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Blog | Interview with Scott Smith - Scout to Silversmith
By Aaron Wappler
We caught up with Scott Smith who went through the sections with 1st Portsoy and Fordyce Scout Group as a Beaver through to Network on how Scouts helped him become an award winning silversmith. See the full interview below.
Scott is now finishing his silversmithing and jewellery degree at the world famous Glasgow School of Art. Scott won the 2D Silversmith of Year award at what is regarded as the jewellery Oscars in consecutive years, 2020 and 2021, now presents his “Boorachie” collection.
Using carving skills which he learned in the Scouts, and learning to appreciate the abundance of natural material available in rural Aberdeenshire, his jewellery pieces reflect the practices traditionally favoured by the ancient Scottish craftspeople who lived along the coast line.
Q)When and how did you first get involved with Scouts?
A) I joined Portsoy Beavers at age 6 as soon as I could with my friend Steven George. I wanted to spend more time with him outside of school and was very interested in how much outdoor activities Portsoy Beavers offered. I wasn’t a sporty guy so Scouts seemed like a great opportunity for play. After joining in 2004, I never left and am still involved today!
Q) What is your most memorable experience with Scouts and why is it that one?
A) My fondest memories of Scouting are participating in the Blair Atholl Jamborettes. These two-week long camps in the heart of Perthshire provided me the most fun, social and activity-packed weeks of my teenage years and continue to be the highlight of my summer holidays. I made many lifelong friends at these camps and spent hours building lasting relationships in the Scottish outdoors under the fantastic leadership of engaged volunteers. After turning 18, I continue to return to Blair Atholl Jamborette as a Leader and run a ‘Make a Silver Ring’ workshop for the participants to introduce them to traditional jewellery making techniques.
Q) How did Scouts prepare you for your studying/career in Silversmithing?
A) Scouting continues to inform my work ethos and investigation mentality in my design career. As a Scout, I was encouraged to explore a problem from a variety of viewpoints and develop creative problem skills that were transferable across day-to-day life. The challenged we faced in teambuilding exercises or survival skills continue to inspire me to push the boundaries of my thinking and build my own solution to a hurdle. Scouting also gave me the social skills and confidence to emerge myself in any group of people and make friends instantly, making moving to Glasgow and starting a new course and job in the city a breeze.
Q) Which skills/qualities learned in Scouts do you still use today in your Silversmithing?
A) As well as Scouting giving me the confidence to use a plethora of tools, the importance of organising my workshop and how to approach new equipment safely, I also learnt the process of Wood Carving at Portsoy Scouts. Our leaders taught us how to use a range of wood whittling tools to carve tent pegs, cooking utensils and ultimately: a spoon. I later revisited Spoon Carving during the first national lockdown after moving back home to Portsoy due to the COVID-19 pandemic and fell back in love with this meditative process. Spoon Carving allowed to me engage with the abundance of natural material surrounding my childhood farm and reconnect with the area I call Home through this Scouting Skill. The repetitive process of removing wood chips one motion at a time was something I found comforting and reminiscent of my time in Scouting and evolved into a crucial process informing me Degree Collection.
Q) Did your experience Scouts have a role to play in you receiving your awards and if so why?
A) Scouting gave me my confidence for public speaking and the skills needed for networking in a creative context. I continue to use these skills when speaking to important members of the industry or liaisons with potential clients.
Q) What difference have volunteers made on you personally, throughout your time with the Scouts? 
A) Volunteering has informed the way I look at my design practise and where I belong in the creative community.  Through the confidence and social skills I have developed or the creative problem solving and practical solution finding through exploration and experimentation, Scouting has and continues to play a crucial role in my development. I do not know where I would be without the skills learnt at Portsoy Scouts or the personal attributes volunteering has played in my development and graduating year.
Q) What difference have volunteers made on you personally, throughout your time with the Scouts? 
A) The volunteers at Portsoy developed my communication skills, confidence and ability to overcome problems with their dedicated and unwavering attention to progression. The time and energy that the volunteers gave to all of us continues to inspire me to this day and I am forever grateful for all their hard work. It is because of their passion for Scouting and interest in the development of young people that I had such a positive time at Portsoy and grateful for all the practical and personal skills they taught me.
To see more of Scott's work check out:


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