In Wales, the situation was very different than elsewhere in England. In terms of craftsmanship, Arts and Crafts had been a revivalist movement. But in Wales, from the Victorian age onwards, a real craft tradition still did exist.
There are several things that distinguish Welsh craftsmen from other craftsmen in England. First of all, the materials used were local, available only from the area. Stone, clay or metal wares were all used. The drafters knew how to work with them and where to find the best products for their work.
The second thing is craft time was a social activity, not just an idle pursuit. In fact, the craftsmen made a living from their activity, through wages or penalties for their work. Craftsmen were known as “masters” or “lords”. So they were also respected and held in high esteem. This respect went down the generations.
In turn, the chapters were highly skilled and well-paid professionals, who had their own workshops and had access to large amounts of raw material. Because they were highly paid, craftsmen had to have access to the latest technology. To this end, the skills of the craftsmen were updated constantly, so that the end product would always be new and improved.
In terms of arts and crafts, Welsh craftsmen are famous for their watercolors. The style was originally from the “Gwynedd” area of Wales. It focused on the region’s lakes, bays and river and took a distinctly coastal, rural view. But as the art style spread throughout Wales it became known as “Wales style”.
There are many stories of how craftsmen came together to make something beautiful. There is the story of the craftsman that started working with only his wife, but eventually had all his children involved in some way. There is the story of how the great artist Thomas Blyton moved from one corner of England to another in order to improve his craft. And of the great artist Sir Edwin Lutyens, who is said to have lived for his art’s and who even sold some of his work under his own name. All of these stories add to the importance of local arts and crafts to people of all ages in Wales.
Today, many of the craftsmen still live in Wales, working on such crafts as jewelry, pottery, textiles and leatherworking. Many craftsmen pass on the skills they know and pass down the art of their craft to their children, to loved ones, to students. But because of the continuing demand for their wares and the continuing popularity of their artwork, craftsmen like to keep their skills working, so that they can pass them down through generations. This is one reason why many craftsmen still operate within the boundaries of Wales, even though there are many artists that have moved on to other places, like Scotland and England.
When you look at Wales, you must wonder why there are no large national museums here. Well, perhaps the problem is that none exist. But even if there were local museums devoted to the arts and crafts of Wales, the selection process for getting into the museums is often so difficult that many talented craftsmen just do not make it through the selection process. That is why there are so many fine arts and crafts businesses in Wales, because they are so important to the economy.