Ben Ryan the 16th winner of an annual competition run by the Goldsmiths Company, which focuses on young silversmithing students in Britain today - was faced with a brief of producing a presentation dish for a specific species of fish. On Thursday, 25 November 2010, Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales
was presented with his Mytilidae Dish (so called after the Latin name for the family of small salt water mussels), which will enter the Museums collection.
Ben Ryan was chosen as the winner of the 2010s Young Designer-Silversmith Award organised by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, London and therefore given the opportunity of making a piece of silver in a leading silversmithing workshop for a national museum collection.
Bens work was overseen by master craftsmen Carl Padgham and Andrew Putland in their workshop at Pluckley in Kent. He worked with one of the largest blanks of silver the workshop had ever seen but, according to Andrew Putland, quickly grasped the technique:
For a young lad of 22 to hand raise such a large piece, he really has done a fantastic job. Ben has been a good student, listening to comments and acting on them, working really hard and putting in long hours to make sure the piece met our high standards of craftsmanship. Ben is a good silversmith and I wish him well.
Ben was presented with his Winners Certificate as well as a cheque from the Goldsmiths' Company by Mr Michael Galsworthy, the Prime Warden of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, during the event at National Museum Cardiff on Thursday. The dish was then given to Mike Tooby, the Museums Director of Learning, Programmes and Development for Amgueddfa Cymrus permanent collection. He said:
We are continually looking for ways to enhance our art collections and accepting this silver dish on behalf of the people of Wales is a privilege. We hope well be able to display Ryans work regularly thanks to new contemporary art galleries which will open at National Museum Cardiff next July.
The judges of the competition - Professor Richard Himsworth, Chairman of the Modern Collection Committee, Mr Grant Macdonald, silversmith, Mr Rod Kelly, artist-silversmith, and Miss Annamarie Stapleton, Consultant to The Fine Art Society, London, were also present.