It is with great sadness that I share with our members, friends and customers Charmian Adams died recently.
I first met Charmian in the 1980's at Chelsea Crafts Fair and over the years our friendship developed, particularly after her move to Bath. She became a huge advocate of the Guild, agreeing to become our President and really helped us. She enjoyed buying and commissioning work from many of us and was responsible for putting us in touch with Jo when we were needing a shop manager back in 2013, when we opened The Guild at 51. I know of no one else who loved crafts so much and took such pleasure in supporting new makers by buying their work early in their working lives. Neil and I last met up with her on a visit to Woodbridge in 2018 and we kept in touch by telephone since then. We will miss her.
Here are a few of the many tributes:
Mary Greensted: I first met Charmian when I took over as Chairman of the Gloucestershire Guild in the summer of 2009. She had not long been the Guild's President and she invited me to meet her over lunch in her amazing flat in Bath. I was somewhat intimidated - it was a bit like doing my Museums diploma all over again and being presented with a whole range of crafts and being asked what I thought of them. Charmian was very kind really but I think her partner Roger enjoyed teasing me. Anyway we did hit it off and it was really useful being able to phone her for advice or support whenever. I told her that I thought some social meetings would help create a renewed sense of community and immediately she offered to organise visits to Bath for Guild members. These were lovely occasions for everyone who went.
As Val has mentioned, it was Charmian who introduced the Guild to Jo Swait and we can never thank her enough for that. She was really supportive over the setting up of the Guild at 51 and helped us get the superb quality Vitsoe drawers at a reduced price. It was great to have one piece of kit that actually worked as it was meant to. When the shop was sadly dismantled I told the team to make sure they took the drawer units with them.
Charmian came to Guild exhibitions and events as often as possible and she often stayed the night with us in Cheltenham. We used to have very long and leisurely breakfasts, throwing ideas around about the Guild and the Crafts in general.
In more recent years we kept up mainly by phone. She was thrilled when the Holburne museum in Bath put on an exhibition of her collection. We visited twice and both times several people engaged her in conversation, amazed at the size and richness of her collection. She loved talking to people about the importance and relevance of craftwork and what specific pieces meant to her. On our last visit one of the front of house staff stopped her and said what a remarkable and inspiring exhibition it was - both for her and for many of the visitors.
We managed to see her in Woodbridge once and took her and her carer out to lunch. I felt that life had become a bit of a struggle but she came to life when she showed us her garden and all the wonderful plants and flowers. As well as everything else she was a terrific gardener and it remained a real pleasure.
I feel very sad today but it has been a real privilege to have got to know her - another thing to thank the Guild for.
Annie Hewett: I spoke to her in September and we chatted about our gardens. I will miss her. She was so supportive of all of us in the Guild and always wanted to hear news of what was going on. Supporters of new craft makers need people like Charmian. It will be a great loss.
Richard and Monique Paice: The day we met Charmian for Monique and I was one of our luckiest. It was the beginning of an eye opening experience, sharing her passion for craft. Her eternal optimism was remarkable. After Roger passed on, we spent many occasions together, continuing to lunch in her amazing Bath flats, meeting her friends, and in London visiting exhibitions together, Collect and others.
The show of her own craft collection at the Holburne was remarkable, and a de Montfort student, Chloe Rogers, had come from Worthing to see it and perchance to meet Charmian.. They became firm friends.
The Guild was truly blessed to have her as president, and undoubtedly helped to transform it to what it is today. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her. She lit up our lives
Bella Peralta: I'm so saddened by your news, dear Charmian, she was such a support as you have said and will be missed by us all, I was missing her already, as she was always present at our events in the past, I know she had been unwell, bless her and may she fly free now to dance among the angels.
Uschi Arens Price: I am sad to hear of Charmian's death. I found her deeply interested in the Guild's makers and well being, generous, supportive and charming.
Janine Roper: Charmian was always really supportive and encouraging to me. I remember visiting her house in Bath and seeing her fabulous collection of crafts and hearing her talk about it so enthusiastically.