2.7 Afterlife: 1989 to date

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It is now over thirty years since the Guild was wound up and its workshops and Chapel demolished. It may be expected that, with only three former-members still living, it would have faded from consciousness. That, however, is far from being the case.

Members at the end

One reason for the continued interest in the Guild is that this the members at the close have often gone on to distinguish themselves outside the Guild.

  • Edgar Holloway returned to lithography, as well as pursuing a new career as a water-colourist and has been the subject of several prestigious exhibitions.
  • Kenneth Eager retired, first to France and then Malta. He was the subject of an obituary in the Daily Telegraph when he died in 2010.
  • Thomas KilBride, moved away from Ditchling well before 1989 to set up as a traditional crofter in the Western Highlands of Scotland, a role continued until recently.
  • Ewan Clayton continued his work as a Calligrapher and is now Professor in the Faculty of Arts, Design, and Media at the University of Sunderland. He has been awarded the MBE
  • Jenny KilBride discontinued her career as a weaver to become a fundraiser for the Glyndebourne Opera House. She became chair of trustees for the Ditchling Museum and was instrumental in its recent transformation, for which she was awarded the MBE. She has recently returned to weaving.
  • Winefride Pruden was made one of the first Papal Dames around 1980 for her work for the Catholic Society of Artists.

Arts + Crafts Museum

The achievements of these individuals does illustrate how the Guild attracted extraordinary people, often with great gifts, which does much to explain why it continues to be an object of fascination. Nowhere is this more apparent than at the Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft. This museum, which grew out of a museum of village life, holds an internationally important collection of work by the artists and craftspeople who were drawn to the village, including Gill, Johnston, Jones, Pepler and the weaver Ethel Mairet. The museum produces a changing and dynamic programme of traditional and contemporary exhibitions and workshops

The museum, which is located in the centre of the village just below Saint Margaret’s Church
Video of the museum made in conjunction with the South Downs National Park

Meanwhile, the works of very many of the Guild Artists and Craftsmen change hands for considerable sums of money. To date no major history of the Guild has been produced, but hopefully this will be addressed in the near future.

Guild families

It is also notable that Guild families continue to practice the crafts of the Guild. Important examples are:

  • Anton Pruden is a golsdmith and jointly owns the bespoke Jewelers in Ditchling, Pruden and Smith.
  • Gill’s great-neice, Helen Skelton, runs a Sculpture and letter carving workshop, known as Skelton Workshops, at Streat, neat Ditchling.
  • Joseph Cribb’s great Nephew, Noel Cribb continues the family trade of letter carvering, based at Cambridge.

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