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TITLE
John Fraser, Inverness silversmith (2 of 39)
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_SILVERSMITH_02
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
PERIOD
1970s
CREATOR
John Fraser
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
2217
KEYWORDS
jewellery
jewelry
craftsman
craftsmen
metalwork
silversmiths
audio

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John Fraser, an Inverness silversmith, served his apprenticeship in the 1930s with Medlock and Craik, watchmakers and jewellers at 6 Bridge Street, Inverness. The firm later had premises in Exchange Place, and Queensgate.

In this audio extract from the 1970s, Mr Fraser recalls how, after struggling for some considerable time with the engraving technique, it all finally clicked. The photograph, courtesy of Inverness Museum & Art Gallery (IMAG), is of one of John Fraser's silver pieces - a Clan Fraser badge with the motto, 'Je Suis Prest' (I Am Ready).

'And then for two years we had a fight. Oh, not the first year, but the second year, I think nearly every odd Saturday, every second or third Saturday, he'd have my books in his hands and he'd say, 'Well I don't know, I think myself it'd be better if I got rid of you, because, you know, you're just an absolute dunderhead. We just can't get through to you at all'. And I was doing straight lines at the time and I couldn't do a straight line, and I'd been doing plates and plates and plates in zinc and copper. But no, I just couldn't get this straight line business at all. I couldn't understand it. I was either cutting down too deep or I was too light, and the line was too thin and he used to get exasperated about it, you know? And eventually I began to get the hang of it. But he was very worried about the development and how long it had taken to do the straight line; it was much longer than he had expected at all. And he was putting me to night school - I had to go to night school - two nights a week, whether I liked it or not. In those days we worked 'til seven o'clock remember, from nine o'clock 'til seven at night. So I hadn't got much time. By the time I got home and got my tea I couldn't go to the pictures, you know, couldn't afford to anyway. But the interesting thing about it was that I remember we were doing birds, and we were doing the feathers, and he was showing me how to outline the feathers and that, you know, and I'd just been about two years there and he came through and he says, 'Well, well' he says 'I never thought you'd ever make it'. But he says, 'You won't look back now'. And what it was I really don't know, but he must have seen something because from then on I'd no more problems. I developed from that time on'

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John Fraser, Inverness silversmith (2 of 39)

INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona

1970s

jewellery; jewelry; craftsman; craftsmen; metalwork; silversmiths; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: John Fraser, Silversmith

John Fraser, an Inverness silversmith, served his apprenticeship in the 1930s with Medlock and Craik, watchmakers and jewellers at 6 Bridge Street, Inverness. The firm later had premises in Exchange Place, and Queensgate. <br /> <br /> In this audio extract from the 1970s, Mr Fraser recalls how, after struggling for some considerable time with the engraving technique, it all finally clicked. The photograph, courtesy of Inverness Museum & Art Gallery (IMAG), is of one of John Fraser's silver pieces - a Clan Fraser badge with the motto, 'Je Suis Prest' (I Am Ready).<br /> <br /> 'And then for two years we had a fight. Oh, not the first year, but the second year, I think nearly every odd Saturday, every second or third Saturday, he'd have my books in his hands and he'd say, 'Well I don't know, I think myself it'd be better if I got rid of you, because, you know, you're just an absolute dunderhead. We just can't get through to you at all'. And I was doing straight lines at the time and I couldn't do a straight line, and I'd been doing plates and plates and plates in zinc and copper. But no, I just couldn't get this straight line business at all. I couldn't understand it. I was either cutting down too deep or I was too light, and the line was too thin and he used to get exasperated about it, you know? And eventually I began to get the hang of it. But he was very worried about the development and how long it had taken to do the straight line; it was much longer than he had expected at all. And he was putting me to night school - I had to go to night school - two nights a week, whether I liked it or not. In those days we worked 'til seven o'clock remember, from nine o'clock 'til seven at night. So I hadn't got much time. By the time I got home and got my tea I couldn't go to the pictures, you know, couldn't afford to anyway. But the interesting thing about it was that I remember we were doing birds, and we were doing the feathers, and he was showing me how to outline the feathers and that, you know, and I'd just been about two years there and he came through and he says, 'Well, well' he says 'I never thought you'd ever make it'. But he says, 'You won't look back now'. And what it was I really don't know, but he must have seen something because from then on I'd no more problems. I developed from that time on'