'a' conversation with Chris
Following our conversation with George at the end of last year, the next in our Faces of AMT series sees us talking to his father Chris about the shot blasting process that results in the textured surfaces of our rings, bracelets, tie bars and cufflinks to name a few. Sharing his passion for motorbikes and having instilled a strong work ethic in George from a young age, Chris has been paramount in supporting his son through the running and building of the business and encouraging his community work.
Chris and George have now passed the business onto another father and son team (more to come on them in the next few months!), but are still working alongside them to degrease, decorrode, decarbonise, clean and burnish metals for both their regular clients and bespoke commissions. Championing British industry and honing their expert post production techniques, we are excited to continue to work with the team on the raw, blasted and engineered finishes seen in our collections of men’s accessories and women’s jewellery - with new blasted pieces launching very soon! Today we catch up with Chris about his role, his son and the business.
“I try my best, I drive the van and I try not to drive George mad,” Chris tells me. “I’m George’s dad and I’ve been working here for a few years now. So far we’re still talking.”
“For about twenty years I had a motorbike shop in Camden and I also worked as a Community Warden for the council for about nine years. It was a good job, but then I came to work with George. It’s been great to bring my love of motorbikes into my work with George as we clean a lot of engines and vintage car parts here.”
“Shot blasting was something that George got involved in initially. There are a lot of shot blasters about, but it’s rare that you get a blaster who understands the machinery and the parts that they are blasting. Who’s an engineer or a mechanic.”
“I can honestly describe my job as being really, really nice”, he continues. “When I used to fix people’s motorbikes, you always did your best but inevitably there were problems that came up. That’s the nature of the job. With this job though, everyone comes around and says that the work was amazing.”
“George is communicative and writes beautifully – he writes for a motorbike magazine and works on community projects outside of the factory. He shows the kids how to repair bicycles, motorbikes, recycle things out of wood - kids who are potentially, but not always, failing at school. He teaches them to ride bikes and takes them out riding. It’s great. For someone who doesn’t have any self-esteem, they can suddenly go back to school and say, ‘I can ride a motorbike’.”
“I think George got his engineering spirit from sitting in my shed over the years!”, he adds. “There was this one time when I found a sidecar and a BMX bicycle just bolted together. He was ten. His mum is a well-respected teacher and wasn’t too sure about him riding around on it at first, but then one day they went to Sainsbury’s and she realised she could put shopping in the sidecar! He’s always been very hands on from school.”
Be sure to follow our Faces of AMT series to read more stories like Chris’ – learning about the people and the experts behind our collections. You can also learn more about our processes by clicking here or following us on Instagram @alicemadethis.
You can browse our full collection of men’s accessories here.
Photography by JKF Man.