Stirling conservation centre to host international traditional trades event

Some of the world’s foremost practitioners in traditional trades will be gathering in Stirling from Thursday 5 September as the Engine Shed hosts the annual International Preservation Trades Workshop (IPTW).

Stirling conservation centre to host international traditional trades event

With the theme of ‘Crafting the Future’, this year’s event will be run in partnership with the Preservation Trades Network (PTN).

Taking place outside of the US for the first time, the three-day conference will bring together building conservation specialists to share knowledge, skills and best practice across a range of fields including 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, with family-friendly craft demonstrations and hands-on activities. See live blacksmithing from the Ratho Byres Forge blacksmiths, while carpenters from the American National Park Service will be showcasing their woodwork skills. Meanwhile, at Forth Valley College, stonemasons will be going chisel to chisel in a carving competition, with visitors having the opportunity to vote for their favourite creative carving for the chance to win a day out at Stirling Castle.

From Saturday, a brand new exhibition will also open at the Engine Shed, exploring the history of Scottish stone. A Nation of Stone explores the geology of Scotland, tracing how this has created the country’s diverse historic environment and focusing on the people who care for this heritage today.  On display as part of the exhibition will be a collection of medieval carved stones and stone fragments from St Andrews Cathedral, including a 5ft early medieval cross slab, which was discovered at the site in 1884.

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 signwriting to thatching and blacksmithing, and perhaps even spark interest in a future conservation career.”

For further information, including the full Crafting the Future programme, visit the HES website.

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