Making a bowl
the surface that is created by hammering from inside the item.
Nicola forges her own chasing tools and stores them in sealed plastic containers to keep then dust-free. She draws her design with a fine-tipped marker pen then taps fine steel tools along the lines with a repoussé hammer, forming indentations. “I liken it to drawing with my tools. It’s delicate work. You need a steady hand and good eyesight,” says Nicola, who also uses fine Dremel dental tools for texture and detail. “They are good for getting into tricky places and it is helpful to clean off scratches and fire scale.”
If the bowl has a base, it is soldered on before polishing. Nicola dons an apron and gloves for the polishing process (11 and 12). She first uses Tripoli black nugget to cut out any scratches and fire scale, then washes the piece and moves on to the second polisher, where a fine rouge is applied to the spinning mops to give a highly polished finish (13).
It takes Nicola 10–12 hours to make a small bowl such as the one pictured here. To view more of Nicola’s silverware and see a video of her at work, check out roakesilver.com.
“We need to have people making things that last more than five minutes”