Master and Mistress Cutler visit Freeman College and have hands cast in pewter

Handcasting at Freeman College shown to Master and Mistress Cutler, Ken and Janet Cooke
Handcasting at Freeman College shown to Master and Mistress Cutler, Ken and Janet Cooke
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Master and Mistress Cutler of Sheffield, Ken and Janet Cooke, kept up a 13 year tradition when students at Freeman College cast their hands in pewter.

This visit helped the current crop of students practice social engagement, build confidence and self-esteem while developing work place skills. It also gave them the opportunity to thank the Cutlers’ Company for its continuing support.

Sheffield’s Freeman College is part of Ruskin Mill Trust and provides education for young people with a variety of complex diagnoses including autistic spectrum disorders, mental health conditions, ADHD and challenging behaviours. Most students have been marginalised by disadvantage, social exclusion and special learning needs.

The Practical Skills Therapeutic Education (PSTE) curriculum combines traditional craft skills and therapies through training in the areas of arts, crafts and agriculture. Reflecting the history of the city, metal crafts are at the centre of Freeman College’s curriculum.

The process is carried out under the watchful eye of tutor Danny Rowen. The Master and Mistress Cutler each place their hands in a sand casting mould. Casting sand captures all the details of an individual palm. The mould is filled with molten pewter which, after a remarkably quick cooling time, produces a hand cast which is then presented to the Master and Mistress Cutler.

“It was a great experience visiting Freeman College, meeting staff and students and having our hands cast in pewter,” said the Master Cutler, Ken Cooke. “Tutors Carole Baugh and Danny Rowen explained the many aspects of the work they are doing in these converted “little Mester units” and you can see the help and confidence all the staff are giving to their long-term students. The work they are doing is invaluable and not only involves the crafts we saw but also the arts and agriculture. We will treasure our “cast hands” and wish success to all who are involved in the college.”