Carving A Future

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The search is on for an apprentice to learn the timeless art of letter carving. The Lettering Arts Trust, launching its ninth apprenticeship, seeks applications from young artists keen to learn this specialist craft and its intricate techniques. 

The apprenticeship will be from early 2018 and continue for two years.  Generously funded by Mirabel Cecil, it is named the Lettering Arts Trust Sebastian Walker Apprenticeship in remembrance of her brother.  The apprenticeship is a close collaboration between the Trust, the Master and the apprentice. Teaching the apprentice is also a valuable opportunity for the Master to reappraise their own habits, good and bad, and to improve their own skills.

“We look for someone who is enthusiastic to learn, ambitious and keen to become part of a unique and highly skilled craft that is part of a wonderful heritage tradition.” Says Sarah Harrison, Lettering Arts Trust Executive Director.

The work of Chris Elsey, one of the Masters engaged by the Trust to teach their seventh apprentice, Tom Sargeant.  This piece, ‘A Note on Skill’, features in the Trust’s current exhibition ‘In Concert’ on display in the Snape Maltings concert hall gallery until December 23.

The writer Mirabel Cecil has also endowed the charity with a legacy to finance two further apprenticeships, a wonderful gift which will help to safeguard the future of this art. Mirabel became a patron of the charity in 2000 when she commissioned one of the country’s finest lettering artists, Gary Breeze, through the charity’s commissioning service, Memorials by Artists, to design and carve a plaque commemorating Sebastian. This memorial to a "frater dilectus", a beloved brother who died all too young in 1991, is installed in the floor of a side aisle of the medieval parish church of St. Mary's, Wiveton in North Norfolk. The 2018 apprenticeship commemorates Mrs Cecil’s  brother, Sebastian Walker, 1942 - 1991. Sebastian was a pioneering publisher of childrens’ books and his company, Walker Books, with its celebrated logo of a bear holding a shining candle, is recognised the world over. 

Gary Breeze was the first Master engaged by the Lettering Arts Trust in 2002 when its apprenticeship scheme commenced. Mirabel says “It seems only fitting that this charity which supports the longstanding art of lettering and encourages new talent in this field, should themselves be generously supported in order to do so. It is vital that this art should flourish into future generations"

Apprenticeship applications should be addressed to The apprenticeship is for keen, talented students at the start of their career. The only qualifications necessary are an aptitude for art, a thirst to learn and a commitment to study for two years. The apprenticeship Scheme gives the student a comprehensive training in all aspects of letter design and letter carving.  As well as studio work, an important aspect is to clarify the practicalities of running their own studio.

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