It is with great sadness that we have to share the news that Chris Noble has passed away. Chris had been a printmaker since 1976 and a member of the Guild since 1983.
A Celebration of Chris Noble’s Membership of the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen by Colin Gerard.
The following is an extract from an email I received from Chris on 6th April 2021 in reply to my email of 17th March 2020, congratulating Chris on his becoming a Life Member of the Guild.
Over a year ago you sent me an email congratulating me on being appointed a Life Member, and asked for some details about my time in the Guild – then everything got cancelled!
But my computer calendar prompted me to unearth what I had written but never sent in time for this year’s online Zoom AGM.
I first showed with the Guild in 1981, when a group of us from Fosseway House Workshops in Stow-on-the-Wold was invited to display work in the Summer Show. (I sold my first print through the Guild to Ray Finch). Following Neil Ions’ recommendation, I joined late 1983 – other Fosseway House craftspeople who also joined the Guild at some point included Richard Windley, Esther Barrett, Shelley Chiswell, Mally and Arthur Findlater, Anna Lambert, and briefly Sue Rangeley.
I helped the new Treasurer Joan Carter by becoming Assistant Treasurer, because we handled so much cash each day at Painswick (no credit cards then) and it needed to be counted and banked regularly (and Joan did not drive) – I did this for at least 4 years.
Three Painswick Summer shows were designed by me -1989, 1990, & 1991 (I think). One included a tribute to the weaver Theo Morman, which meant I had to fit in 51 exhibitors. I used all but about 10 pieces of the module system. We used the whole hall plus the Green Room behind the stage. Each show was designed using a colour-coded asymmetric diagram for each stand to ensure everyone got their fair share of display kit. One element that still survives to this day is the L-shaped Cash Desk.
I recreated a new set of large signs to surround Painswick that could be updated each year, plus other 8’ x 4’ signs painted by hand in Tony Davies’ office at the Art College in Cheltenham.
I served 3 years on the committee (Tony Newman was Chair) and some years later I did another 3 years, which somehow turned into 4, during which time I was responsible for writing endless press releases and co-ordinating the photography and distribution of information to local, regional and national papers and magazines, including a 3 -page spread in Craft & Design Magazine to celebrate 75 years of the Guild – which also saw me commission a slick Logo for that year. I did several radio interviews including one early morning one for Radio Gloucestershire while I was still in bed.
Latterly I co-ordinated the showing of graduate work from Hereford College of Arts (the nearest degree craft courses) and developed the relationship to include Richard Paice’s charitable foundation award for the promising new graduate. The work of the Artist Blacksmiths was particularly spectacular and eye catching.
I think I only missed one Painswick Summer show – near the end of our time there; and participated in regular Guild shows in Cheltenham, Little Barrington, Bourton on the Hill and Waddesdon Manor, plus special exhibitions in Cornwall, Bath, Swansea, Gloucester Docks, Chepstow– Heavens just think of the mileage covered! Somehow I’ve never shown in Tetbury! A regular in our Shop/Galleries in Painswick and now Cheltenham.
Lots of hard work but plenty of fun and long term friendships.
Putting up the summer exhibition in Painswick was a major undertaking in those days, and Chris lent a quiet, intelligent and steadying influence to the proceedings.
As a member of the committee Chris took an active roll in interviewing prospective members, always insisted on a high standard of innovative and creative craftsmanship. Chris had knowledge and an interest in a wide range of craft disciplines.
Chris was always generous with his time and has maintained a link with Hereford College, helping bridge and encourage new design in craft, as it is taught today, with more established makers (us).
Despite ongoing illness Chris produced and sold new work for the Rodmarton Exhibition held in September 2021.
More recently Chris has helped the current committee in their search for a new home being willing to be part of a group looking at possible premises. His experience of running his own business and of advising students with preparing Business Plans was invaluable and the committee greatly appreciate his involvement and help.
We give thanks for Chris’s contribution to the Guild and for his friendship. He will be greatly missed.