Huge congratulations to QEST Radcliffe Trust Apprentice Adele Williamson who has been included in the Drapers 30 Under 30 list. Now in its 11th year, this programme focuses on those taking their first steps on the career ladder, and turns the spotlight on the young names to know. The list includes sustainable entrepreneurs, creative forces, brilliant buyers and shop floor stars.
Adele became the first female apprentice to work at Trickers in 2016 and is in the third year of her apprenticeship. She now creates the majority of the brand’s bespoke orders.
Celia Dowson has been awarded a Wallpaper* Design Award 2020 for her smoky coral Rhossili Collection platter. The piece was first exhibited at Decorex as part of Future Heritage in 2019 and it will be on show again at Collect 2020 (22 February – 1 March) with Bullseye Projects.
Through form and colour Celia explores the interactions of light and surface to create dynamic visual effects in glass. She draws inspiration from the breadth of the natural world. The Rhossili collection developed from observations of the Gower peninsular in Wales. Using colour to capture the changing light of the sky she introduced varying thickness’ of glass and lensed areas to create subtle shifts in the colours. These qualities play with convex and concave shapes making inside spaces sometimes seem solid. She is keen for her work to speak quietly, bringing importance to daily routines and rituals as well as the movement and transitioning in the world around us.
Huge congratulations to QEST Scholar Hayley Gibbs whose statue of Nancy Astor was unveiled by Theresa May on 28th November 2019.
Plymouth made history in 1919 when it elected Nancy Astor, the first female MP ever to take a seat in Parliament, and the statue was unveiled on the 100th anniversary of this landmark event. It is outside the MP’s former home on Plymouth Hoe.
The client commented, “Hayley was quite exceptional and has produced an extraordinary work of art – not just a statue. It was an absolute pleasure working with her on this historic project, her research, forensic attention to detail and teamwork combined with her obvious creative skills has made this very, very, special indeed.”
QEST Scholar Siân Evans was honoured to represent Great Britain in Uzbekistan for the 1st International Handicrafters Festival in September. The event gathered more than 600 artisans from 79 countries in Kokand, a city recently granted the status of Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art by the World Crafts Council.
Siân was invited by The Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in London to demonstrate coppersmithing and talk about her work. According to The Radcliffe Red List of Endangered Crafts she is one of only five known ornamental coppersmiths working in the UK today and the idea of cultural preservation through the language of crafts skills was a core theme at the Festival.
The event was held in the grounds of the Palace of Khudoyar-Khan, where a village of yurts, tents, marquees and huts had sprung up, each housing a working craftsperson. During the opening ceremony the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, spoke of the value of craftsmanship in universal culture and how it “occupies a special place in the life of each nation, shaping its mentality and values”. He added, “the craftsmanship derives inspiration in harmony with nature” and that in order to “breathe life” to an ordinary clay, piece of metal or wood… there needed to be not only scrupulous work, but also the warmth of human soul”.
“The final two days of the festival were spent meeting new people,” says Siân, “discovering beautiful work, sharing skills, laughing and dancing. Many craftspeople, especially those in obscure or dying crafts, spend a lot of time working in isolation, so this new sense of a global community was not only profound, it was a revelation.”
We are delighted to announce that QEST CEO Deborah Pocock has been invited to become UK representative on the Cultural Council of the Michelangelo Foundation.
The Michelangelo Foundation is an international non-profit organisation established to celebrate and preserve master craftsmanship and strengthen its connection to the world of design. It’s Cultural Council ensure all artisans and craftsmen from their individual country meet with the Foundation’s criteria for excellence, as well as identifying and recommending craftsmen in their region to enrich the Foundation’s selection and for the Homo Faber Guide.
Deborah comments, “I’m thrilled to have been invited to join the Cultural Council and much look forward to working with the team, sharing knowledge and best practice and working together to promote excellence in craftsmanship across Europe.”
To mark 30 years of supporting excellence in British craft, the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) will be exhibiting at Collect for the first time in 2020, showcasing the work of seven QEST Scholars in an exhibition titled ‘Tradition Redressed’. The curated stand will examine the support given by QEST to artists exploring innovation and excellence within craft traditions. The makers will be showing works which interpret traditional crafts or materials in innovative and contemporary ways, pushing boundaries and keeping craft relevant. They are basket weaver Annemarie O’Sullivan, ceramicists Alice Walton and Matthew Warner, mixed-media artist Dorcas Casey, wood turner Eleanor Lakelin, silversmith Grant McCaig and glass artist Kaja Upelj.
QEST CEO Deborah Pocock comments, “QEST’s 30th anniversary in 2020 provides the perfect time for our debut at Collect. We are really pleased to be exhibiting exciting works by seven of our scholars, demonstrating the depth of tradition and innovation in contemporary British craft and the support that QEST can give to craftsmen.”
Ceramicist Alice Walton makes one off original ceramics, exploring complex and intense surface textures over simple forms which have been inspired by street furniture and architecture. The repetitive nature of mark making mimics the constant review of certain objects on daily commutes. For Collect Alice will continue to develop techniques that she developed since leaving the Royal College, creating elaborately textured surfaces from minute ceramic elements that highlight the meditative process of the material. These will be a pair of sculptural objects, one wall mounted, and the other plinth based, inspired by architectural forms.
Annemarie O’Sullivan draws on ancient basket-making techniques and embraces the arts of weaving and binding in her works. As with any craft, continued learning is key, and the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust provided Annemarie with invaluable funding through its D’Oyly Carte Scholarship. In 2016 she visited and trained with some of the best of her contemporaries, including Alexandra Marks in Italy, Les Llewellyn in Wales, Alison Fitzgerald in Northern Ireland, Mary Butcher in Kent and at Villaines les Rochers in France. For Collect she has created a large site-specific architectural woven vessel form that interacts with the historic Somerset House interior.
Sculptor Dorcas Casey reveals the unsettling qualities residing in seemingly benign domestic materials and subjects, creating a tension between her sculptures appearing familiar and comforting, while simultaneously peculiar and uncanny. Her QEST Tom Helme Scholarship is enabling her to undertake 40 days of one-on-one tuition with a renowned sculptor in Dorset where she is learning the ancient craft of lost wax bronze casting. For Tradition Redressed Dorcas will present two sculptures; a jesmonite and found object limited edition of her ‘Iguana on an Ottoman’, and ‘Cockerel’ a textile sculpture created from red leather gloves and antique lace under an antique glass dome incorporating cast bronze elements. Both works evolve from the idea of outmoded, discarded and marginal things returning as powerful presences.
Since 2011 wood turner Eleanor Lakelin has concentrated on the vessel form, studying with established makers whenever possible but largely teaching herself to hollow and carve works of increasing scale and ambition. Her sculptural objects are created using a traditional woodworking lathe and centuries-old chisels and gouges alongside modern carving techniques. Her work is exhibited internationally and held in prestigious museum and private collections. At Collect Eleanor will be presenting Column Vessels from her Echoes of Amphora series. These larger scale works were influenced by her QEST funded residency with wood sculptor Mark Lindquist in Florida.
Silversmith and artist Grant McCaig has an organic approach to finding extraordinary beauty in metals and the idea of function and preciousness associated with materials such as silver. For Collect he has developed a new series of sculptural objects using a combination of precious and non-precious metals; iron and silver. This combination of materials appeals to him as he feels that both carry particular histories and expectations. Revisiting processes that he has worked with before involving the fusion of disparate metals in a very contemporary and exciting way he is developing a new body of work to be launched with QEST at the event.
Kaja Upelj uses glass as her main material to tell poetic stories, and in 2018 she received a QEST Scholarship to attend an intensive course in kiln casting and digital technology at The Corning Museum of Glass in New York. She creates works of colour and light dancing inside the sensual nature of glass. Her pieces are tactile and welcome interaction from the audience, inviting both familiarity and personal connection. Her work for Collect explores an innovative and highly dangerous chemical technique to give iridescent effects in the glass and the resulting series, ‘Subtle Flow’, will be launched at the fair.
Ceramicist Matthew Warner is a London based potter whose work combines clarity of form with the subtle nuances of throwing, creating pieces that are at once familiar yet intriguing, classical and modern. Matthew sees pots as social objects that communicate ideas about lifestyle, status and taste and will be presenting seven teapots which interpret the work of Josiah Wedgewood in a contemporary way.
Collect: 27 February – 1 March 2020
Somerset House, Strand London WC2R 1LA. www.collect2020.org.uk