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Time to shine for a trainee clockmaker and a bookbinding scholar

Books made by Kate Rochester

Time to shine for a trainee clockmaker and a bookbinding scholar

Published: 07 February 2022
We’re delighted to announce that two new craftspeople will benefit from Benefact Trust’s Heritage Grants Programme, as they finesse their skills through the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST).
A Benefact Trust Heritage Grant of £114,000 was awarded to QEST to fund a number of scholars and apprentices, enabling them to hone their traditional skills and help to preserve the UK’s rich heritage for future generations.
Kate Rochester is the latest Trust funded QEST scholar, with over 20 years’ experience as a bookbinder, specialising in limited editions.
Kate has been awarded a QEST Scholarship to do one-on-one training with master bookbinder Nicky Oliver, of Black Fox Bindery. With the training she will receive during her QEST Scholarship she will be able to extend her practice to offer innovative collectable bindings and exhibit her work, specialising in hand-printed/painted papers and sustainable materials.
Kate aspires to pass on her existing skills and the new fine binding skills she is yet to master. She wants to excel in both design and knowledge of all aspects of fine binding, so that she can lead the way, inspire future generations, and attract young people to the craft.
Kate Rochester, Bookbinder
Trust Heritage funding is also supporting QEST apprentice, Alistair Lewis, who will be training in the art of Horology – learning how to build and restore clocks.
Alistair has previous experience in conservation and restoration, and is now studying under the mentorship of Crispin Maciejewski, who has had a 40-year career in the intricate craft. The QEST apprenticeship will enable Alistair to undertake a full three-year apprenticeship, learning the traditional skills of a clockmaker with a focus on the restoration of fine British antique clocks.
As well as the in-workshop training with Crispin, Alistair will also study the British Horological Institute’s three-year distance learning course in clockmaking.
Alistair anticipates that, when his apprenticeship finishes, he will continue working with Crispin for a few years, but he aspires to open his own workshop before too long. Clockmaking is an endangered craft on the HCA Red List and there are not enough people learning the skills to sustain it. Alistair’s ambition is to train a new generation of clockmakers and keep the tradition alive.
Kate and Alistair join eight other QEST craftspeople who have been supported by Benefact Trust Heritage funding, including:
  • Attilio Medda and Marlene Lagnado – a calligrapher and an apprentice stonemason.
  • Grace Ayson– a stained-glass artist.
  • 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.
Clock restoration by Alistair Lewis

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