The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, based in Bovey Tracey has a new name.

From now it will be know as MAKE Southwest. The charity believes the name is more gender inclusive and so more appropriate, and reflects its reach stretches beyond the county of Devon.

The renaming will be marked by a major exhibition, an expanding, dynamic public education programme; rebranding of its visual identity; and plans to improve the building. A spokesman said this will drive forward the creation of a crafts culture for all.

The Southwest part of the new name recognises a regional interest in the crafts, with the charity’s influence reaching to Cornwall, Dorset, north towards Somerset and as far as Bristol and Bath.

The charity was established in 1986 by a ‘guild’ of distinguished craft makers who had collaborated in exhibiting and selling their work since 1955.

As well as being a symbolic change, the new name marks a generation of the former guild. There are now plans afoot to develop the historic Grade II Listed Mill building, which dates from 1854, to provide better access for visitors, more teaching space, and restoration of the heritage waterwheel.

MAKE Southwest chairman, Louis Victory, said: ‘Although the early months of the pandemic were difficult, we are now operating successfully, having taken the opportunity to modernise and plan for an ambitious and exciting future as a leading player in the crafts renaissance which has taken hold in Britain recently.

‘We are working to improve our much-loved Mill building for those who want to visit and buy from our craft galleries or see outstanding exhibitions of ceramics, textiles, jewellery, printmaking, photography, sculpture, furniture, and much more.

‘We also have plans to make the building a creative place in its own right, with craft makers working and teaching on site and through outreach to schools and communities.’

The charity’s president, Peter Randall-Page RA added: ‘We are entering a new era at MAKE Southwest, which will further raise the profile of the Charity’s professional makers and at the same time create a new generation of people who appreciate the art of craft and want to enhance their life by turning their hands to making it.’

The Contemporary Crafts for Christmas begins this Saturday and runs until January 9, where some 50 exhibitors from across the UK will be showcasing their work.

And on December 4 another exhibition begins: Materials Matter.

Running through the winter until next March there’s a chance to meet the makers on the opening day between 1pm and 3pm.