We thought it may be nice to find out a little more about Anton, one of the partners in Pruden and Smith. Here are some quotes and thoughts made by him, based on some questions asked when he was interviewed:
1. Is there a quotation you live and craft by?
“We are all born makers: the only thing that stops us is the story in our head about why we can’t”
2. How did you get started and who did you learn from?
I was inspired to become a silversmith by my grandfather, Dunstan Pruden – the silversmith in the Eric Gill-founded Guild of St.Joseph and St.Dominic on Ditchling Common. This Arts & Crafts experience provided an invaluable grounding in the integrity of general craftsmanship, design and lifestyle.
I am passionate about full, integrated craftsmanship: technical mastery of the materials being only one step to excellence in design, business and career.
3. Give us an anecdote about something you have done or made anything for anyone famous?
We were exhibiting at a show in Islington in the 1997 when I was approached by a woman who complimented me on my work and asked whether I ever supplied my work on approval. She said her husband needed some special gifts and usually got trade prices. At this point I was beginning to feel a little impatient though my professional customer service won through and I started to take down her details. She said perhaps she had better give her husband’s address: 10 Downing Street, London W1A 1AA.
I gulped and realised I was talking to Cherie Blair. Yes I would like to send some samples! In the end, Tony said my silver bowls, although so beautiful, were a little too opulent for the Japanese prime minister- I think he was very mindful of the potential criticism a left-wing leader could attract for giving extravagant gifts, trade prices or no!
4. How would you encourage the next generation to get started or to get the most out of your craft.
a) Great craftsmanship begins with what I call ‘observing the results of your actions’. Never just copy the actions of your teacher – use the tool on the materials & look carefully at what you have done, right or wrong: practice & look, over & over again.
b) Apply the same careful craftsmanship you lavish on what you make to your business skills. A spreadsheet is your best tool.
c) Never price your work to include your own free labour. It is tempting to not cost in your own time, especially in selling. If you do, the inaccuracy of your pricing will haunt you for years.