2.7 Afterlife: 1989 to date

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 two former-members still living, it would have faded from consciousness. That, however, is far from being the case.

One reason for this is that this the six members at the close have gone on to distinguish themselves outside the Guild.

  • Edgar Holloway returned to lithography and was 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, who had moved away from Ditchling well before 1989 to set up as a crofter in the Western Highlands of Scotland, a role he still continues
  • 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.

The achievements of these individuals does illustrate how the Guild attracted extraordinary people, often with great gifts, which do 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

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.

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