day, except Sunday and Monday, all the year round.

Richard commented ‘The Rural Craft competition is wonderful recognition of the hard work and dedication that local craftsmen put into what they do.  We are not doing it as a hobby, it is our livelihood and being recognised for our work is very rewarding.   I feel very privileged to have been awarded first prize in this annual competition and look forward to attending Melplash Show this year and displaying my work’.

Richard will have a stand in the Jack Norman Field.   He will be receiving the Guy Gale Perpetual Trophy in the main ring at 3.30 pm