Here at Thomas Lyte, we have an team of six super-talented silversmiths, each with a different story and history in the art of silversmithing. This week we chat with Mark, who started off at Thomas Lyte in IT believe it or not! After learning more and more about the business and the art of silver and gold, Mark started at our East-London workshop as an apprentice. Discovering this interest lead Mark to a whole new career, and a life passion, and we could not be more proud!
How did you get into silversmithing? Is it something you have always wanted to do?
In all honesty, not at all! I didn’t even know about silversmithing as a career until I joined Thomas Lyte. I started as a distribution assistant, and then progressed into IT, then onto personalisation and engraving.
I spoke to Kevin, our master silversmith, who voiced he was looking for an apprentice. We both got on really well and in 6 months I had started working part-time in our London based workshop. I continued this job, initially as an engraver, and eventually started working there full time. I learnt so much from the team, as a whole they have an incredible amount of skills and experience. I can still remember the first thing I crafted on my own, it was a Twisted Spitfire vase!
What is your speciality?
I started working in IT and engraving, the two go hand in hand as I have a solid understanding of the designs and how the engraving will work. I have expanded my skills over my time at Thomas Lyte to manufacture and construction, I have made a few of my own trophies but I normally work alongside the other silversmiths.
What is it you most enjoy about being a silversmith?
The fact if you put 200 hours of work into something, and you can physically see those hours of work, it exists, and knowing you have made it is really enjoyable.
It’s also amazing to know these hours invested created an item that will be treasured and passed down through families and organisations. There isn’t anything better than creating physical presence on the earth.
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
I worked alongside my colleague Lee on 5 bowls for Manchester United, which involved a lot of hand hammering and soldering. Lee has around 35 years of experience as a silversmith, so I made one by myself under his supervision, I don’t think he believed it would go so well! This was an extremely proud moment.
I’m also really proud of my engraving work over the years, working to tight deadlines and to the clients design. Sometimes it can be tricky, and completing a piece the client is pleased with is incredibly rewarding.
What would be your advice to anyone considering a career in silversmithing?
Get stuck in! You never know how good you are until you give it a go, it’s taken me 5 years and I’m lucky enough to be working with some amazing and experienced people. I would always encourage people to try something new, you may not be the best at the beginning but it’s an incredibly rewarding learning curve, and I’m now in a job that I love.