Fourteen entries were received for the annual Silver Society Silversmithing Prize this year, which was judged by the eminent Silversmith Ray Walton and Curator Emma Paragreen. The entries included a broad range of functional and sculptural work of a high calibre from all over the UK.

The winner this year was Katie Watson with her outstanding, hand-formed ‘Spring Hare’ sterling silver dish. Katie wins £1000 and ECSG membership.

Katie is currently based at Marchmont in the Scottish Borders, where she found inspiration for the piece among the grassy hills and in the abundance of hares running about in the fields. The judges were particularly impressed with the beautiful and detailed chasing, the lovely representation of animals and landscape, the proportions, and the craftsmanship that she demonstrated with her silver and gemstone dish decorated with 24ct Keum Boo foil. They also noted the subtle placement of the hallmarks and applauded her dedication to the process and the development of her technique since winning runnner-up in the 2020 Prize.

Katie took care to ensure that the materials she used were all ethically sourced. The gemstones were ethically sourced from Brazil and were set in 18ct Single Mine Origin Gold, which can be traced to the exact mine from which it came. The Keum-Boo was made with extracted scraps of industrial-use parts for jewellery and dentistry.

Hallmarks and underside of Katie’s Watson’s winning ‘Hare Dish’

Ray Walton and Emma Paragreen very much enjoyed the judging process and this year they also awarded a runner up prize of £250 and ECSG membership to Alewijn Slingerland for his entry ‘Order and Chaos’. Alewijn completed a year at Bishopsland 2022 – 23 and is due to join Grant Mcdonald this year.

Alewijn’s submission was an eye catching sculptural work with an interesting surface pattern and shape. The judges described it as ‘well-made’ and ‘stunning to look at’. They were also impressed by his presentation and by the details of the experiments that he had undertaken and the work required to achieve the final sculptural piece and surface patterns. Alewijn clearly showed where his inspiration for the work had come from, and his proposal was detailed and carefully considered. He provided images, sketches, models, 3D maquettes, CAD and Rhino drawings. The piece clearly showed hallmarks and costings, and also explained how to maintain the piece: he had thought of everything.

Alewijn Slingerland’s ‘Order and Chaos’ piece

The Silver Society was grateful to both Katie and Alewign for coming all the way from Scotland and The Netherlands respectively to join the Silver Society in October at The Goldsmiths’ Centre for the presentation of the prize. Members were shown the two prize-winning pieces and very much enjoyed handling the contemporary silverware and speaking to the makers. The Silver Society looks forward to seeing both Katie and Alewijn build successful careers.