Crafting the 21st century UK artisan-silversmith: exploring the elements of a silversmith development framework
This thesis makes a contribution to our understanding of how artisan-silversmiths in the United Kingdom develop and become commercially and personally successful by asking the question: Which elements of artisan-silversmiths’ education, craft, business and motivational experiences contribute to their personal success in terms of life satisfaction, creativity, status and success in terms of cultural, economic and skills capital? This understanding is developed through the careful analysis of a body of original research into the motivations and experiences of modern artisan-silversmiths at different stages of their careers. The thesis then draws upon the understanding thus gained to make recommendations as to how the professional development of artisan-silversmiths could be radically improved. The unique findings of this research are the analysis of the distinct, mainly humanist, motivational characteristics of artisan-silversmiths being: skills acquisition, community (friendship), self-direction, achievement, self-respect, public & peer recognition, legacy, craft-mastery and profitability, often with the acquisition of money being a facilitator not an end goal. Through this nuanced understanding the research highlights the elements of an industry ecosystem, within which all stakeholders might consider their position and roles for the development of a holistic development framework, bringing together the three identified pillars of the industry being craft, motivations and enterprise. Combining an inward and outward facing approach the thesis outlines a Silversmith Development Framework managed through the setting up of an Artisan- Silversmith Development Council, which following on from the findings of the thesis may well recommend the need for a different approach to training, business and enterprise teaching indicated by the unique findings of the thesis.