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Promising futures ‘set in stone’ for two talented crafters

Example of stonemasons work

Promising futures ‘set in stone’ for two talented crafters

Published: 28 June 2021
A calligrapher and an apprentice stonemason are the latest craftspeople to benefit from Benefact Trust’s Heritage Grants Programme, as they master their art and ensure ancient skills aren’t forgotten.
An Benefact Trust grant of £114,000 is continuing to support craft scholars and apprentices through the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST).
Attilio Medda is the newest Allchurches funded QEST scholar, specialising in calligraphy, illumination and lettering, working on illuminated manuscript books, presentation scrolls, family trees and props for filmmaking.
The talented craftsman studied traditional, modern and experimental techniques and founded his own calligraphy studio in 2017.
Since then, he has done commissioned work for many organisations, including Fox UK Productions, and has continued to expand his skills through various professional courses.
The QEST scholarship will allow Attilio to deepen his knowledge of English and European calligraphic tradition with a two-year programme at the European Lettering Institute in Belgium, with the hope to inspire new generations of calligraphers to adopt more traditional principles rather than following modern trends.
“When I first held a pen in my hand, I didn’t know calligraphy would become my career, but immediately I felt it would be the key to reach the best version of myself.”Attilio Medda, QEST Calligraphy Scholar
Open book with ornate writing - Sheriff elect - Christopher Hayward
Benefact Trust Heritage Funding is also supporting QEST apprentice, Marlene Lagnado, who has been working as an apprentice stonemason with Matthias Garn Master Mason and Partner since October 2020. This experience has given her the opportunity to work across multiple sites in Yorkshire and learn from master craftsmen.
The QEST apprenticeship will give Marlene the opportunity to train with two master masons, improving her skills in specific areas. She will also learn about the archaeology of historic stone buildings and the methods by which they were built.
For the first two years Marlene will only be able to use hand tools (no power tools) to ensure she learns traditional skills as well as persistence, patience and practice. Her ambition is to become a master mason herself, conserving historic buildings across the UK.

“I understand how important conserving old buildings are. They are our heritage, our history, our culture.”Marlene Lagnado, QEST Apprentice Stonemason
Attilio and Marlene join seven other QEST craftspeople who have received funding from Benefact trust to continue their traditional crafts, including:
  • Grace Ayson and Luke De Garis – a stained-glass artist and a dry stone walling apprentice.
  • 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 – completed an apprenticeship as a tapestry weaver at Dovecot Studios.
  • Katalina Caliendo and Alison Wooten – a clay sculptor and an Iconography painter.
Marlene Lagnado

Marlene Lagnado

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