Agnieszka Nalazek

2020 QEST Benefact Trust Scholar - Musical Instrument Making
West Sussex

Agnieszka first developed her tool skills working with her partner to restore salvaged and cheaply bought boats for re-sale, and she has since undertaken repairs, woodworking and decorating on everything from narrowboats to speedboats to cruisers. 

The Polish-born maker is now applying these talents to making bowed instruments and is currently undertaking the FdA Historic Craft Practices – Musical Instruments course at West Dean College. Agnieszka believes there is no better place to learn to make early instruments accurately as, unlike other colleges, West Dean teaches students how to make elements in the Baroque style from scratch. 

Agnieszka has been described by her tutor, QEST Scholar Shem Mackey as “without doubt one of the most naturally gifted and hardworking students that I have taught” with “exceptional eye for line and form”. Funding from QEST will support Agnieszka in her final year at West Dean, which is entirely practice-based and will allow her to refine and consolidate her skills. She will continue to learn to play viol, which also informs her practice, and hopes to find opportunities to pass her craft skills onto others through teaching. 

I find great inspiration in the work of craftsmen from the past, especially the Baroque period which must have produced some of the most exquisite examples of musical instruments of all times. To me, attempting to reproduce instruments of this character takes the craft of lutherie to a different level, presenting a valuable challenge of creating acoustically functioning devices as well as objects of outstanding aesthetic beauty.