The Richard Demarco Prize 2018 has been awarded to an American student whose pepperwood and walnut round table “transcends craftsmanship and design.”

John Grillo, a former business intelligence analyst from Denver, Colorado, was presented with his certificate at a reception in Edinburgh.

The prize is awarded by the celebrated Professor Richard Demarco CBE, one of the UK’s leading arts commentators and a leading advocate for contemporary art, to the student whose work not only displays design and woodworking skill but exceptional artistic talent.

The apron of John’s table is made from some 40 pieces of intricately-cut walnut, with a dozen pieces of pepperwood veneer to form a simple, flowing yet geometrically-complex design.

The unusual veneer, from a tree species native to America and which was once chewed for its anaesthetic properties, created a tactile surface that, said Demarco, “elevated the table from something functional to a work of art.

“It is a piece of furniture that displays real skill but which, like a painting or piece of sculpture, transcends craftsmanship and design to become genuine art,” he said.

Professor Demarco is a former European Citizen of the Year whose contributions to contemporary art have been recognised on many occasions, receiving the Polish Gold Order of Merit, the Cavaliere della Republica d’Italia, and the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres de France.

He has been one of Scotland’s most influential artistic figures for many years through his work at the Richard Demarco Gallery and the Demarco European Art Foundation, as well as his professorship at Kingston University in London.

John will now take his exceptional skills back to his hometown of Denver to set up Rocky Mountain Fine Woodworking.