The Goldsmiths’ Company has awarded its 17th Young Designer Silversmith Award to Shaun Grace of UCA Rochester.
At a reception held at The Victoria & Albert Museum in London, a pair of stunning silver flower vases made by the winner of this year’s award, Shaun Grace, was presented to Mr Martin Roth, Director of the V&A Museum for the museum’s permanent collection.

The award presents a unique opportunity for a silversmithing student to design and make a piece of silver for a national museum collection under the guidance of a master silversmith. Organised by the Goldsmiths' Company, the accolade focuses on young silversmithing students at university in Britain today and is open to any student under 30 on a BA or Master’s degree course.  The Award scheme was started in 1994 as an initiative to encourage students to show their artistic individuality in silver and to give them the opportunity to perfect dexterity of craftsmanship under the guidance of a master silversmith.


The design brief changes from year to year.  On this occasion the students were asked to submit designs for a pair of complementing silver vessels that had to interact with each other as well as effectively displaying flowers of a particular species.

The standard of entries was extremely high but the judges were particularly impressed with Shaun’s entry which was inspired by the strong architectural forms of the Sydney Opera House and designed specifically to compliment the strong flamboyant forms of the calla lily. Declared the winner, Shaun was subsequently given £4,000 towards the cost of translating his design into silver and the Goldsmiths’ Company arranged for him to do this in the workshop of leading silversmith Steven Ottewill, based in Ashford Kent.


Once the winning design is made the scheme decrees that it be presented to the appropriate major museum nearest the college for its collection of contemporary decorative arts.  As Shaun Grace is a graduate of the University for the Creative Art at Rochester his piece was always destined to be presented to the V & A.

It took Shaun six weeks in the workshop to create this difficult piece of hollowware. Flat sides are always difficult to produce. However Shaun embraced the challenge and spent many hours soldering, burnishing, filing and finally pumicing to create these truly technically difficult pieces.

Shaun completed a metalwork degree at the University for the Creative Art at Rochester and is now doing a post-graduate course at Bishopsland.  When he has completed his studies he hopes to establish his own silversmithing workshop.

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