Johanna Welsh – pargeter

10th February 2023  |  ALUMNI | AWARD WINNERS

Johanna Welsh – pargeter

Winner of the 2022 Heritage Crafts President’s Award for Endangered Crafts

Suffolk-based pargeter Johanna Welsh has won the 2022 President’s Award for Endangered Crafts. The prestigious award, and £3,000 bursary, was initiated by Heritage Crafts’ President The Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, before his Accession as HM King Charles III.

The President’s Award trophy was presented to Johanna at a special presentation at the House of Lords on Monday 30 January 2023, after the original announcement, due to take place at Dumfries House (home of The Prince’s Foundation) was postponed during the period of national mourning following the passing of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Pargeting is the application of ornamental lime plasterwork or stucco relief work to a flat surface. It is believed to have been introduced to England in the sixteenth century by Henry VIII who imported Italian plasterers to decorate Nonsuch Palace. The craft was referred to as ‘stucco’ in Italy, but became known as ‘pargeting’ in England.

Johanna is one of around five full-time pargeters in the UK. A third-generation Suffolk practitioner incorporating nearly 60 years of craftsmanship passed down through the family, she is experienced in many aspects of decorative and ornamental plasterwork, including the freehand modelled relief work associated with the Tudor and Elizabethan periods.

Johanna plans to use the prize to set up a workshop teaching space, equip it with tools, buy materials, and advertise short courses in the history, practice and materials of this craft, delivering a hands-on experience with specialist tools of the trade. As well as teaching new entrants to the craft she will also provide technical advice to industry-related businesses, providing an all-round introduction to the basic theory and practices.

Photo: Johanna Welsh being presented with her award by Heritage Crafts Co-Chair David Clarke.