Tinsmith: An Ordinary Romance

The forgotten craft of tinsmithing is rediscovered in Tinsmith: An Ordinary Romance, an exhibition of finely crafted sculptures contrasted with historical tinwares..

The exhibition emerged through jeweller Barbara Heath’s research into the history of tinsmithing in Queensland, and merges a lost trade, contemporary jewellery and architectural adornment.

Rediscovering the simple skills of tinsmithing Heath has produced a range of objects from magical talismans for the home to architectural decorations. These works are presented in Tinsmith alongside historical tinwares that evoke nostalgia for bygone eras and demonstrate the significant role tin and tinsmiths once played in society.

Barbara Heath said colonial tinsmiths in Australia made basic wares from pots and pans to tubs and buckets.

“They used to follow the pioneers and supply the needs of miners, farmers and settlers as they journeyed further and further afield.”

“Tin was once as common in our everyday lives as plastic is today. Now, the very word ‘tinsmith’ evokes nostalgic, romantic connotations, and suggests nomadic fixers of things, outsiders, tricky, silver-tongued salesmen who charmed farmers’ wives with their glinting wares.”

Heath’s works in the exhibition are distinctly modern, but embody the romance, rustic simplicity and honesty now associated with the forgotten trade of tinsmithing. She also pays homage to tinplating, once a secret technique at the centre of a lucrative international trade.

Event Details

15 September 2012 - 11 November 2012