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Tinsmithing by Paul Moyo
11 April 2009
Paul Moyo's story has a ring of medieval times when craftsmen travelled the countryside plying their trade and selling their wares. From father to son, trades were acquired almost by induction with each generation adapting to the changing circumstances, and adding to the breadth of the work. But beyond that, Paul's story shows some of the enterprise that exists everywhere in South Africa and is raised to the fore when necessity becomes that proverbial mother of invention.
Ultimately he has found himself here in Cape Town after a number of stops along the way. He has now set himself up producing a range of tin items that offer many obvious uses, but also many more less obvious ones that are seen by the minds of imaginative buyers.
Paul will be demonstrating his craft at the Easter Country Craft Market on 11 April, showing the skill he acquired from years of assisting his father, skills that now earn him his living and his respected place in society as a productive craftsman.
Paul hails from Mafikeng at the far northern reaches of South Africa. There his father earned his living making tin containers for farming communities before plastic and other products began to swamp the markets. Initially helping his father with his business in the local community, he later spread his wings and made and sold containers of all sorts in the Free State, again mostly to farming communities who appreciated the durability of his tin wares.
From water containers like baths, to maize-meal bins and food tins (scoff tins), there was always a call for his work.
With time, Paul felt the lure of the city and its greater appreciation for the finer and more decorative items of his range. Consequently his was drawn to Cape Town where he began to do the craft market circuit, assisted by his wife Momery who helps with the sale of his work. A renewed interest in galvanised iron containers in home decorating, has helped him to establish his business.
In Paul's range of items, he has the obvious baths, buckets and jugs in a wide variety of forms and volumes. But he also produces elegant vases and metal tins of all sizes from “cute” to “wow”, that he decorates with embossed motifs to add more appeal to their already decorative forms.
With wire to reinforce the forms, and deft but firm techniques required to fold, roll and produce watertight joints, this is not a trade for the faint hearted. And any number of Paul's containers will make fine Easter Egg hideaways, so Paul invites all visitors to view his collection and see what uses they can be put to.
Much goes into their making that seems relatively simple. But never be mislead by the seemingly effortless work that results in such perfect looking forms. This is a demonstration not to be missed.
At the Easter Country Craft Market of Saturday 11 March, Paul will be showing some of his craft that allows him to do the seemingly impossible of forming sheets of cold galvanised iron into a variety of attractive and useful shapes and containers.
Be there to see him at work and view his collection.
Last Updated 15 October 2016 18:17