IN THE PRESS
ROHINI WAHI writes...
I haven’t had a guest post in a long time but when friend, fellow-journalist and kindred spirit Cosmo Brockway suggested he write about a talented friend of his silversmith Hal Messel for the site – i knew he has an eye for the beautiful and the soulful like myself so of course agreed. Over to Cosmo and his lyrical intonations (scroll to the end of the post to learn more about India-loving Cosmo). You can also see more of Hal’s incredible live-work space in the Cotswolds at Architectural Digest.
Silver has been coveted, adored and mined since the mists of time, woven into mythology, fuelling empires and inspiring exquisite creations to adorn temples and bodies alike. While not as rare as gold, this versatile mineral has carved a rich seam through 3,000 years of human civilisation.
Closer to home, Cotswolds-based silversmith Hal Messel is gaining recognition for his striking craftsmanship inspired by the Huguenot silver masters of the 17th and 18th century, with a modern, whimsical touch. His exhibition earlier this year for Craft Week at Pimlico Road’s Colefax & Fowler showroom garnered praise aplenty from press and collectors alike. We met Hal, who works from his glorious converted honey-coloured chapel, surrounded by tools of his trade and relics of the Messel family’s artistic legacy, to hear about his passion for working with the precious metal.
"I believe silver is a really exciting material. It was after all created in the last second of a particularly large supernova occurrence." - Hal Messel
How did your interest/love affair in silverwork begin? Did you apprentice with anyone after studying?
Having left City and Guilds art school I rented a painting studio in Bristol. I saw a weekend silversmithing class advertised and was immediately intrigued. The capabilities of silver fascinated me, I enrolled on a tuition with Steve Wager, an Asprey silversmith of 25 years. Following this, after about a year of almost harassing the celebrated Jocelyn Burton, she gave me a trial month. We got on so well that the month turned into an apprenticeship. It was during both these roles that I learned now invaluable skills of the trade.