The Louisa Waterford Prize

Furniture maker Rob Elliot, from Selkirk in the Scottish Borders, is the first-ever winner of the Louisa Waterford Prize.  His stunning Flow Desk and Chair installation was unanimously selected for the 2022 Prize. The multi-disciplinary work of the 24 finalists was exhibited at Lady Waterford Hall over three days in early May.

Winner Rob Elliot takes his inspiration from the grain of local elm. He only uses trees that have died naturally, preserving their beauty through his hand-crafted furniture. He gives them a new beginning, where they will go on to be admired and appreciated for many more years.

The recent storms, which destroyed so many trees in this area, make Rob’s work all the more poignant.  Rob has been around timber his whole life. As a boy, he spent hours making things from wood in the carpenter’s shop of his father’s sawmill.  After leaving school he entered the family business, where he learned more about the various species of native hardwoods.

 He says: “While watching them being processed and admiring their grain, it struck me that it was a shame to see this beautiful material being cut up for such basic uses as boards and fence posts. It was at that point that I had the idea about creating furniture that would best show the natural shapes and forms of the wood.”

He left sawmilling behind and since 1987 has been making furniture, specialising in elm, building up a portfolio of striking pieces.

The winner and runners-up were selected by a panel of eminent judges: Dr Peter Burman, Companion of The Guild of St George; Kate Mason, CEO of The Big Draw; Harriet Joicey, Chair of the Lady Waterford Hall Trust, and Vicky Smith-Lacey, the Ford & Etal Estates Curator.

Elliot was presented with the £500 prize by Peter Burman. The works of glass artist, Michael Hunter and artist/printmaker Hannah Forsyth were highly commended by the judges.

 Lesley McNish, founder of the Louisa Waterford Prize says “His beautifully crafted piece is a fitting winner of this inaugural Prize. McNish supports artists and makers through her arts’ events organisation The Tin Shed: www.thetinshed.co.uk

See more of Rob’s work at www.robelliotfurniture.com

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