Ecuadorian and Scottish Silversmiths Knowledge Exchange

Activity: Other activity typesPublic engagement and outreach - public lecture/debate/seminar


During Spring of 2023 (20 March- 30 April), two of the Ecuadorian silver masters who participated in our Keeping the Hammers’ Voice Alive research project in Ecuador (funded by the British Museum under their Endangered Material Knowledge Programme (EMKP)) travelled to Scotland and engaged in a 4 week plan of activities related to knowledge exchange. They are: Fernando Buitrón and Gabriela Andrade

During their stay in Scotland, the masters gave demonstrations of the Ecuadorian unique way of raising silver vessels “from the inside” to an audience of junior and senior well established British silversmiths; b) delivered a masterclass and gave dedicated demonstrations to DJCAD undergraduate and postgraduate students and members of staff; and c) visited a number of workshops and engaged with established British silversmiths to share knowledge and skills (see below).

Out of the dissemination of preliminary research findings from the Keeping the hammer's Voice Alive project that makes visible their culturally-based unique knowledge of silversmithing, the Scottish Goldsmiths Trust and Marchmont House invited Fernando and Gabriela to the launch of their new Silversmithing Workshop on 24th and 25th March 2023, and offered them a residency to act as the first silversmith residents at the newly opened Workshop. During the residency, they worked on their own pieces and engaged in mentoring and demonstrations of the unique Ecuadorian/Andean hammering method of making vessels to the three young silversmith residents (three recent UK graduates, one of whom from DJCAD).

This exchange of knowledge and related activities is having an important impact both on the Ecuadorian silversmith masters and their practice, and on contemporary British and international silversmithing practice and scholarship, both in terms of scholarly debates on, for example, “material onto-epistemology”, and of curricula design and teaching of jewellery and metalwork design universities programmes.

Because this method needs only a few basics tools, it is a frugal method very helpful especially for students and recent graduate. Please see Instagram posts by a current DJCAD jewellery and Metal design student who after attending the Ecuadorian silversmith master classes decided to “adopt” the Ecuadorian way of making vessels and is making demonstration on Instagram:

The travelling, stay and plan of activities of the Ecuadorian silver masters were possible thanks to the financial contribution from the Society for Silver Studies, Marchmont House,
DJCAD, EMKP Keeping the Hammers voice alive Project.
Period22 Mar 202330 Apr 2023
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Silversmithing knowledge exchange