Hugo Burge, Director at Marchmont House in the Scottish Borders, has complied a selection of inspiring QEST Scholars in Scotland, whose work is inspired by tradition, but who have a flair for forward looking, sometimes innovative and relevant works that will shape a more attractive future.


Whilst Gillian took inspiration from 18th Century Scottish headstones to start a career in letter and stone-carving, there is a thread of arts and crafts sensibility running through her work that I find deeply attractive. It was easy to select her work, as her delicate floral forms are stunning and I have a soft spot for stone carving, something we have at Marchmont, because of the skills and bravery involved, but also the heart-warming legacy a wonderful piece of stone carving leaves in the built environment.


Natasha’s print works leap out at me for their nostalgic traditional beauty and charm, but the way they are presented is fresh and contemporary. I love that her work is focused on the public space, bringing some of the magic of her craft and inspirations from nature to a broader audience in spaces that need invigorating. I must declare a slight conflict as I’m delighted to say that Natasha has recently won a supported residency at Marchmont Studios, in partnership with The Society of Scottish Artists.


It’s hard not to be curiously drawn and touched by the designs of Alan’s tailoring and embroidery work. It takes inspiration from Scottish kiltmaking and the cosy warm style of the isles, but has a Glasgow School touch that gives it a distinctive style – which is hardly surprising as he is a tutor at Glasgow School of Art.


Jennifer's work is extraordinary – one glance at her stunning 'Eggs Royale!' egg cups and she was on this list come hell or high water. She embodies the spirit of traditional craft values with a forward looking sensibility that can be provocative but stylish, modern and playful – her work therefore feels relevant, but also enduring and often timeless which is a hard balance to muster. Her work is brave and we need to encourage makers to be bold, to innovate without losing the charm of their craft.


Sometimes tradition is best and nothing typifies my love of human balance with nature more than a beautiful dry stone wall, so Luke had to make it onto this list for the work he is doing and the craft tradition that he embodies. We need more makers who – in the arts and crafts spirit – continue to add to and nuture some of the most beautiful features of our landscapes and built environments with their quiet and humble contributions, that make our world a more beautiful place to me.