A privileged workshop with Dr Trish Woods “Pewter” – Working in group – criteria 1.2.3.


What an exciting opportunity to join the group led by “Dr Trish Woods” to learn more about the amazing metal “Pewter” and all it’s possibilities.

Trish Woods, is a metal smith and has a Ph.D in design. She has presented numerous papers on the potential for colour on tin and pewter, and continues to present her work as a designer-maker. (Contact: thwoods@blueyonder.co.uk

According to Dr Woods,  pewter was found and used  in “Goodrington, Devon, England

A History of Pewter
It wasn’t until the 13th century that significant production of pewter began. By then, pewter was beginning to be widely used for items such as chalices, pilgrim badges and other ecclesiastical items. From the fourteenth century pewter manufacture grew rapidly and almost every market town of any size would have a pewterer in its craft guild. In 1474 the London Pewterers ‘purchased’ from King Edward IV a royal charter for the legal control of pewter manufacture – the birth of the Worshipful Company of Pewterers, which is still going strong to this day.
In these early times pewter contained lead which gave the metal the dark appearance associated with old pieces. Today’s lead free pewter is capable of being brightly polished which gives it its long lasting appeal.(http://www.pewter.co.uk/acatalog/aboutpewter.html 2015)
Pewter is a fast working metal, economical, recyclable uses a low amount of energy so is very ecological. It doesn’t tarnish and was one of the most expensive metals to mine. it is also very soft and easy to work with.IMG_0535

Under Dr Woods careful advice, I cut my first  circle (not an easy task) then smoothed the edges. Then  I began the task of hammering it into shape.

Then the exciting process of colouration, a process that I confess I will have to explore in more detail. First was to draw the design I wanted, use glue to fill it in and then use a nitrate acid solution to give me the finished look.

What is Pewter
Our pewter is an alloy of tin, antimony and copper, tin being the main component at 92% (or in some cases 95%). Tin in its pure form, whilst being the fourth most precious metal in common use today, is too soft for practical use. Copper and antimony are therefore added as hardening agents.
The Association of British Pewter Craftsmen stipulates its members pewter is made up of a minimum of 90% tin, the remainder being composed of antimony and copper, and that a minimum of .026 gauge metal is used ensuring an adequate quality and weight is achieved.

Article worthy of mention – Crossing boundaries: A partnership of craft, industry and science through practice-led research into the patination of pewter. (Craft Research, Volume 1 (c) 2010 intellectual Ltd Craft and Industry Reports. Trish Woods South Devon College,Uk )

This is my finished bowl, it was a  thoroughly informative and interesting experience, something I will always treasure. The photo  doesn’t really do it justice, But  I know that if I have the opportunity to repeat this experience, I will not hesitate. Perhaps my next adventure will be to work with pewter to create jewellery designs. Watch this space! – evaluation



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