Accomplished artisan adds another string to her bow

14 OCT 2020

A talented instrument maker is the latest scholar to benefit from Allchurches’ heritage grants funding, helping her to hone her craft and share the gift of music.

In 2019, Allchurches Trust announced a £114,000 grant to the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) to fund scholars and apprentices to learn traditional skills and preserve the UK’s rich heritage for generations to come.
Polish born, Agnieszka Nalazek, developed her woodwork skills working alongside her partner to restore salvaged boats – repairing, woodworking and decorating everything from narrowboats, to speedboats, to cruisers!
She’s now applying her craft skills and musical touch to make bowed instruments (from scratch!) on a ‘Historic Craft Practices: Musical Instruments’ course at West Dean College. 
Funding from Allchurches Trust will support Agnieszka in her final year of study, which will be entirely practice-based, so that she can refine and consolidate her skills and prepare to share her craft beyond the college walls.
Baroque violin, copy of Maurin by A.Stradivari and a 17th century bow
Shem Mackey, Agnieszka’s tutor and 1998 QEST Scholar, said: “She’s without doubt one of the most naturally gifted and hardworking students that I have taught, with an exceptional eye for line and form.”
Agnieszka is excited to expand her historic understanding and technical skills to the point where she can make outstanding instruments of unique and recognisable character, standing strong against works by the great craftsmen of the past. Equipped with this expertise, she can teach others the intricacies of this wonderful craft and keep traditional instrument making alive!
Agnieszka joins four other QEST craftspeople to benefit from Allchurches’ funding, including:
Matt Jacques – a skilled architectural leather-worker, who trained as an apprentice at Bill Amberg Studio and is now a permanent fixture after mastering his craft.
Elaine Wilson - a talented artist completing an apprenticeship as a tapestry weaver with Dovecot Studios
Katalina Caliendo and Alison Wootena clay sculptor and an Iconography painter embarking on a journey to hone their skills.
Paul Playford, Grants Officer for Allchurches Trust, said: “It is wonderful to be able to support Agnieszka on her journey as she masters her craft and shares her knowledge with others. All five of the craftspeople we’re supporting are telling a story of our past and passing on ‘would be’ forgotten gems to future generations. Hopefully this will inspire more people to do the same and we can bring fresh life to many forgotten skills.”
Deborah Pocock, QEST CEO, added: “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Allchurches Trust as they support Agnieszka to pursue her dream and become a master craftsperson in early Baroque instruments. Their support is vital to help us continue our work, enabling talented and aspiring makers to further their education and allowing their valuable skills to be passed down to future generations."
Agnieszka Nalazek at work
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