Good Friday Conference – Tinsmith

March 26, 2023

Our final speaker was Mr Sebastian Aquilina who is one of the last tinsmiths on the island.  Mr Aquilina has inherited this trade from his father and brothers.  A tinsmith is a person who deals with tinware to create day to day objects.  In Malta the tinsmith is directly related to the production of items for the Good Friday Process such as Armour, swords, and other decorative objects.  This job was a common occupation in pre-industrial times. 

Unlike blacksmiths, tinsmiths do the majority of their work on cold metal and use simple tools to shape the raw materials into the items they would like to attain.  Straight and curved anvils, as well as different sized hammers and hammers with different head rounds, are some of the tools used by the tinsmith.  Some pieces cannot be carved as a single piece and hence need to soldered together carefully. 

Mr Aquilina also stated that apart from good tools, the tinsmith also needed creativity and a good hand.  Practice is also a part of the trade and the technique doesn’t simply come easy.  It comes with a lot of practice.  Unfortunately, this trade is also a dying trade which is very important to our processions and artifacts but not only.  This trade is the backbone of other industries which is now being replaced by machines.

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