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
HRH The Princess Royal visited the John Smedley store in Tokyo last week as part of the brand’s 235th anniversary celebrations and her role as President of the UKFTA.
During the visit, The Princess Royal and her party were introduced to Kayo Saito, one of the 10 QEST ambassadors being championed by John Smedley for the 235 campaign, was able to showcase her work as a Goldsmith via finished jewellery and insight into her craft process.
Kayo comments, “The Princess Royal was very enthusiastic to find out the role played by John Smedley in promoting British craftspeople. It was a delightful experience to talk to her and to show her my work, and very gratifying to hear her complimentary comments.”
To find out more about the John Smedley 235 campaign visit www.johnsmedley.com/discover/legacy/
BIND, a solo show by QEST Jenifer Emery Scholar Gillian Stewart, is currently on show at The Lighthouse, Glasgow. Featuring a selection of contemporary book structures, it runs until 1st December 2019.
This exhibition shows a collection of handmade book structures and forms, demonstrating the diversity and innovation present in bookbinding today, and reflecting Gillian’s interest in the innovative application of heritage within contemporary design. Exploring the possibilities present when traditional skills meet innovative materials, these book structures incorporate materials such as carbon rods, Tyvek, brass, acrylic, leather and handmade papers.
Gillian’s scholarship allowed her to gain specialist training in order to become a fully-fledge fine binder. She received tuition in advanced leatherwork and sewing from Fellow of Designer Bookbinders Tom McEwan, and attended workshops at the Centro del Bel Libro Ascona in Switzerland and Professione Libro in Italy. Many of the pieces in the exhibition were made possible through her QEST Scholarship and she is thrilled to be raising the profile of bookbinding in this design centre in Glasgow.
Gillian has bound books for the Houses of Parliament and British Library, won numerous awards for her work, and recently started her own bindery within a vibrant artistic community in Glasgow’s East End – www.jujubooks.co.uk
QEST recently hosted a talk at the V&A Museum on the state of British craft today, as part of the V&A’s curated programme of events. Led by QEST Ambassador Dr Jonathan Foyle, architectural historian, broadcaster and advocate for heritage sites; the event took place in the V&A’s Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre on Tuesday 24 September 2019.
Jonathan introduced the topic by highlighting some of the fascinating and varied craftspeople he has interviewed for his regular ‘Artisans’ feature in the Financial Times Weekend. He then welcomed to the stage the panel of QEST Scholars:
The panel discussed a range of topics from materials and their differing properties and how they inform their work, to how to best promote themselves in today’s world. It was particularly interesting to hear them discuss their differing approaches to their work – Amelia admitted that her clay maquettes are often incomplete; she prefers to get carving and intuitively tweak designs as required by the natural curling of the wood. In contrast, Zoe prefers her designs to be meticulously thought out, as no carve can be misplaced when she is producing effective geometric patterns. Peter is meticulous during the design and sculpting, but also embraces the unique and unpredictable effects of the kiln on ceramics.
Conversations continued after the event during a reception in the stunning Silver Galleries. We were delighted with the success of the evening and hope this will be the first of many. Our thanks again to all at the V&A.
We are thrilled to announce that Deakin & Francis will generously be donating a percentage of the sales of two of their stylish cufflink designs to QEST.
England’s oldest family jeweller, Deakin & Francis share a passion for British craftsmanship with QEST and they create a range of bespoke items available from their store in the Piccadilly Arcade and online.
The seventh generation of the Deakin & Francis that was established in 1786, Henry Deakin, has seen the work of QEST first hand through the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths as well as in Birmingham’s jewellery quarter. As a jeweller and guardian of the Birmingham Assay Office, he is committed to keeping traditional crafts alive and was keen to sponsor QEST by including jewellery that applies the creative tradition of enamelling that dates back centuries.
Deakin & Francis’ Sterling Silver Black and White Enamel Dress Stud Set (£635) is the perfect finishing touch to a dinner outfit for all occasions and for each set sold, Deakin & Francis will give £50 to QEST. For every purchase of the Sterling Silver Royal Blue & Clear Enamel Cufflinks (£285) they will donate £25 to the charity.
Head to www.deakinandfrancis.co.uk to buy your pair and help support the future of British craft.