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Crossing boundaries: A partnership of craft, industry and science through practice-led research into the patination of pewter

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The colouration of metal has a long and well-documented history. However, the colouration of pewter has not been widely exploited by industry or artists. What knowledge exists demonstrates potential, and therefore possibilities, for future expansion of the field. The research into defining, refining and applying new and evolved processes and techniques aims to provide new opportunities for craft and industry, expanding the market potential of the material through the development of new products. As part of a Ph.D. research project, the author collaborated with the science community and industry to develop a range of new processes and procedures for the colouration of pewter, with the intention to apply the outcomes of the research to new designs for jewellery and giftware. The collaboration necessitated establishment of a constructive dialogue across disparate practices and the integration of diverse research processes and procedures. This article discusses the alliance of craft, science and industry as experienced through a partnership with The International Tin Research Institute (ITRI Ltd), the pewter manufacturing industry and the maker/ researcher. Drawing on the researcher's experience, the article highlights the value of collaborative approaches to craft and contemporary practice, the positive discourse that can exist between industry, external agencies and the craft practitioner, and the impact that relationship can have on design decisions.

Keywords: collaboration; craft; industry; patination; pewter; science

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: South Devon College, UK.

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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  • The aim of Craft Research is to advocate and promote current and emerging craft research, including research into materials, processes, methods, concepts, aesthetic and style. This may be in any discipline area of the applied arts and crafts, including craft education.
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