The art of tinsmithing with Rebecca Morgan

23 Feb 2023

From buckets to watering cans, coffee pots to models of Ned Kelly and a range of animals and birds, Rebecca Morgan has made them all – mostly out of tin, sometimes from other light metals.

For those who may not know, tin (chemical symbol Sn) is a silvery metal obtained mostly from the mineral cassiterite, chiefly mined in Malaysia, which is roasted in a furnace with carbon.

Tin is soft enough to be cut and shaped easily – if one has the skills. Rebecca is one of the few practising tinsmiths in Australia, having served apprenticeships as a Tinsmith and a Fitter & Turner. She also has a teaching degree and has taught Industrial Technology & Design for over 30 years, been a head of department, and served as Deputy Principal in two schools.

Tinsmithing is sometimes described as tinkering, hence the name of Rebecca’s artisan business in the Brisbane suburb of Alderley – Tinker’s World. In recent times, because of COVID-19 restrictions, the resident tinsmith has not been on duty in this unique workshop and gallery. However, Rebecca is confident she will be bouncing back in new premises in 2022.

In 2017 Rebecca Morgan was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship to travel to Ireland (the home of the original ‘tinkers’), the UK, Canada and the USA to study what she describes as ‘the nearly lost art of Tinsmithing’.

In Rebecca’s hands the much-valued skill will continue to have a long life, and she is dedicated to sharing her skills with the next generation of tinsmiths.

You can read Rebecca’s Churchill Fellowship report here.

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