The Worshipful Company of Turners

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Eleanor Lakelin awarded a QEST Turners’ Company Scholarship

Supported by the Worshipful Company of Turners

The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) funds the education of talented and aspiring craftspeople through traditional college courses, apprenticeships or one-on-one training with Masters. Eleanor passed the exacting process to be nominated for an award, and was deservedly successful in winning the QEST Turners’ Company scholarship.  Here is her report on her travels since winning the scholarship:

The Award

I was delighted to be awarded a QEST Scholarship in Autumn 2018 which has been possible with the support of the Worshipful Company of Turners and I am very proud to be known as a Turners’ Company Scholar. I applied for a grant in order to develop my understanding of working at a larger scale. I wanted to develop a new formal and technical language and to extend and challenge the limits of my practice.  I hope that by developing my skills and continuing to push the boundaries of what is possible through turning and carving wood I can contribute positively to my area of craft.

Travelling to the USA

The scholarship is split into two parts. The first part involved travelling to the United States of America to gather information and develop my thinking. I approached several sculptors using wood as their primary material to arrange visits and a short residency in order to see the implications in both practical and conceptual terms of working at scale. I was invited to visit the sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard in her studio in Brooklyn, New York City and also to spend five days working with Mark Lindquist at Lindquist Studios in Quincy, Florida.

Photos courtesy of Lindquist Studios


I left for New York on Wednesday 7th November in order to arrive in time for the Private View of the Salon of Art and Design at the Park Avenue Armoury on the Thursday evening as Sarah Myerscough Gallery was showing pieces from my new series of work. In my four days I made use of every hour visiting the Museum of Craft & Design, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MOMA, the Donald Judd Foundation studio and the Isamu Noguchi Foundation. The highlight of this part of the trip being a mention and picture of my work in the New York Times and an afternoon spent at the studio of Ursula von Rydingsvard looking at the implications of working at monumental scale. Her globally-recognised sculpture in cedar was awe-inspiring up close and her generosity in allowing me to visit and understand a little more of how her work is developed was unforgettable.

Visiting Mark Lindquist Studios

Monday 12th November saw me on a dawn flight to Tallahassee, Florida via North Carolina to spend the rest of the week at the Lindquist Studios in Quincy. In the 1970’s, Mark, building on the success of his father Mel Lindquist, (one of the founders of the American Studio Woodturning Movement) successfully helped to transform the wood-turning field, revolutionising not only how work was displayed and sold but what it could be. It was therefore an immense privilege to have been invited to stay with and work alongside Mark and Kathy Lindquist for a week in their studio, a mammoth converted tobacco factory deep in the countryside outside Tallahassee. Mark was enormously generous with his time, knowledge and experience and the residency was all I had hoped it would be. We had time to discuss how Mark’s work fitted into the history of sculpture in the US and to look in detail at monumental pieces in situ in his studio gallery and at the museum in Quincy. We discussed at length the logistics of moving material at a grand scale and the implications of making work informed by architectural relationships and human scale. I worked with him in a studio that had seen Mel Lindquist, Gary Stevens, Dale Nish and other icons of American wood art through its doors and it was an experience that I will never forget.

The next step

The second part of the Scholarship is the chance to attend classes in sculpture at the Art Academy, London for one day a week for six terms starting in January 2019. This will allow me to experiment with materials and methods in a wide range of sculptural disciplines- from specific skills development to creative development and expression. The course features a comprehensive bespoke study programme which will enable me to develop my own direction. Tutors will introduce me to new techniques both traditional and contemporary and the flexibility of the course will allow me to continue with my established practice in wood whilst developing new work.

Eleanor Lakelin creates sculptural objects in wood, using a traditional lathe and centuries-old chisels alongside modern sculpting techniques. Her work is exhibited internationally and included in numerous prestigious private collections. She lives and works in London and is represented by Sarah Myerscough Gallery.

Eleanor Lakelin January 2019


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