Traditional craft skills on display at Stirling event

SPECIALIST practitioners in traditional trades will gather in Stirling this week when The Engine Shed hosts the annual International Preservation Trades Workshop (IPTW).

This year’s theme is ‘Crafting the Future’, which is being run in partnership with the Preservation Trades Network (PTN).

Taking place outside of America for the first time, the three-day conference will see building conservation specialists share knowledge, skills and best practice across fields such as stonemasonry, glasswork and woodwork.

As part of the event, The Engine Shed will be opening its doors on Saturday 7 September for a special discovery day, featuring craft demonstrations and hands-on activities.

Live blacksmithing will be on display from the Ratho Byres Forge blacksmiths, while carpenters from the American National Park Service will showcase woodwork skills. At Forth Valley College, stonemasons will participate in a carving competition.

The event coincides with a new exhibition at The Engine Shed, which explores the history of Scottish stone.

David Mitchell, director of conservation at Historic Environment Scotland (HES) said, “We’re delighted that The Engine Shed will be the first venue outwith the US to host such a prestigious gathering of conservation professionals. Events such as these are a great opportunity to not only share expertise and knowledge, but also to showcase the importance of traditional skills to a wider audience. Scotland has an abundance of traditional buildings that require upkeep, making the skills to protect and preserve these historic assets more important than ever.

“Our Discovery Day is the perfect opportunity to get hands-on to learn more about the rich history of a wide variety of traditional skills and materials, from stonemasonry and sign writing to thatching and blacksmithing, and perhaps even spark interest in a future conservation career.”