Artist Frances in the running for £15,000 prize

A Scots artist is in the running for a prestigious prize – and needs your votes.

Frances Priest, who is based in Edinburgh, is a finalist for the John Smedley Craft Prize.

In 1784, John Smedley made a conscious decision to produce garments using only the finest noble yarns and the most honed of craft skills, creating a product that was artisan in nature and superior in its quality. This is a legacy that continues to this day and forms the inspiration for our John Smedley Craft Prize.

All entries to The Craft Prize have been asked to showcase how their ethos, inspiration, and portfolio of work champion the John Smedley values of British, design, quality, colour, craftsmanship and community. Entries are accepted from any discipline and are a showcase of the artists existing work and their involvement with The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust either as a current scholar or alumni.

Whilst the entries have been shortlisted by their panel of judges, the final vote is down to the public.

The prize for the winning entry is valued at £15,000 and includes a cash prize, bespoke commission of works, an exhibition in London, UK and Kyoto, Japan including travel and accommodation plus the chance to retail their products across John Smedley’s UK & Japan stores. The winner will also benefit from business mentoring sessions with each of the judges.

Frances trained in ceramics at Edinburgh College of Art and is currently working from Abbeymount Studios in Edinburgh. She is the only Scottish maker represented in the shortlist.

Frances said: ‘I am really excited to be one of five craftspeople from across the UK to be shortlisted for The John Smedley Craft Prize.

Some of Frances Priest’s work

‘Over the past twenty years I have developed an internationally recognised practice in ceramics with work represented in private collections across the globe and UK public collections including The Fitzwilliam Museum, The Victoria & Albert Museum and The National Museum of Scotland.

‘Alongside my studio practice I undertake projects in the public realm, most notably the The Tiled Corridor for The Royal Edinburgh Hospital and ‘Patterns of Flora – Mapping Seven Raasay Habitats for Raasay House on the Isle of Raasay.

‘By working to develop the ambition, application and scale of my own work, and in turn seeking to learn from and collaborate with exemplary My work explores cultural histories of ornament and decoration through the creation of ornately inscribed and intricately glazed ceramic art works.

‘Central to the work is an interest in pattern books as a means of documenting and disseminating languages of ornament. The work I make reflects upon the ever changing interpretations of ornamental motifs as they move between drawing and material form. My studio ceramic practice is complemented by sited projects which use languages of ornament to explore interwoven elements of place and community. Projects have taken the form of residencies, design commissions and permanently sited installations.

‘Working in the public realm affords me the opportunity to present my ideas in different contexts and share my passion for pattern colour and ornament with a wider audience. I aim to make works packed full of detail, colour, familiarity, intrigue, joy, care, tactility, richness and most of all space for the viewer to pause, connect and revel in the beauty of the hand made.’

You can find out more about the prize and how to vote for Frances HERE. Voting closes on 3 March.

Learn more about Frances and her work at