• The Goldsmith’s Fair 2019 to Feature four QEST Scholars


    The Goldsmith’s Fair is internationally recognised as the premier UK showcase for contemporary jewellery and silver. The 37th edition will take place this month, opening on 24 September, and four QEST Scholars will be exhibiting their works.  Hazel Thorn, Kayo Saito, Zoe Watts will be there during Week 1 (24-29 September) and Manasi DePala during Week 2 (1-6 October).

    Jewellery designer Kayo Saito will be returning to the fair for the 11th time, with a collection inspired by nature and plants. Organic forms, with their apparent fragility, structure and vital energy always inspire her creativity.  Kayo studied metal work at Japanese Art College and finished a Masters at The Royal College of Art in 2001. She has won several jewellery prizes and was shortlisted for the UK’s Art Foundation Awards in 2010. Her work has been presented in many European high-end galleries and art fairs and pieces are also found in collections such as The Goldsmiths’ Company.

    Hazel Thorn is heavily influenced by a love of expressive painting in her silverwork, inspiring the dynamic patterns and colours she now creates using metal.   She has recently come full circle and is now making sculptural pieces to hang on the wall, like a painting.  Last year Hazel studied on the Student Internship Graduate Award (SIGA)   programme at the Goldsmiths’ Centre, and the new skills she learnt during this intensive time continue to spark new directions in her work. 

    Zoe Watts will be showing a collection of silverware and jewellery, including Earth, Air, Fire, Water which she began making when she was training with QEST alumni Rod Kelly in Shetland as part of her QEST Scholarship.  Earlier this year it won the Silver Award in the Goldsmiths’ Company Design & Craft Awards.

    Originally focusing on jewellery, silversmith and jeweller Manasi DePala has more recently moved into making larger pieces of silverware.  Having had an Indian upbringing in Britain, her work is influenced by her mixed cultural background and she has a wide interest in both eastern and western styles of decoration.  She is inspired by strong architectural forms and enjoys constructing pieces which involve geometry.

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  • James Harrison Releases New Screenprint to Raise Funds for Endangered Albatross


    QEST Scholar James Harrison and his brother Ed have shared an interest in the natural world from a young age.  Fascinated with wildlife, they would keep beetles in matchboxes, collect fossils and breed exotic stick insects in their attic.  The brothers have spent the last two decades exploring wild places and becoming aware of the impact humans are having on our planet.  In 2015 they delved into a discussion on conservation issues and how their generation is living through the sixth mass extinction.  Inspired to do something proactive they brought together their skill sets of designing, illustrating and screen printing to create a project that focuses on awareness and action for endangered species and Under The Skin was born.  Together they create prints to raise awareness and money for endangered animals.  Their limited edition screen prints are a hand-crafted celebration of species from across the globe with a powerful underlying message.  Under UV light the phosphorescent skeleton is exposed; all that remains when a species falls into the darkness of extinction.

    The latest addition to their print collection is The Wandering Albatross.  All 22 subspecies of Albatross are currently under threat from industrial fishing, ocean plastics, invasive species and changing global temperatures.  20% of proceeds from sales of The Albatross Courtship screenprint will go to the Albatross Task Force, an essential collaboration set up between the RSPB and Birdlife International to protect these iconic birds.  The unique 16 layer print has been handcrafted in a limited edition of 30, available from the brothers’ website

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  • Belgrave Gallery, St Ives to Show Part Earth; Part Flower by Ceramicist Rebecca Harvey


    Part Earth; Part Flower comprises of a series of new and specially created works in porcelain by QEST Scholar and ceramicist Rebecca Harvey, in a site-specific installation of vessels at Belgrave St Ives. The exhibition opens on 16 September as part of the St Ives September Festival 2019.  

    Harvey has collaborated with St Ives based gardener Polly Carter, to incur a deeper connection between her vessels and their intended use of displaying flowers.  The collaboration extends to a creative and experimental approach to the display of the work, the relationship between the vessels and flowers and how the gallery space is experienced by visitors.

    The installation attempts to explore this inter-connectedness between earth and flower in the vein of Zen philosophy. Also drawn from this tradition is a wabi-sabi approach and aesthetic in the work. Harvey’s porcelain is beautiful and tactile with strong forms but also displays the maker’s marks, and what could be perceived as ‘imperfections’ though a manipulation of the porcelain whilst wet, leaving rough edges with indentations.  This wabi-sabi aesthetic prizes imperfection as holding the authentic and spiritual acknowledgement that nothing lasts, nothing is perfect and nothing is finished.

    Harvey’s collection of vessels in this exhibition resist defined terms; they are not particularly vases and bowls, although they may well look like them. They are all objects in their own right, which also have the potential to hold flowers. The flowers will be displayed by Harvey and Carter through an ikebana inspired approach.  That is of mindfully and instinctively placing just a few stems, to illustrate the plants natural growth and connection to the vessel through line. The edges of Harvey’s porcelain vessels, as well as rough, are kinked by hand, creating offerings for the stems to fall naturally in place without too much effort or thought and forming a continuous line between the two.

    As wabi-sabi is considered a philosophy that can only be truly understood through the senses, so Harvey’s work invites the recipient to engage in a tactile and physical way with the work. Little vessels are arranged on dishes and are interchangeable between themselves and across works, inviting the user to play; invoking the curiosity, simplicity and joy that is the spirit of the works making.

    Belgrave Gallery St Ives: 16 September – 7 October 2019

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  • John Smedley Celebrates 235th Anniversary with Ten QEST Scholars


    Established in 1784, John Smedley is the oldest, still-manufacturing knitwear factory in the world.  To celebrate 235 years of the company they launched an exciting partnership with QEST earlier this year – ten QEST alumni were selected as craft ambassadors for the company, and their individual stories have been playing out at John Smedley stores around the globe throughout the year.

    Participating scholars include ceramic artist Alice Walton, luthier Tom Sands, watchmaker Craig Struthers, furniture maker Daniel Harrison, bell caster David Snoo Wilson, leatherworker Candice Lau and jeweller Kayo Saito.

    In October, John Smedley will launch the 235 Collection which will be modelled by the QEST alumni and photographed on location across the British Isles.  John Smedley will also tell the story of its own makers involved in the production of this special collection: farmers, fibre spinners, and the 50 skilled craftspeople who knit and finish the garments.

    In a further gesture to support British craftsmanship, John Smedley will work with the QEST alumni to create a customised garment that blends the world’s finest knitwear with inspiration from their individual crafts. 

    In the latest update from this project, a video featuring basket weaver Annemarie O’Sullivan, beekeeper James Hamill and stone carver Zoe Wilson is being played in Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge, London, 1-7 October.

    We are very grateful for the support of John Smedley.

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  • Silversmith Rod Kelly’s Jeans Admitted to the Levi Strauss & Co. Archives


    A pair of blue denim jeans owned by QEST Scholar and Silversmith Rod Kelly are the latest addition to the Levi Strauss & Co. Archives.  Read this article, originally published on, to find out more…


    In the late 1800s, Levi Strauss & Co.’s blue denim copper-riveted overalls served as the unofficial uniform of working men, from cowboys to railroad engineers to miners.

    Almost 150 years later, there are those, like silver tradesman Rod Kelly, who still prefer the fit of a 501® jean while toiling away on the job.

    Rod, a leading British silversmith, received his first pair of faded and worn 501® jeans back in 1976 as a gift in the mail after a holiday when he was a teenager. “I distinctly remember the day the parcel came,” says Rod. “They were the most beautiful [thing]. . . they were just about washed out.” Rod was hooked. “I just loved them,” he said.

    When set up his silver workshop years later, Rod chose his favorite jeans as his daily uniform. He bought unwashed 501® jeans in bulk – “10 pairs at a time” – every five to six years. “They go down on my workshop expenses as workshop clothes,” he said. Rod loves how his Levi’s® jeans change over time. “In the workshop, those work trousers, because you shrink them, they become thicker and tighter and stronger.”

    The wear marks on Rod’s Levi’s® jeans reflect the physical effects of the silver work he does. Sometimes tears develop on his 501®s where the silver rubs against his jeans when he is making large works, like dishes. The circle of silver rests on his knee and after months, the edge of the silver starts to cut through the denim. He explains, “I have several pairs that are totally worn out and are all torn in the same place where the edge of the silver eventually cuts the denim as I am caulking the edge of my silver dishes.”

    As a result, Rod is now looking to replenish his current stock. Fortunately for him, our Levi’s® Vintage Clothing—a line of authentic reproductions—offers 501® jeans in classic fits that includes the same 1976 version he bought 43 years ago. Classic shrink-to-fit 501® jeans are also available at stores and online.

    Rod’s silver works reminds us of the roots of Levi’s® jeans as a working man’s outfit of choice. One of Rod’s worn pairs of 501® jeans is the newest addition to the Levi Strauss & Co. Archives and another example of the legend of Levi’s® as durable clothing made to last.

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  • QEST Scholar & Trustee Peter Ting to Feature in V&A Exhibition


    It is traditionally believed that the first porcelain to arrive in Europe was brought from Dehua, China by Marco Polo in 1295 and known as Blanc de Chine, literally meaning white from China. A new display opening at the Victoria & Albert museum this week retells the story of porcelain-making in Dehua, showing historic pieces from the museum’s ceramics collection alongside a selection of new works by contemporary makers including QEST Scholar & Trustee Peter Ting. 

    In 2016 Peter co-founded Ting-Ying gallery which is dedicated to presenting unique and limited edition works in Blanc de Chine porcelain from Dehua. They work with a wide group of artists whose expression of form is increasingly diverse, yet still retains as a starting point the shared history and language of Blanc de Chine porcelain. 

    Artists including Babs Haenen, Lucille Lewin, Liang Wanying, Jeffry Mitchell and Su Xianzhong, will have pieces featured in the exhibition. Alongside the historic pieces, the display will build a bridge between the past and the present, tradition and innovation and break the boundary of Chinese and non-Chinese ceramic practices.

    5 September 2019 – 10 May 2020

    For more details see:

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