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Louisa Waterford Prize

2022 Winner - Rob Elliot (Furniture Designer/Maker)

Furniture designer/maker Rob Elliot is the winner of the in augural Louisa Waterford Prize 2022, for his Flow Desk & Chair.

About the Winner

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 by the judgesDr Peter Burnum from The Guild of St George (founder of The Ruskin Prize); Kate Mason, CEO of The Big Draw ( founded by The Guild); Harriet Joicey (chair of Lady Waterford Hall Trust) and Vicky Smith-Lacey, the Hall's curator.

Rob, from Selkirk in the Scottish Borders, takes his inspiration from the flowing grain and forms of the local elm. He only uses trees that have died naturally, preserving their beauty through his hand-crafted furniture, giving them a new beginning, where they will go on to be admired and appreciated for many more years without loss to the environment where they came from.

The recent storms, which destroyed so many trees in the area, makes his 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.

“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 has been making furniture since 1989, specialising in elm, building up a portfolio of striking pieces. 

Rob was awarded the prize worth £500, which included £350 cash, supported by The Guild of St George, Ford and Etal Estates and The Tin Shed.

"His beautifully crafted piece is a fitting winner of this inaugural Prize", says Lesley McNish, founder of the Louisa Waterford Prize and owner of The Tin Shed.

"Louisa Waterford herself an artist, was good friends with many leading lights in the emerging arts and crafts movement of the time. It was something she clearly championed. You only have to look around the village she created at Ford in Northumberland to see the ornate, beautiful work of the architects, sculptors, and designers she brought in to work alongside her."

"It's as if they all used this model village as a shop window for their skills. It must have been even more unusual and unexpected back then in this fairly wild corner of Northumberland, than it still is today.

"She was a great believer in developing sustainability between people, craft and nature. I think she would have loved Rob's work and his business ethos."

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


Louisa Waterford Prize


Here's a glimpse at the 24 finalists and their response to our theme after what's been a difficult two years for many.

Some the images have been cropped to fit our gallery, but you can click on each image to fully see it

The finalists' submissions were exhibited in a special three-day exhibition at Lady Waterford Hall at Ford Village in Northumberland.

We'd just like to say a huge thank you to all the wonderful artists, makers and designers and to the judges who joined us.