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Spotlight on the maker:

Lesley Lockett of Slated


From her workshop in Ayrshire, artist Lesley Lockett makes uniquely shaped slate cheese boards cut from the most beautiful natural stone. Arguably one of the most utilised pieces in our kitchen, we are delighted to add some of Lesley’s slate designs to our collection of British-made pieces. Lesley kindly sat down with us to tell us about her work.

Lesley at work

How did you start your business?

I am an artist by trade, graduating from Edinburgh College of Art in 1998, specialising in painting. For around 18 years I painted solidly, exhibiting widely, until my husband and I had the idea of combining our talents to make beautiful products using my design skills and his machining skills. We had so many marvellous ideas, talking and designing until, slowly but surely, Slated was born.

Where does your passion come from for making your slate boards?

Being an artist, I began experimenting with different surfaces to paint on. I explored many different materials such as wood, different fabrics and even glass. As my attention drew more and more to surfaces, I discovered stone and, more specifically, slate. Slate has a wonderful natural surface and each piece is different from the next. As a material, it is lovely to work with and it really compliments the designs I have made with it. I also think that the clean lines my husband makes when cutting it, give it a very smart look.

Were you always interested in creating from childhood?

Yes, definitely. I always had my hands in something as a child. I was never happier than in an Art lesson with an apron on!

Heart Shaped Slate

Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?

I am totally inspired by where I live. I have grown up with a passionate love of our Island country and the many hundreds of little islands that surround it. On these islands there is a profusion of beautiful wildlife, animals and everyday objects that have wonderful outlines. Bizarrely, I love colour, but an artist sees shape in everything, from the clouds in the sky to the birds in the garden. Life is one huge design!

What is your favourite part of the making process?

I do like seeing the designs for the first time when they come back from being cut. To have one of your own drawings made into a slate is thrilling! I also like finishing off each piece. Checking it over and filing the last edges and cutting and attaching the felt.

Slate Cheese Platter

Why is slate your chosen material and where do you source it from?

We chose to work with slate as it is strong, yet cuts beautifully. It is durable, wonderfully tactile with it’s unique textures and gives an elegant, smooth edge; which I love. We source it from our supplier in Cumbria. They select their best, premium slate for us.

What do you love about making in Britain and is there any aspects of British art and design that you love?

Being a British designer and maker means the world to me. My ancestors were wonderful UK designers and makers of a variety of innovative products, that are still in use today and have instilled in me the importance of high quality design and finish; taking time to make sure the piece is right and each individual customer is 100% happy. The UK has a wonderful history, leading the world in innovation. Being part of that history is a great honour.

Having been trained at one of the UK’s leading Art colleges, I have been taught the importance of learning my craft well from the very start; that no part of the creation process is of less importance than another, from the stretching and priming of your canvas and selecting the piece of slate you cut a design from, to the finished painting or slate piece.

Do you have any particular design heroes?

I rather like the work of Salvador Dali, though his paintings would not make good slates! He was an incredible draftsman though, and was ahead of his time, dynamic and a perfectionist.

I do like sharp clear lines with a bit of symmetry. I guess I like modern interiors, which is crazy as I live in a 200-year-old house! I am so influenced by such a wide variety of makers and artists that the mind boggles, but I like artists and designers that use line well.

Lesley in her workshop

Any upcoming projects/ pieces you’re working on that you’d like to tell us about?

There’s always a design on the horizon, I never know what it is until it shows itself. I would like to work in more materials. I love metals and there is endless scope for designs made in a wide range of metals. Again, you get wonderfully clean lines when you cut metal. It can be incredibly decorative.

Anything else you’d like us to mention?

My painting roots have never left me. I am an organic painter in my heart, though working with paint makes me create art in a very different way to working with slate. When I paint my work is very fluid, almost always painting the natural world, using blurred soft lines. by contrast, my designs in slate are clean cut and fresh. I guess this is my Ying and Yang!


Heart Shaped Slate
Slate Cheese Platter

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About the Author


Written by Jane Adams, founder of Author Interiors. LinkedIn:

Read more about her here.

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