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Posted Thursday 15 April 2021
Staff and students at Kingston School of Art have been paying tribute and remembering the enormous contributions of senior technician Elaine Wilson, who passed away recently.
Elaine worked at Kingston School of Art for more than 25 years, specialising in ceramics. She was also a successful artist.
Generating a nurturing, creative atmosphere in the ceramics department, Elaine inspired many students to continue their artistic practice after graduating and helped many build their own careers with her continued support. She cared deeply about helping students fulfil their potential and kept in touch with many of those she supported in the workshops, a number of whom became close friends.
Born in Kilmarnock, Scotland, she studied BA Sculpture at Duncan of Jordanstone School of Art in Dundee, followed by an MA at the Royal Academy Schools where she was awarded the RA Gold Medal. She also worked as a senior lecturer in fine art, specialising in sculpture at City and Guilds.
Dean of Kingston School of Art Mandy Ure said Elaine was an accomplished ceramicist and valued colleague. "When I first met Elaine at Kingston we quickly bonded over some shared histories – growing up in Kilmarnock, laughing about our school trips to the local art gallery and museum, The Dick Institute, and sharing anecdotes about tutors we both knew from Duncan of Jordanstone, where Elaine studied fine art just before me," she said. "I was hugely impressed when Elaine told me she was related to Robert Colquhoun – just about the only visual artist I'd ever heard of to come out of our town.
"Elaine worked with students, with school and community groups and with Stanley Picker fellows and was just beginning to be able to make full use of the new ceramic workshop at our Knights Park campus. She was committed to her role and to her artwork. I'll miss her smile, wit and sharing stories about our common experiences."
Kingston School of Art's Head of Workshops Richard Trupp spent many years working alongside Elaine and recalled the fun and humorous moments they shared. "Smiling and joking with the students was commonplace. Elaine was the centre of it all and what was created was a thriving, creative, enabling culture of practitioners," he said.
"Elaine will be deeply missed by all her colleagues at Kingston School of Art. Her legacy lives on in the thousands of students she has helped and inspired, her fine career as an artist but, most of all, as a very kind, thoughtful and caring person."
Director of the Stanley Picker Gallery and Dorich House Museum David Falkner said Elaine was one of the most enthusiastic and helpful colleagues he had worked with. "We are very proud Elaine was also able to present work of her own with us at Dorich House Museum in 2015, as part of the Histories in The Making programme celebrating the history of Kingston School of Art, where her subtly provocative ceramic pieces sat playfully amongst the museum collections. Elaine was always a genuine pleasure to work with and her generosity and optimism will be greatly missed."
Stanley Picker Gallery participation curator Natalie Kay worked alongside Elaine at a variety of events and workshops. "Elaine shared her unique skills and knowledge with numerous school children, students, and community groups attending Stanley Picker Gallery workshops – always patient, smiling, funny and with something interesting to say," she said. "Everyone enjoyed meeting Elaine. She was a ray of sunshine as well as a talented practitioner. We will miss her very much."
Outside the studio, Elaine was a keen member of the University's Dragon Boat Team, Study as She Goes, raising money for the University's hardship fund and contributing to a sense of community spirit in the borough.