Q U E E N E L I Z A B E T H S C H O L A R S H I P T R U S T, I S S U E 1 8 , S U M M E R 2 0 0 8

Helping craftsmen and women of all ages to excel in their careers


There will be more funds for QEST Scholarships, thanks to the generosity of members of the Royal Warrant Holders Association. Speaking at the Association’s Annual Luncheon, the President Richard Watling commented, “QEST continues to recognise the very best talents, often in skills and crafts that would otherwise be lost or left with few practitioners. The standard of applications is rising all the time which inevitably puts some strain on our ability to support the most deserving cases. I was very happy that the Association accepted at their AGM the proposal of a voluntary five per cent

levy on the annual subscription. This will provide more Scholarships during the next year.” Guest of honour at the lunch, The Viscount Thurso MP, warmly congratulated Warrant Holders on the success of QEST which they founded in 1990. “Scholars through a wide range of ages are committed to what they do and represent the finest of skills and quality. But they also represent something equally important – innovation. Innovation and tradition allied are the two pillars that make for quality and success ongoing.”

Inside: restored car body by Richard McGuinness page 6

Lord Thurso meets new QEST Scholar bread maker Susannah Silver at the Royal Warrant Holders Association’s annual luncheon.

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When mima (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art) won a share of a £50,000 prize for contemporary craft it chose ‘Monumental Vase V’ by leading studio potter Julian Stair (2004) to add to its permanent collection. The prize, launched by The Art Fund in partnership with the Crafts Council, aims to boost the quality and profile of public collections of contemporary craft across the country. Julian says, “Winning a QEST Scholarship enabled me to research the making of monumental pots which I have since developed. The title ‘Monumental Vase V’ is a deliberate reference to its towering scale which is made even more dramatic by the density of its intense grey colour and matt texture.” Julian has exhibited internationally for 25 years and has work in over 20 public collections worldwide.

Architectural glass artist Mel Howse (2008) has just completed a 500 square metre glass façade for the new Sainsbury’s flagship store in Milton Keynes. She says, “My art takes the form of huge glass canvases integral to the building’s architecture, giving it an identity. I worked with the store’s architect for several years, refining the glass design so that the art could grow with the architecture. By day visitors inside the store will see the work when they are on the travelator or relaxing in the cafeteria. At night the vista will be electric with the street acting as a gallery. So the art is on permanent display.” Despite its huge size, the façade is hand made in vitreous enamels and acid etched antique glass. It will be unveiled to the public later this year. Mel beside part of the glass façade

A television series with a Royal theme is featuring two QEST Scholars. Entitled ‘By Royal Appointment’, the six part series on royal patronage and royal association is being shown this summer on ITV London and ITV Meridian. Portrait painter Rupert Alexander (1996), who has painted portraits of HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and is currently painting HM The Queen, was filmed working in his London studio. Painter Stainer Melissa White (2007) is seen creating her trademark Elizabethan style fabrics. Royal Warrant Holding firms featured in the series include Savile Row tailors Henry Poole, perfumers Floris and gunmakers Purdey. Programme timings can be checked on:


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Silversmith Wally Gilbert (2001) won a £6,000 commission to design and make a pair of commemorative silver wine coolers for the British Jewellery and Giftware Federation. The contest was open to all UK designers, silversmiths and manufacturers and the wine coolers will be used on the board room table during meetings at BJGF headquarters in Birmingham’s jewellery quarter. One of the three expert judges, British Jewellers’ Association Chairman Martyn Pugh, described Wally’s winning entry as “high on handcraftsmanship and a beautiful execution.” He added, “The wine coolers will make an impressive addition to the Federation’s historic collection. Wally is one of the best makers around.”

An eco house build in Wales was awarded the Grand Designs Eco Home of the Year Award 2008. The house, a self build project, was assisted in design and building through courses led by Amazonails, the building company founded by Barbara Jones (1998). Barbara, who introduced straw bale building into Britain, contributed designs for Penwhilwr House, the UK’s first two-storey load bearing straw bale house. She also provided advice throughout the project. The owner and builder of Penwhilwr House, Rachel Shiamh, accepted the Award from Kevin McCloud at a ceremony broadcast live on Channel 4.
Penwhilwr House under construction

Another Amazonails project has been in the news, this time designed by G E Sworder & Sons, Chartered Surveyors. HRH Princess Michael of Kent recently opened Europe’s largest straw bale building – the headquarters of Sworders fine art auctioneers. The 1,100 sq. metre building contains three sale rooms, a reception area and offices. The timber frame from sustainable forests is tightly packed with compressed straw bales for strength and insulation. Exterior walls are lime rendered and inside walls are lime plastered. Barbara comments, “The construction of the Sworders building and Penwhilwr House were used for training future straw bale constructors under instruction from Amazonails experts.”
Penwhilwr House 3

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Milliner Deirdre Hawken (1999) made by hand 3,000 lilac flowers for the Royal Ballet’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ at the Royal Opera House. The production is inspired by the original Oliver Messel designs from 1946 which re-opened Covent Garden after the War. Deirdre’s velvet and organdie blooms were sewn onto costumes created for a changing cast of principals and supporting dancers. A lilac hat created by Deirdre Hawken

Upholsterer Anthea Laing (1997) has been working with Malinki Designs, who source tailors’ mannequins directly from France and take them to the next level, upholstering them in exciting and unusual fabrics. Anthea comments, “These elegant French mannequins are iconic. They have a vintage look and are very popular for homes, businesses and even film sets. I have covered and upholstered several for Liberty of London who are using them for display in their haberdashery and dressmaking departments. They are also showcasing Liberty’s new Spring 2009 Tana lawn prints. I created one specially for an article featuring florals in the Guardian Weekend magazine.”

Saddle and Harness Maker Kate Hetherington (2007) has been selected to join the World Horse Welfare’s international training team. The charity’s mission is to provide equine welfare worldwide, and it has set up a practical five-year programme to train students in saddlery, farriery, veterinary care and nutrition with the long term goal of alleviating equine suffering through education. Currently programmes are running in Mexico, South Africa, the Gambia, Guatemala, Lesotho and Romania. Kate explains, “I will be involved in saddlery training overseas nine weeks a year. I will train groups of locals from participating villages to make saddlery and harness so that they can use their horses to work the land and for transport. The idea is that at the end of a five year programme, World Horse Welfare withdraws, leaving behind a network of trained saddlers and farriers who can pass on their knowledge, providing a sustainable solution. I am really excited about the project and the opportunity to pass on my skills to those who need them most. ”


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Details of QEST Scholars can be found on the website

William Davies (2007) won the Worshipful Company of Masons’ Prize Competition for stonemasonry students at City and Guilds of London Art School. Every year students are asked to design a gift, carved in stone, from the Company to present to the Master Mason to commemorate his year in office. Gerry Everett, Master Mason 2007-8, chose William’s design – a carved plaque which includes the Company’s crest. The presentation was made in June. William’s QEST Scholarship is enabling him to study on the City and Guilds Historical Stone Carving Graduate Diploma.

Gillian Forbes (2004) has won the prestigious J.D. Ferguson Arts Award 2008 designed to support Scottish artists working in all disciplines. This Travel Award means she can spend three weeks at the Arco Arte studio in Carrara, Italy learning to carve marble and visiting nearby quarries. She will then travel for a further week to develop her links with sculptors working in the region. Gillian, whose commissions have included the Canongate Wall for the Scottish Parliament and carved lion gateposts for Glamis Castle, comments, “This visit to Carrara, which is the home of marble carving, is a wonderful opportunity to gain fresh inspiration and boost my technical knowledge.” Horse chestnut motif in sandstone by Gillian Forbes

Since winning his Scholarship Matthias Garn (2003) has expanded his workshop in Bugthorpe near York to include a site foremen, two apprentices, a mason and a carver. Last year they were commissioned to carve a new altar table and ambo for St Wilfrid’s Church, close to York Minster. Matthias explains, “It was a very challenging commission which took us eight months. The church is Gothic Revival with detailed Victorian carving throughout. We had to design pieces which reflected this very ornate and quite heavy style. All the design work was based

on examples from within the church and was drawn up by hand. Dunhouse Sandstone was used as it could take the very fineedged carving. The columns were German Green Serpentine as the original material from Norway is no longer available.” Matthias and his team have also carried out conservation work on a manor house and local churches including All Saints Church, Pocklington where Matthias carved a new preaching cross – a replica of the 14th century original.


These Scholars received their awards at the Royal Warrant Holders Luncheon in London in June Ruth Anthony (29) Jeweller and Engraver Ruth has her own business as an engraver for the trade and also designing and making precious jewellery to commission. The £7,500 Scholarship means she can study the highly specialised craft of gun engraving with Royal Warrant Holding firms of gunmakers – Holland & Holland and Purdey. This will broaden the scope of her work and enable her to develop a jewellery range incorporating hand engraving techniques specific to gun work.

Su Blackwell, MA (32) Paper Artist Su runs her own business as a paper artist, using cut paper from secondhand books to create imaginative and unusual 3-D works. She currently hand cuts paper but her £750 Scholarship enables her to tackle larger and more diverse projects by attending a specialist laser cutting course.

Jim Fleeting, BSc (31) Luthier Jim gained a Chemistry degree before spending seven years as an IT support engineer. A keen guitar collector and player, he switched career and set up Jim Fleeting Guitars in Ripon, repairing and building guitars. One of the UK’s most innovative luthiers, his £2,990 Scholarship enables him to attend a course in California with one of the world’s leading exponents of the craft.

Richard McGuinness (41) Wooden Car Body Restorer Richard has for many years repaired and restored wooden Thames boats. Recently he transferred his talents to rebuilding and restoring woodwork on unusual vintage cars. The £2,200 Scholarship enables him to gain additional skills and move into fulltime restoration of ash framed car bodies.


Mel Howse (39) Glass Artist Mel started her glass design business 12 years ago and designs contemporary architectural, ecclesiastical and fine art installations. Her impressive body of work includes windows for Lancing College Chapel and the Quatercentenary Window for the Butchers’ Company livery hall. The £7,600 Scholarship enables her to expand her skills by studying enamelling with glass on metal.

Ben Marks (20) Square Piano Restorer and Conservator Ben plays the pianoforte and harpsichord and has a keen interest in early music. He has been working three days a week with Lucy Coad Square Piano Conservation and Repair in Bristol. The £11,000 Scholarship enables him to complete a three year apprenticeship with Lucy Coad.

Susannah Silver, MA PhD (49) Craft Baker With the experience of being a self employed artist for 12 years, Susannah has set up as an artisan baker in Kirriemuir, Angus, trading as ‘Bread Naturally’. The £9,400 Scholarship enables her to undertake a period of intensive study in traditional artisan bakery techniques in New York and spend time working in some of the city’s leading bakeries.

Katie Whiting, BA Hons (22) Shoe Designer Katie graduated with a first in fashion design. Her debut collection, sponsored by Swarovski Crystal and shown at Graduate Fashion Week, resulted in numerous commissions. She has launched her own ‘Katie Rose’ label. Her £9,260 Scholarship will support her during an internship at Vivienne Westwood’s shoe design department and while she completes a diploma in footwear.

Rachel Sawicki, BA (28) Book Conservator Rachel is an Assistant Conservation Technician in the Conservation and Collection Care Department of the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Although she loves books and is dedicated to conservation Rachel has no formal conservation qualification. Her £10,000 Scholarship enables her to study for an MA in Book Conservation at West Dean College.


The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) was established in 1990 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Royal Warrant Holders Association and the 90th birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. The Trust was set up with money given by members of the Association, which represents the 800 companies and individuals privileged to hold a Royal Warrant of Appointment to The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, or The Prince of Wales. Since 1991 QEST has awarded more than £1,163,000 to 183 craftsmen and women aged from 17 to 50 plus.

The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust No 1 Buckingham Place, London SW1E 6HR Registered Charity No. 802557 General enquiries: Victoria Churchward Tel: 020 7828 2268 Fax: 020 7828 1668 Email: Website: Press enquiries: Christine Lea Tel: 01442 875267 Email:

Scholarships ranging from £1,000 to £15,000 are awarded to fund further study, training and practical experience for craftsmen and women. Applicants must demonstrate they have already developed a high level of skill and are firmly committed to their craft or trade. There is no age limit but you must live and work in the UK.

Full details and an application form can be found on our website: or from the address shown left, enclosing an A4 self-addressed envelope with a 56p stamp. Application forms for Spring 2009 Scholarships must be received by 9 January 2009.

The QEST website ( now has a News section, regularly updated with news of Scholars’ achievements and details of forthcoming exhibitions of their work. The website also features a useful Directory of Scholars offering goods and services ranging from Basketmaking to Woodcarving.

The Royal Warrant Holders Association has a new website (, launched in late July with a link to the QEST website. The site includes the history of Royal Warrants and the Association plus a full Directory of all Warrant Holding companies.

Chairman: Richard Watling, John Walker & Sons Ltd Trustees: Alex Davis, Calor Gas Ltd, Jenifer Emery, Edward Goodyear Ltd, James Fraser, Hamilton & Inches Ltd, Bill Gunn, Pol Roger Ltd, Fiona Rae, Enameller, Tim Roupell, Daily Bread Ltd, Secretary: Richard Peck


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