Glasgow-based watch dial enameller Sally Morrison has won the inaugural Precious Metalworker of the Year Award sponsored by The Royal Mint, including a £2,000 prize and trophy awarded at a special presentation at the College of St George, Windsor Castle, on Wednesday 15 November 2023.
Heritage Crafts was set up 13 years ago as a national charity to support and safeguard heritage crafts skills, and has become well known for its Red List of Endangered Crafts, the first research of its kind to rank traditional crafts in the UK by the likelihood they would survive the next generation.
This new award sponsored by The Royal Mint celebrates a heritage craftsperson who has made an outstanding contribution to working with precious metal over the past year. It recognises a contribution that is far beyond the ordinary, based on a proven dedication to a particular metalworking skill.
Sally Morrison is a graduate of the Edinburgh College of Arts jewellery course and specialises in engraving and enamelling watch dials at the watch company anOrdain. Her interest in champleé enamelling, the art of applying translucent enamel over a usually textured and precious metal background, has made her the best of a very small and elite group of craftspeople working in this field.
The Precious Metalworker of the Year trophy presented to Sally was made by the team of coin designers and craftspeople at The Royal Mint, led by Head of Coin Design Paul Morgan. The piece is intended to take viewers on a journey of metalwork from its molten stage, through hammering, planishing, repoussé/chasing, and finally through to texture and engraving.
Judges for the new award were Leighton John (Director of Operations at The Royal Mint), Dr Rebecca Struthers (the only watchmaker with a PhD in horology), and Paul Morgan (Head of Coin Design at The Royal Mint).
The two other finalists for the award were Rauni Higson, a silversmith whose commissions include the Goldsmith’s Cup for HMS Prince of Wales, and Warren Martin, one of the few remaining silver spinners in Sheffield, a craft that has been listed as critically endangered. Read more about Rauni and Warren here.
The Royal Mint and Heritage Crafts launched their partnership earlier this year, announcing four bursaries at an event held at the House of Lords. Since then, five bursaries have been awarded to those wanting to train or further develop skills in precious metals. As an exemplar of British craftsmanship, The Royal Mint is committed to protecting and celebrating craftspeople and developing skills wherever possible.