At Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) our students are lucky enough to be supported by a great range of external bodies, from national institutions to local businesses.

Hamilton & Inches are one such of our valued supporters. Having opened their doors in 1866, Hamilton & Inches have an acclaimed reputation in silversmithing.

In 2014, they launched a Scholarship Programme at ECA to support undergraduate Jewellery & Silversmithing students as they progressed with their studies. Each year the programme offers two £1,500 scholarships to fourth year students, as well as a paid internship at Hamilton & Inches enabling the students to work alongside professional jewellers and silversmiths.

Recent recipients are newly graduated Rowena Hayter and Caroline Gordon, who received the scholarship in 2016.

Bella Hood and Jan Warnock, current third years, have been granted the scholarship this year. Bella is currently on a summer internship at Hamilton & Inches and Jan completed hers earlier this year.

To celebrate the success of the scholarship, three senior executives from the company came along to the ECA Degree Show to meet the students they support and to view their work; Mr Stephen Paterson, Chief Executive, Mr Jon Hunt, Technical Manager and Ms Debbie McKernan, Head of Jewellery, visited the exhibit and the students.

Jon Hunt described seeing the scholars work on display:

"I am very proud of the scholarships we offer. It is inspiring for us to have students in the workshop and be able to offer them advice and encouragement as required, as well as giving a more practical help. Given the wide range of skill we have in house it has become more evident over the years that the scholars really appreciate their time here.

To see the scholars graduating and exhibiting in the end of year degree show is always a proud moment, and the standard of work and creativity that we have seen from both Caroline and Rowena this year is really exciting. I am looking forward to following their careers."

Caroline Gordon's work
Photo: Shannon Tofts
Some work from Caroline's graduate collection
Caroline Gordon's work
Photo: Shannon Tofts
Some work from Caroline's graduate collection

Rowena and Caroline, 2016/17 recipients of the scholarship, described the benefits of joining this respected team of experts.

Rowena said of her time there: 

“My time at Hamilton and Inches was so beneficial to me, as well as a real pleasure. Working on some of their classic pieces allows you the luxury of seeing your improvements as you go along - making a batch of thirty necklaces for example, lets you see your progress just in one day which is not something you really get whilst at University.

Being surrounded by experts - like master chaser Panos Kirkos - is also incredibly helpful and they never made me feel silly for asking questions. They were very patient and so knowledgeable that you were constantly learning new things. It was also nice to see what it's like working in a larger workshop and you get a feel for how businesses like that are run. I learnt so much in my time there without even realising it."

Caroline too recalled her time there, both jewellers acknowledged how their experiences there had long lasting effect: 

"This opportunity was one I will always be grateful for. Each day I was learning from jewellers and silversmiths who are masters in their craft. They gave their time and expertise to ensure while I was there I grew in skill and confidence in my own abilities, giving me confidence in my practice and allowing me to make and create in my 4th year more effectively. I was also exposed to the wider happenings of the jewellery and silversmithing industry; It even lead to meeting Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth as part of their 150th anniversary!"

Want to know more about the Hamilton & Inches Scholarship? Find out more here.

Are you interested in studying Jewellery & Silversmithing - BA (Hons) at Edinburgh College of Art?

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