“What was important wasn’t the fireworks, it was that we were together this evening, together in this place, looking up into the sky at the same time.” Banana Yoshimoto
Silversmiths and pyrotechnic engineers may appear at first glance to be completely at odds with one another - our craftsmen create works of art that last throughout generations. A fireworks expert is more likely to dedicate their craft to works of art that last a second. But they share a common thread - preserving traditional craftsmanship. Both disciplines have a rich history rooted in the passing down of techniques and skills from one generation to the next, and since Bonfire Night is a time steeped in tradition and history, we’re seizing the opportunity to explore the intertwined histories of silversmithing and fireworks.
Silversmithing: The Elegance of Metal
Silversmithing is an ancient art that dates back thousands of years. Across cultures and civilisations, master craftsmen have been shaping and adorning silver to create objects of beauty and utility, meticulously forged jewellery, tableware and ceremonial objects using traditional techniques passed down through generations.
These time-honoured techniques include hammering, casting, chasing, engraving and soldering. Each step requires skill, precision, and an intimate knowledge of the material. The craft demands a deep understanding of metalworking principles and an artistic sensibility to bring designs to life.
The art practised in our London workshop thrives on preserving tradition. Masters pass down their knowledge to apprentices, who in turn refine their skills over years of practice. By keeping these techniques alive, silversmiths honour the heritage of the craft, maintaining a connection to the past.
Fireworks: The Spectacle of Light
The history of fireworks is equally captivating, and shares a parallel commitment to preserving traditional craftsmanship. Originating in ancient China over a thousand years ago, fireworks were developed to celebrate important occasions, ward off evil spirits, and create awe-inspiring displays.
The production of fireworks requires a fusion of artistry, chemistry, and pyrotechnic expertise. The craftsmanship lies in the careful combination of binding agents, metal salts used to conjure up vibrant colours, and gunpowder. Much like silversmiths, pyrotechnic engineers have a raft of traditional techniques to help them mix, roll and shape these ingredients into specific compositions, resulting in the variety of shapes you’ll see in the sky on fireworks night.
The art of making fireworks has been handed down through generations, with families and skilled pyrotechnicians passing on their knowledge and techniques. Like silversmithing, it’s an apprenticeship-based practice, with novices learning from seasoned masters, perfecting their skills over time and contributing their own innovations to push the craft to new heights.
It may seem like there are worlds between silver and fireworks, but both share a dedication to preserving traditional craftsmanship, passing down knowledge through apprenticeships to continue the art of skillfully manipulating simple materials into exquisite and complex forms designed to delight the viewer. Pyrotechnicians and silversmiths both strive to create beauty by blending traditional techniques and modern technologies - something we’ll be musing on as we watch the skies this weekend.
Explore the beautiful work our craftsmen produce, from objet d’art to ceremonial silver, by taking a look through our online showroom.