The Lifetime Achievement Award
Lifetime Achievement Award 2019: Grant Macdonald
The Goldsmiths’ Craft & Design Council gives a Lifetime Achievement Award Medal (LAA) in recognition of a recipient’soutstanding contribution and commitment to the craft and industry of Silversmithing, Jewellery and the Allied Crafts. This year the Council’s LAA goes to:
Grant embarked on his silversmithing career by chance, being invited by an acquaintance of his father to make a simple silver spoon when he was just fourteen years of age. Courses at the Central School of Art and the Sir John Cass College soon followed and galvanised Grant into starting a silversmithing business in 1969.
From humble beginnings in a north London cellar workshop under his father’s surgery, to then progress to a premises that now overlooks the Goldsmiths’ Centre in Clerkenwell, and for the last fortytwo years, in Bear Lane on the Southbank, Grant has built up and pioneered his esteemed company.
From the onset Grant started exporting his products, which continues to be an essential aspect and backbone of the company, over 90% of Grant’s work is exported around the world. Continually travelling, promoting and selling Grant Macdonald silverware has been a core commitment and significant undertaking to the company’s success. Grant’s son George, the second generation of the business, is progressively taking on this international role and responsibility.
Grant has always been proactive in advancing his manufacturing techniques and processes combining fine craftsmanship and emerging technologies. In the 1970’s he developed electroplating textures on silver, Grant invested in laser technology to cut precious metals in the 1980’s and over the last 15 years he has progressively developed direct casting of 3D printed resin work.
Although Grant still creates his ideas with pen and paper everything is then developed using technology in combination with workshop craft skills to produce high quality products.
Grant believes and commits to the training of apprentices, it’s a great way of growing talent in his workshop. As a Trustee of the Goldsmiths’ Centre Grant has supported and seen a positive increase in the number of apprentices progressing into the trade. He recognises and applauds the huge input and contribution the Centre has made for the industry.
The City of London has always fascinated Grant, the Livery Companies in particular, he has been fortunate to have undertaken commissions for half of the 110 Companies. The Goldsmiths’ Company has been a great part of Grant’s working life, joining the Freedom in 1973 and becoming its Prime Warden in 2008. In 2018 the Goldsmiths’ Company staged an exhibition “Grant Macdonald International Silversmith” that portrayed the many and varied aspects of Grant’s designs over the last 5 decades. He has also served as Master to the Barbers’ Company and has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade. More recently Grant Macdonald was appointed a Royal Warrant as Goldsmiths and Silversmiths to HRH The Prince of Wales, the highest possible endorsement of their work.
Grant continues to be highly driven in his work “I still love a challenge” and what he is most proud of, “like the signature of an artist, my hallmark is on every piece we make”. His contribution and continuing legacy to the industry is significant and unquestionable, a true pioneer, silversmithing entrepreneur and an excellent ambassador of the profession. Therefore, a most worthy recipient of Councils 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.
Lifetime Achievement Award Recepients
2018 Patrick & Vivian Fuller
2017 Caroline Broadhead
2016 David McCarty
2015 Norman Bassant
2014 Gerald Whiles
2013 Christopher Lawrence
2012 Tony Shepherd
2011 Alex Styles
2010 Dorothy Hogg
2009 Stuart Devlin
2008 Paul Podolsky