• The Met Costume Institute in New York Features Work by QEST Scholar


    The Met Costume Institute, New York is currently showing CAMP: Notes on Fashion, an exhibition exploring how humour, parody, pastiche, artifice and theatricality have been expressed in fashion across the centuries.

    “Camp’s disruptive nature and subversion of modern aesthetic values has often been trivialized, but this exhibition reveals that it has had a profound influence on both high art and popular culture,” said Max Hollein, Director of The Met. “By tracing its evolution and highlighting its defining elements, the show embodies the ironic sensibilities of this audacious style, challenges conventional understandings of beauty and taste, and establishes the critical role that this important genre has played in the history of art and fashion.”

    Among the 250 objects on show, dating from the 17th century to the present day, is couture milliner and QEST Scholar Deirdre Hawken’s Cauliflower Headpiece. With green ruffled outer leaves, crisp stalks, and hand-sewn pearl florets, it exemplifies the playfulness of her designs along with her exquisite craftsmanship.

    Deirdre won a QEST Scholarship in 1999, at the age of 54, and was awarded £9,000 to study couture millinery with the Queen Mothers milliner, Rose Cory. As part of her award she also carried out a work placement with the acclaimed milliner Stephen Jones. 

    Her work is now included in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, The Metropolitan Museum, New York, the Institute of Costume, Kyoto, Japan, the Philadelphia Museum of Art USA and the Hat Museum, UK. 

    The exhibition is open until 8 September 2019.

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  • Ettinger Launches Limited Edition Notebook with Proceeds to be Donated to QEST


    To celebrate its 85th anniversary, Ettinger has launched a beautiful limited-edition, leather-covered notebook with 15% of the proceeds to be generously donated to QEST.

    QEST are thrilled to be partnering with Ettinger for this project, with their shared recognition of the appeal and importance of hand-crafted objects. As Robert Ettinger says, “Ettinger passionately believes in supporting British craft.  The heart of Ettinger is our craftspeople, without them the brand would not exist. QEST helps British craftspeople improve and further their skills and careers to ensure that their expertise is never lost and importantly allows them to pass on their knowledge to future generations.”

    The paper notebooks inside are crafted by Barnard & Westwood with illustrations on the leather cover and inside the notebook by Rory Dobner. In reference to the 85th anniversary, only 85 have been made and each one is clearly numbered to make them truly unique pieces.

    The illustrations feature drawings of Rory’s idiosyncratic character, ‘Nigel the Owl’. Striding out, bedecked with a bowler hat and an umbrella firmly under his arm, he is a fitting nod to company founder, Gerry Ettinger. Nigel is sporting an outfit that Gerry himself might well have worn during Ettinger’s early years and he was never seen without his handcrafted umbrella under arm.

    On the inside of the notebook’s leather cover, illustrated pocket watches hang from fob chains over the Ettinger and HRH Prince of Wales Royal Warrant logos, with the watch hands poignantly set at 8 and 5 o’clock to acknowledge the company’s 85th anniversary.

    The notebooks are selling for £265 and are available from                       

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  • QEST Scholars feature in two new exhibitions at the ICA in Milan


    The ICA in Milan is currently holding two ceramic art exhibitions which feature the work of QEST Scholars.

    The collective exhibition Nuovi Canoni (Towards New Canons) – Ceramics and Contemporary Art in Great Britain includes work by 2012 QEST Scholar Matthew Warner. The exhibition shows the complexity and liveliness of different approaches to ceramic sculpture, combining works by six contemporary ceramicists. Warner’s work is widely admired for its elegant functionality and included in the exhibition is his Garniture II, revival vases inspired by Wedgewood which reference the tradition of collecting. Early garnitures were personal collections of pots often displayed on mantelpieces. Warner explores the balance, proportion and integrity of composition within his work and he believes the objects we choose to collect are a reflection of our own ideologies.

    Equivalenze (Equivalence) by 2004 QEST Scholar and one of the UK’s top potters, Julian Stair, emphasises the juxtaposition of contrasting scales in order to highlight the formal quality of the object. The show investigates the functionality of everyday objects such as tea cups, vases and mugs of different shapes by displaying them in unexpected proportions.

    Both exhibitions are open until 15 September 2019.

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  • QEST Represents the Craft Industry at Apprentice 19 Careers Fair


    As part of the London Careers Festival, The Stationers’ Company organised Apprentice 19, a two-day careers fair at the Guildhall from 18-19 June. The event brought together more than 2,000 secondary & college-age students from across Greater London to help create pathways to employment in a changing world of work. QEST were delighted to participate and present a perspective on careers in craft, alongside representatives from catering, financial, journalism, military, printing and tech industries.

    As reported in the Evening Standard, almost 800,000 young people in the UK aged 16 to 24 are not in employment, education or training, so events like this are vital to provide students with timely information to help shape their future.

    We very much enjoyed chatting to the students, helping them see how a passion for making could develop into a career in craft, as well as letting them know that, for those who demonstrate excellence, financial assistance may be available from QEST to support their future training and education. It was also a great opportunity to raise awareness of QEST among the schools and other companies present.

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  • 5 QEST Scholars Confirmed as Tenants at New Heritage & Craft Centre

    Grandey’s Place Opens This Summer in Warren Park, East Hertfordshire


    Grandey’s Place at Warren Park is a new centre dedicated to the conservation of Britain’s Heritage Crafts. Opening Summer 2019, it will offer up to 25 affordable studio units for craftspeople to work alongside one-another as part of an exciting new creative community. Scaled rental subsidies are available, determined on an individual basis, and there will also be mentoring opportunities and spaces for craft lecturing or schooling available onsite.

    We are delighted that 5 QEST Scholars have been confirmed as Tenants:

    • Wayne Hart, QEST Scholar 2011, Lettercarver, Sculptor & Glass Engraver

    • Poppy Field, QEST Finnis Scott Foundation Scholar 2016, Sculptor

    • Mark Angelo-Gizzi, QEST The Leathersellers’ Chairtable Fund Scholar 2013, Bespoke Handmade Leather Bags & Satchels

    • Seth Kennedy, QEST Britford Bridge Trust Scholar 2018, Antiquarian Horologist & Watch Case Maker

    • Grace Brennan, QEST Scholar 2010, Artist and Scenic Artist

    Working with the help of the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST), Grandey’s Place is purpose-designed and built to be a centre of craft excellence. Whether working in an endangered craft, as identified on the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts, or simply a craft or industry that both conserves and creates a product or service of excellence; Grandey’s Place aims to attract a mix of like-minded creative and heritage sustaining talents.


    More information is available at


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  • 2019 QEST Award for Excellence Presented to Rod Kelly


    Congratulations to Rod Kelly who was awarded this year’s QEST Award for Excellence at the Royal Warrant Holders Association & QEST Annual Luncheon today. Presented by Dr Jonathan Foyle and kindly donated by Thomas Fattorini, this medal is given to the QEST Scholar who has made the most significant contribution to their craft.

    Rod was awarded a QEST Scholarship for gold and silver-smithing in 2000. He specialises in low relief chasing, often inlaid with gold, producing modern low relief graphic images on elegant pieces of modern silver. Fourteen years ago he set up the South House Silver Workshop on the Shetland Islands with his wife, enameller & jeweller Sheila McDonald. Together they have trained and mentored more than 60 young makers, including seven QEST scholars and apprentices.

    One of Rod’s most significant commissions was The Diamond Jubilee Rosewater Dish, created for The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. Used on formal occasions at Goldsmiths’ Hall, the piece highlights the Company’s role as a major patron of modern silver and the exceptional quality of British silverwork. Rod was invited for a private audience with Her Majesty The Queen to present the piece and tell its story.

    Rod’s work has also appeared on a first-class Millennium stamp for Royal Mail, a £2 coin in circulation celebrating the engineer I K Brunel and a £5 Crown celebrating the 450th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth I. His work is held in museums including the V&A, National Museum of Scotland, Birmingham Museum, St Pauls Cathedral and Lichfield Cathedral, and features in The Silver Trust collection in use at 10 Downing Street.

    His dedication to his craft along with his commitment to sharing his knowledge and training silversmiths of the future is hugely impressive, and QEST are very proud to present him with this award.

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