Silversmiths in Scotland get opportunity to showcase talents at Marchmont House

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The next generation of silversmiths have been given an opportunity to develop their careers and showcase their talents at Marchmont House.

Marchmont House celebrates creativity and is renowned for its art. It is at the heart of a vibrant community of craftspeople living and working in the area around Duns.

The south of Scotland has a long history of silversmithing going back to the early 1500s. These days the art form is being done in surprising ways. It is all part of a collaboration which has seen the old kennel transformed into a silver smithing workshop.

The late Graham Stewart has passed on all of his equipment and workshop tools so that future silversmiths could use and develop their craft while living at Marchmont House.

Marchmont House is home to the next generation of silversmiths in Scotland. Credit: ITV

Ebba Goring, from The Scottish Goldsmiths Trust said: “This project is really based on a very generous gift given to the Scottish Goldsmiths Trust by the late Graham Stewart who was one of Scotland’s most celebrated silversmiths of his generation.

"Sadly he passed away in 2020. Before then he spoke with the trust about using his workshop tools and equipment to support early career silversmiths in Scotland. We are really grateful to have all of his tools and equipment, everything that a silversmith could really need.

“We have an amazing selection of art schools in Scotland where people can do fantastic training but we were seeing that there was not much workshop space available for silversmiths. It is very easy to make jewellery in a silversmiths workshop but not easy to silversmith in a jewellers workshop. We have such an incredible industry here in Scotland with incredible designers and incredible skills.

“What is really lovely about the workshop here is the sense of community. Not only with the other makers that are based here at Marchmont but in the workshops themselves. We have our master silversmith who has over 17 years experience and we have three early career silversmiths."

A range of tools were donated by the late Graham Stewart. Credit: ITV

Ryan McClean is the master silversmith at Marchmont House.

He said: "I shoot silver cups out of homemade cannons and squash them. You spend a long time making them perfect and when you shoot them you don’t know what is going to come out, they all ripple in different ways.

“I come up with ideas through 3d printing. I then copy the piece but using ancient methods. Pieces can take months rather than days. Everything happens slowly and there are rarely surprises because when it is happening at a slower pace you have got time to change things.

“They help me as much I as help them because we are all talking about what we are going to do and are there together to bounce ideas off of each other."

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