New scholarships see artistry, faith and nature take centre stage

10 MAR 2020
A ceramicist with a passion for the natural world and a talented iconographer will be given the opportunity to develop their unique craftsmanship thanks to funding from Allchurches Trust.
In 2019, Allchurches announced a £114,000 grant to the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) to fund two scholars and an apprentice for three years. Elaine Wilson was the first to benefit, and is currently thriving on an apprenticeship with the renowned Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh, benefiting from a specialist learning experience in the skills required for tapestry weaving.
Now Katalina Caliendo and Alison Wootten have been announced as the two Allchurches Trust scholars and are ready to embark on exciting journeys that will open their work up to new audiences.
Katalina considers clay a material for both creating aesthetically interesting art objects and for facilitating vital explorations of our relationship to and place within, the material and natural world.
Her ‘sympoiesis’ vessels, created using porcelain mixed with mycelium and yeast and left unfired, are living sculptures which continue to change and transform. For her imbrication and coppiced works, finger-sized pieces are removed from one lump of clay and placed in overlapping layers; a single process which generates two separate forms – stimulating discussions on the connection between the human built environment and nature.
Katalina is continuing her innovative investigations of clay on a Masters course in Ceramics and Glass at the Royal College of Art. The scholarship will fund her additional research, including up to five site-specific field-work projects throughout the UK in rural natural areas to excavate and transport materials to be incorporated into her ceramic sculptures.
She said: “I draw inspiration from collaborative making processes and inter-woven dynamics that exist in nature. I intend to continue to research how craft facilitates vital explorations with our relationship to the world and how we situate ourselves within it.”
Katalina Caliendo's work - Sympoiesis with Alliums
Alison Wootten is a painter and has managed her own commercial practice for the last 13 years, producing abstract canvases which express her Christian faith, and exhibiting in solo and group shows across England and Wales.
The Allchurches-funded QEST Scholarship will enable Alison to undertake the three-year Icon Painting Programme at the Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts with renowned Iconographer, Aidan Hart. The course offers a firm foundation in the techniques and theology of panel icon painting; training students to paint skilfully executed panel icons in egg tempera that adhere to the traditional principles of the icon tradition of the Orthodox Church.
The scholarship will enable her to change course in her art practice; moving away from a Fine Art approach of producing paintings for an exhibition/gallery driven market into professional iconography – undertaking commissions for painted icon panels traditionally and authentically made in the Orthodox tradition.
Tim Carroll, Chairman of Allchurches Trust, said: “We’re delighted to support the work of QEST and, through that support, to play our part in protecting traditional skills. The talented apprentices and scholars that are part of the QEST family are a vital investment in the future of the heritage and arts sectors and it’s always a privilege to see and hear more about their work. We look forward to following Katalina and Alison’s journeys as they continue to hone their exceptional talent.”
Christ Pantocrator - Painted in egg tempera on gessoed panel with oil gilding
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