Craft Bursaries

Craft bursaries are awarded in March each year.
Applicants must be professional makers working in Scotland.
Each bursary is a sum of £5000.
Applicants must have worked in their craft in Scotland for at least 5 years.

The Trust is happy to consider applications that look into strategic research and development projects, be that through the learning of a new skill, the opportunity to attend a course that would significantly improve existing skills, or residency to achieve these objectives.

There is no set application form.
Applicants should submit:

  • a brief description of their current practice to date (no more than 500 words)
  • a proposal of what they would like to do if they receive the award (no more than 750 words)
  • a full estimated breakdown of costs for the project
  • A full CV
  • Up to 6 images of work that reflects their most recent practice (jpegs no larger than A4 300dpi)

Applications should be submitted by Wednesday 10th March 2021 Upload to dropbox


In 2002 an exhibition of the first 5 years of the Award was held at the National Museum of Scotland.

In 2012 an exhibition of the the first 15 years of the Award was held at Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh.

Alison Kinnaird,  winner 1999

Alison Kinnaird,  winner 1999

Inches Carr Trust Bursary winners

  • 1997 Malcolm Appelby, Peter Chang, John Creed
  • 1998 Susan Cross, Jack Cunningham, Maureen Edgar
  • 1999 Alison Kinnaird, Archie McCall, Jessie Ann Matthew, Keiko Mukaide
  • 2001 Jacki Parry, Geoff Roberts, Ann Marie Shillito, Simon Ward
  • 2002 Gillian Forbes, Susan Mowatt, Graeme Crimmins
  • 2003 Mark Andrew Powell, Valerie Pragnell
  • 2004 Jane Kelly, Lindean Mill Glass
  • 2005 Dierdre Nelson
  • 2006 Michael Lloyd
  • 2007 Paula Thompson
  • 2008 Grainne Morton, Jo Barker
  • 2009 Craig Mitchell
  • 2011 Andrea Walsh, Charonne Ruth, Joanne Thompson
  • 2012 France Priest, Geoffrey Mann, Linda Green
  • 2013 Michelle de Bruin, Paula Cooper
  • 2014 Jen Deschenes, Susan O'Byrne
  • 2015 Jennifer Kent, Lara Scobie, Annie Woodford
  • 2016 Jennifer Gray
  • 2017 Lynne MacLachlan- Eastwood, James Rigler
  • 2018 Jonathan Pang
  • 2019 Carrie Fertig, Isabelle Moore, Jeff Zimmer
  • 2020 Florence Dwyer, Naomi McIntosh, Dawn Youll

James Rigler: The value of the Inches Carr Craft Bursary

Working in ‘Zero Gravity’

At the point I made my Inches Carr Trust application, I had some scant knowledge of Sketchup, a free 3D modelling programme, which I had used to laboriously plan the rough layout of my show at Tramway, Glasgow. However, I knew that I wanted to learn to use programmes that were compatible with digital manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing and laser/CNC cutting. I also wanted to be able to introduce digital making and drawing skills into my ceramic practice to allow me quicker making processes, to help me escape the pressure of slow, labour-intensive pieces.

Digital tools have brought a liberating, unnerving freedom to my practice. Through my exploration and adoption of more digital drawing and making tools, I have discovered a thrilling new breadth to the ambitions and destinations of my work. Once I became sufficiently fluent in digital modelling techniques, I was able to begin designing work on a scale and in materials that I would once have thought were far beyond my reach. Although ceramics was (and remains) my material mother tongue, I feel I have been given the space to imagine other outcomes for my work and, as such, other locations, uses and manufacturing processes for what I make.

Knowledge and skills

My first step upon receiving my award was to book an intensive day’s training on Illustrator, a 3D drawing programme that is used to create digital cutting files, and Rhino, a programme used for 3D printing. By purchasing the advanced version of the programme, I was able to export my files in formats that were compatible with CNC, laser-cutting and CAD programmes. I have continued work with this programme to plan ambitious and large-scale work which would have been impossible otherwise.

Case Study 1: Towards a Complex Architectural Language

The first project onto which I was able to apply my newfound digital skills was a new body of work prompted by a trip to China. During my residency at the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute, I was struck by the calligraphy emblazoned across the city. Advertising, propaganda, signage, slogan: the architecturally-unremarkable cityscape was decorated and enlivened by this layer of script. On my return, I wanted to explore this idea of an architectural language, and decided to create an ‘alphabet’ of geometric forms that I could combine in different ways to create a range of ‘words’: forms that evoked familiar objects but shared a common starting point.

Selecting a test profile that provided a simple extruded form, I then used the sledge to create a series of different geometric shapes that I could mould in plaster: 5 rings of diminishing diameters; two squares; a simple straight run and a U-shaped arch. I used the same profile to create a series of balls and cones.These moulds formed the basis of the press-moulded clay elements that I assembled into a variety of forms, which were then combined into larger assemblages after firing. This allowed me to work much more quickly than previously, as I had already invested time in the design process and could therefore make objects with confidence that they would combine well together. The completed pieces were documented in the gallery space at Glasgow Sculpture Studios and exhibited at Marsden Woo Gallery, London .

Case Study 2: New Territories

Perhaps the most profound application of the digital methods enabled by the Award can be found in my commission for Aberdeen’s Look Again Festival in 2018. Presented with the vast emptiness of Marischal College Quad, I chose to focus on the Gothic architecture of the building and Betjemen’s description of it as ‘a forest of pinnacles’.

This project was of a scale and complexity far beyond anything I had previously attempted. I was able to conceive, design and gain project approval entirely digitally, where the technology allowed me to design the structure to be flat-pack constructed and assembled on-site. I was also able to send the design files directly to a fabricator who built the basic elements to my specification, with the painting and fine details then added by myself.

Case Study 3: Site-specific Communication

My installation, ‘Primitive Forms’, was commissioned by Aberdeen Art Gallery for the foyer to Cowdray Hall, a concert venue within the Aberdeen Art Gallery complex. The building has undergone a huge redevelopment, and I wanted to add some sculptures that engaged with this sense of a building being ‘remixed’, and that reflected the complexities and ambiguities of the existing neo-classical architecture.

What was particular striking about this project was the crucial need for clear, legible communication of ideas and proposals between a large number of parties.

I have never worked with so many different stakeholders and my digital design processes proved to be my saviour, enabling me to create clear and consistent renders of different aspects of my proposals, and to easily reconcile different aspects of the objects with each other I am pleased to say that the installation of the work went smoothly and that the institution are thrilled with the finished commission.

My Inches Carr Trust Craft Bursary has had a profound effect on my working practice.

Share this page: