Lessons in Determination and Care


“At first I was extremely disappointed not to get straight into the trade, but I didn’t let it hold me back. I wanted to get on!’’ — Grant Macdonald 

Following Grant’s first foray into the world of silversmithing, he spent his weekends experimenting with the equipment in a patient of his father’s, Fred Ingram’s workshop. Two years later, the day before his sixteenth birthday, he travelled into the City of London to register his own sponsor’s mark, GGM, at the London Assay Office in Goldsmiths’ Hall. Shortly thereafter, Grant took a Saturday job at W. Hinds, a retail jewellery shop where he was taught to sell and repair rings. Some of these repairs were taken home to the small workshop he has set up in the basement of his family home. Returning these precious objects, repaired and resized, to their owners, he learned to talk to people from all walks of life.



With the combination of practical experience and his Saturday job, Grant began to build up a collection of tools and equipment, and continued to  prepare himself for an application to the Central School of Arts and Crafts at Kingsway in Holborn, London. After an interview with the Head of the Silversmithing and Jewellery Department he was offered a place on the pre-apprenticeship course, which he started as soon as he could - only to discover, a year later, that he was just three weeks over the age limit for apprenticeships.

Missing out on the apprenticeship was an enormous set-back to his intended career as a silversmith, but the young Grant was resilient and determined. Armed with examples of his work, he pursued a diploma in silversmithing, at the Sir John Cass College’s School of Art in Central House in Whitechapel, where most of the classes were taught by professional craftsmen and designers. The standards were high. Teachers would offer instructions once, and then expect the students to get on with the task in hand. Accidents, such as the breaking of a piercing saw through carelessness, were frowned upon, and Grant took care to pay attention to many rules of silversmithing - a practical craftsman named Frank Beck taught his students to use the hammer sweetly, to check continually as work progressed, and to love the material - although silver is a forgiving material, mistakes are difficult and time-consuming to correct.

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