Samantha Moore

Inspired by objects of ritual she is an avid cup maker, combining a love of folklore and fairytale, her vessels often contain stories, interior worlds made out of silver and gold with precious and semi precious stones.  Drawing on Northern Ireland's rich history of literature, oral storytelling and of course - a decent drink! - it is obvious as to why she has recently been deemed one of ‘...her generations most sought after silversmiths.’  Belfast born designer Sam Moore is traditionally trained Silver & Goldsmith. Graduating in 2009 from the University of Ulster and in 2011 from her Masters, Sam consolidated her aptitude for design and making with a 5 year apprenticeship in rural County Down.  Sam has enjoyed success early in her career having work exhibited with the V&A, Somerset House, The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and the National Trust. 

We recently caught up with Samantha to find out more about her practice and what advice she would give to those working in traditional processes.

1. How do you make a more traditional area of design look and feel contemporary?

I suppose I don't really set out with that in mind, my work explores ritual in many guises and I have a small obsession with cups. Much of my work is informed by tradition and archaic practices so I try to create objects that are relevant and occupy the most personal spaces of our everyday lives, thus 'contemporary' is less of a concern than relevance and function.

2. How do you use storytelling within your work?

Silver in itself in one of the most accurate social, economic, political and religious documentations we have, dating back centuries. Fortunately the material comes with a story before its even touched. I try and respect traditions of the craft but not take it too seriously at the same time. I have a little fun with the idea of drinking habits and often employ the works of Irish writers to embroil stories in the work.

3. What are your tips for those looking to set up a business in silversmithing and other traditional processes?

Anyone looking to set up in a traditional craft practice I would advocate traditional training, University is of course valuable but I am a huge advocate of apprenticeships. 

  • So my first tip would be keep your skills up and continue professional development. This will push your design work and keep you relevant.
  • Most creatives struggle with the business side, so teach yourself or find someone who can be that person for you.
  • Find a really good photographer, they are worth their weight in gold and will sell your work for you if you get the right one. 
  • Take time off, I didn't initially and have realized the benefit of good rest. It takes a while for you to have the capital in order to take a day or two to begin with but if you can, Do! Your career will thank you for it.

Image: Reinis B Photography