Christmas comes early for two heritage crafters!

17 DEC 2020

A stained-glass conservator and dry stone walling apprentice, are the latest craftspeople to benefit from Allchurches’ heritage grants funding – a gift to keep the UK’s traditional skills alive.

Grace Ayson has received a scholarship from Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) - funded by Allchurches Trust - to enable her to complete bespoke courses and placements with experts in stained-glass artistry. 
Grace has been professionally practicing her art and conservation for over 20 years, starting her journey working on decorative surfaces with companies such as St. Blaise Ltd. For the last 14 years, this talented conservator has worked at The Cathedral Studios based at Canterbury Cathedral, working on the conservation and restoration of stained-glass. Grace also designs beautiful, contemporary stained-glass windows and artworks for exhibition, including the awe-inspiring Tom’s window – designed and made at Canterbury Cathedral.
Grace working on a stained glass window
This new funding will enable Grace to pursue her dream as a stained-glass artist and broaden her skills. She will have the chance to work with renowned British designers, including glass embosser and gilder, David Adrian Smith, and contemporary painter and stained-glass artist, Thomas Denny. Finally, she will make a trip to Germany to visit the workshops of Lambers Glass and Derix Glass Taunusstein.
Allchurches’ heritage funding will also support QEST Apprentice, Luke De Garis, to work alongside Martin Tyler – one of the youngest members of The Scottish Dry Stone Walling Association – to learn the complex set of skills needed to build the different types of dry stone walling across Scotland. 
Both Luke and Martin feel that this apprenticeship will help to secure the future of dry stone walling in Perthshire, which is a dwindling heritage craft. Luke will not only learn the ins and outs of his craft, but will learn the necessary business skills required to keep dry stone walling a viable business for future generations.
Christmas comes early for two heritage crafters
Grace and Luke join five other QEST craftspeople who have received funding from Allchurches to carry on their endangered crafts, including:
• Agnieszka Nalazek – a traditional musical instrument maker.
• Matt Jacques – an architectural leather-worker who trained as an apprentice and now has a permanent role at Bill Amberg Studio.
• Elaine Wilson – completing an apprenticeship as a tapestry weaver at Dovecot Studios.
• Katalina Caliendo and Alison Wooten – a clay sculptor and an Iconography painter.
Paul Playford, Grants Officer for Allchurches Trust, said: “We’re delighted that we have had the chance to support seven talented craftspeople through QEST. Both Luke and Grace are doing their part to keep vital heritage skills alive and we can’t wait to hear about their progress as they learn more about the intricacies of their craft and preserve and share their skills for future generations.”
Deborah Pocock, QEST CEO, added: "We are hugely grateful to Allchurches Trust for their continued support of our Scholarship and Apprenticeship programmes. Their funding makes a real difference to the lives of these makers, and now more than ever it's vital to ensure the development of their skills and the future of their crafts."
Birds in flight stained glass window
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