“Finding the best craftsmen to work with us has been probably one of the biggest challenges in my career. Without these incredible craftsmen and women the business would never have succeeded as it has.” Grant Macdonald
In the early days of Grant Macdonald, bringing fully-trained silversmiths into the workshop as employees was an opportunity for Grant to share his stream of consciousness design practice with professionals who knew exactly how to render his sketches in precious metal. This ability to work effectively and efficiently helped the company expand - thanks to the know-how of our craftsmen, we’ve been providing silver and gold collections and commissions for clients across the world for over 50 years.
Grant says, ‘Very good craftsmen are few and far between,’ and we’ve filled our workshop with the very best, finding talented tradespeople and advocating the Goldsmiths’ apprentice scheme to train young silversmiths into quality craftsmen. We’re still grateful to all the craftsmen and women with extraordinary skills who have worked for us over these many years, an example of which was the incredible talent of Alan Smith, sadly no longer with us.
I sat next to Alan Smith in the workshop at the Central School of Art during our pre-apprenticeship course (in 1964). Who could guess that after completing his apprenticeship at Silver Workshop in Covent Garden, moving on to work with Christopher Lawrence in Leigh-on-Sea, that he would work for me for thirty-six years? Alan was a clever craftsman as well as engineer in precious metals, he often argued that a design would be made better by making it this way, or that, and he was usually right! He was a perfectionist and totally committed to silversmithing. We worked on so many hundreds of projects together, over thirty 18ct gold swords at a time, a silver dinner service for fourteen people, a sixteen-foot-high silver palm tree and of course the biggest being the Dresden Orb and Cross, which he dedicated six months of his life to making. Even with the time constraints and the pressure to produce something so important, he kept his cool and made it happen.
Grant Macdonald London wouldn’t be what it is today if it wasn’t for the commitment and wonderful craft skills of craftsmen and women of our past and present. Read more about the Grant Macdonald Story in our hardback book, available online.