To find true art in the simplest of things, for example a perfectly coopered bucket that has carried water for over one hundred years, is a discovery of rare beauty. To meet the maker whose grandfather carefully handcrafted this bucket early last century is an even more inspiring discovery.

To find true art in the simplest of things, for example a perfectly coopered bucket that has carried water for over one hundred years, is a discovery of rare beauty. To meet the maker whose grandfather carefully handcrafted this bucket early last century is an even more inspiring discovery.

To watch a master at work is at times mesmerising. Watching chairmaker Glen Rundell, using nothing but a drawknife and spokeshave, carve seventeen perfect chair spindles, all by sight and feel to within an eighth-of-an-inch in under an hour brings an appreciation and upmost respect for the skill and precision that goes into practising traditional trades. Our region is the home of many masters. Seeing artisans across our region - ceramicist Emma Jimson (Pastoria) mix fine porcelain, Bellmaker Anton Hasell (Mia Mia) pour molten bronze to cast bells, or Pete Trott (Kyneton) with just an axe and knife carve a spoon - is something that everyone should experience. 

We have a generation of people that have never known a world without social media and the immediacy of the internet, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube - it’s all there - or so we are led to believe. We can make the best wine and whisky in the world but cannot produce the oak barrels in which to age it. To think that the next generation may have to read about what a cooper did on the internet, rather than be able to watch a cooper make a barrel is a genuine concern. Like the passing down of Dreamtime stories in indigenous cultures, we should be passing on skills learned, practised and perfected over hundreds of years. Unfortunately, in most cases, we don’t. 

For Glen and me, it is all about fanning the flame rather than worshipping the ashes. We started the Lost Trades Fair in 2014 to highlight trades that were rapidly disappearing from the landscape or becoming seldom practised; to promote sharing information, uniting people from all backgrounds, all works of life and all ages. Some things are simply ‘necessary’ to pass on, we think this part of our history and social fabric of how our country was built is worthy of this. 

Six years on and the Kyneton Fair attracted international master artisans and an audience of more than 20,000 from across the globe. We showcase the incredible talent, spirit and authenticity of our makers and local food. In addition, we have year-round attendance at our Kyneton Lost Trades workshops.

Fortunately, we are now experiencing a resurgence of craftspeople making the deliberate choice to pursue a career in a traditional discipline; breathing new life into trades once lost - and finding out that the pursuit of a passion can bring with it a lifetime of satisfaction, reward and happiness.

For information on the Lost Trades Fair and Artisan Workshops visit: losttradesfair.com.au