Design Centre Stories

Trail of Talent

A galaxy of talented people are showing off their skills at Artefect, giving visitors a deeper understanding of the stories and techniques behind the craft, and connecting directly with makers. Scholars from QEST (the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust) have a dedicated Meet the Makers space on the ground floor of the North Dome, where different skills are showcased every day. QEST is a charity that supports the training and education of talented and aspiring craftspeople, and these demonstrations show the breadth of its patronage – from Joey Richardson’s delicate turned-wood forms, painted with motifs from the natural world, to Zoë Wilson, who carves geometric wall hangings from Welsh slate.

QEST scholars also make work in the showrooms as part of Artefact’s Artisan Trail. They were paired up with the showrooms that shared a natural affinity for their skills, with Natasha Mann painting an original geometric design on a Vaughan lampshade using handmade paints of egg tempera and natural pigments, and Laura Adburgham, demonstrating shaft weaving on a table loom in Dedar. Sanderson’s pairing was a particularly personal one: decorative artist Rachel Spelling is supported by a Sanderson-sponsored QEST scholarship, which has allowed her to study 18th-century chinoiserie painting techniques with historic decorative painter Alasdair Peebles.

The Artisan Trail also sees showrooms mount their own talks and demonstrations., unlocking the artisan techniques that are behind so many of the collections. Lincrusta brought its paint expert Andy Sarson to talk about the history and craftsmanship behind the brand, and show how this unique wallcovering can be transformed by paint techniques; while Kuniko Thompson, creative director of Biden Designs, visited David Seyfried Ltd (where the brand is stocked) to explain more about the art of Japanese woodwork, kumiko.