Edinburgh based luthier Jonathan Hill won the inaugural Heritage Crafts Woodworker of the Year Award. Jonathan collected his £2,000 prize and trophy at a special presentation at the House of Lords last month.

Heritage Crafts

Heritage Crafts was set up 13 years ago as a national charity to support and safeguard heritage crafts skills and has become well known for its Red List of Endangered Crafts. It's the first research of its kind to rank traditional crafts in the UK by the likelihood they would survive the next generation.

Woodworker of the Year

The new award sponsored by Axminster Tools celebrates a heritage craftsperson who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of woodworking. It recognises a contribution that is far beyond the ordinary, based on a proven dedication to a particular woodworking skill.

Jonathan is a maker of historic and modern stringed instruments. Following training at West Dean College, he worked for a master violin maker in Yorkshire. He later studied instrument making in Turkey with a master traditional oud maker. Many of Jonathan’s clients are from leading orchestras and ensembles worldwide. Notably, The Kreutzer Quartet, BBC Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Rietveld Ensemble and Musica Alchemica. He is the only maker in the UK specialising in Violas d’amore. Moreover, he has now made more consecutive instruments than any other maker, living and historically.


Safeguarding craft skills

woodworker-of the-year-trophy-2022
Woodworker of the Year trophy - hand carved by Sarah Goss

Managing Director of Axminster Tools, Alan Styles, was a judge for the award. He said "Heritage Crafts' dedication to safeguarding craft skills and knowledge fits perfectly with our own commitment to helping to uphold a successful future for the woodworking industry; so that our much loved traditional woodworking crafts can be enjoyed for many generations to come. 

We believe the benefits of celebrating talented and passionate craftspeople are far-reaching and we're proud to be in the fortunate position to sponsor the Woodworker of the Year Award. Many congratulations to Jonathan and all of the incredible craftspeople making such valuable contributions to woodworking."

Alan was joined by fellow judges Sarah Goss and Robin Wood MBE. A traditional woodcarver, Sarah featured as one of the experts in the recent Prince’s Master Crafters: The Next Generation programme on Sky Arts. Robin is an internationally respected green woodworker who re-established the craft of pole-lathe bowl turning in the 1990s.

Runners up

The two other finalists for the 2022 Woodworker of the Year Award were Robin Johnson and David Robinson. Robin produces tailor-made joinery, furniture and metalwork from his workshop in Hastings. David Robinson is a self-taught woodcarver with 30 years’ experience and the Master Carvers’ Association’s most recent inductee.