• 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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  • QEST Scholar Creates Iron Throne for Belfast Premiere of Games of Thrones Season Eight


    QEST Scholar and award-winning basket maker Bob Johnston recently spent seven months in his garden workshop weaving willow into three 5 metre dragons and a 3.5 metre Iron Throne for the Belfast premiere of Games of Thrones season eight. HBO has now generously donated the pieces to the Ulster Museum where they are currently on display.

    Bob has been creating traditional and contemporary willow baskets, sculptures and living structures since 2000. A QEST Scholarship in 2004 allowed him to study with inspirational master basket makers in Ireland, the UK and France and mastering traditional weaving skills allowed him to develop the craft in a new and exciting way. He was presented with the QEST Award for Excellence in 2017.

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  • Peter Ting and Deborah Carré appointed Trustees


    QEST are thrilled to announce that Peter Ting and Deborah Carré have been appointed to the Board of Trustees. Hugely knowledgeable, passionate and deeply committed to craft, their help and support will be a great asset to the charity.

    Peter Ting was awarded his QEST scholarship in 1997, since when he has gone on to make a global contribution to the Craft industry. From 2009-2017, he was a ‘Maker Trustee’ of the Crafts Council and has held previous roles as Head of Homeware for Asprey and Creative director for Legle Porcelain – spearheading its growth in Asia.

    Currently the Creative Director at Thomas Goode (leading their product design, creative vision, branding and retail concepts globally), he also began collaborating with writer Ying Jian in 2016 to launch Ting-Ying gallery – dedicated to presenting artists whose creations are inspired by the history and legacy of Blanc de Chine porcelain. His own work can be found in collections at the V&A in London, MAD in New York and various museums round the world.

    An award-winning shoemaker originally from the island of Sark, Deborah received a QEST Scholarship in 1997 to pursue a traditional, four-year apprenticeship in handsewn shoemaking. She switched from a career in public relations to pursue the handsewn craft, learning to ride a motorbike in the process, and has run Carreducker with co-founder and master shoemaker, James Ducker, since 2004.

    From the outset, Carréducker championed shoemaking training and they have been instrumental in opening up the craft to a wider, global audience through their intensive shoemaking courses and evening classes. Deborah was awarded the Balvenie Masters of Craft: Leather in 2011 and the QEST Award for Excellence in 2018 for Carréducker’s work as global ambassadors for English handsewn shoemaking.

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  • Spring 2019 Craft Funding

    Supporting Excellence in British Craftsmanship

    OPEN: 9 jan 2019 – 18 feb 2019

    Our Spring 2019 Funding Cycle has now opened!

    We are receiving applications for funding in training and education of a Craft skill, through traditional college courses, apprenticeships or 1-2-1 training with master craftspeople – visit our alumni page to understand what Craft categories we fund.  Funding is available to individuals for Scholarships for a particular course or training; and to businesses (in particular smaller companies) to employ Apprentices. 

    If you have any queries around eligibility see our HOW TO APPLY pages for frequently asked questions. The links below will take you to either Scholarship or Apprenticeship applications – please bookmark your relevant page for quick access:

    Scholarships                                         Apprenticeships

    All applications must be submitted online via our website, but please email applications co-ordinator or call 0207 798 1539 for any application queries.

    feature image: Wayne Meeten, 2014 QEST Pamela de Tristan Silversmith. Photo credit: Julian Calder


    The Spring 2019 round of funding has now closed – we will begin accepting applications for the Summer 2019 cycle on 16 July 2019. If you would like find out more information about the applying please click here.

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  • QEST Book

    A Celebration of British Craftsmanship


    Foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales
    Photographed by Julian Calder
    Written by Karen Bennett


    A Celebration of British Craftsmanship provides a glimpse into the vibrant, richly storied world of some of the craftsmen and women that QEST has supported throughout its lifetime.

    Founded by the Royal Warrant Holders Association, on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s 90th Birthday, our aim remains the same today as it did at its inception in 1990 – to sustain Britain’s cultural heritage by supporting excellence in British craftsmanship, through funding the training and education of talented and aspiring craftspeople.

    This book features 100 portraits and stories of QEST Alumni from across the United Kingdom, revealing a wealth of skill, knowledge, respect for traditions, and an abundance of innovative spirit. From an armourer to basketmakers; a block-printer to ceramicists; a calligrapher to silversmiths; a charcoal burner to milliners; to stone carvers, weavers and many more, representing over 80 crafts, traditional and contemporary.

    The net proceeds from sales of this book will enable QEST to support the next generation of professional craftspeople, who hold the future of British craftsmanship in their hands.


    Andrian Melka

    Andrian Melka – QEST Scholar 2008 – Sculptor


    Available to purchase from 29th October at £60 (inc. p&p)

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    Book cover - Rod Kelly

  • Sleepeeze Donation

    Sleepeezee presents big cheque

    At the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace in September, Sleepeezee handed over a cheque for £36,000 to QEST Chairman, Nick Crean and Executive Director, Deborah Pocock. Sleepeezee have been raising funds through sales of their special collection and to date have donated over £75,000 to QEST.



    Sleepeezee QEST Collection

    Each mattress is handcrafted in the UK by Sleepeezee and embroidered with the QEST logo, a reminder that for every QEST mattress or divan set sold a donation is made to QEST.
    Every product sold by us with the QEST logo generates a contribution to the charity, whose core objective is to sustain British craftsmanship, a vision shared by Sleepeezee and one that is very close to our hearts.
    As a UK manufacturer we recognise the need to maintain historical skills used within our industry over hundreds of years and are committed to encouraging excellence in traditional craftsmanship.


    – Howard Wilson, Sleepeezee Managing Director
    Click here to shop the collection.


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