With the sound of the polisher whirling in the background, a repetitive hammering reverberates the dust from the covered walls. The fine layer of silver dust seals decades of stories and laughter shared. Surrounded by history, with aged and oxidised treasures littering every surface, Colin Tullis is a master of his trade and caretaker of this intriguing workshop.
Colin began his apprenticeship over 30 years ago under the late Mr Fletcher who first introduced Colin to a variety of tools, many of which are still firm favourites and irreplaceable at over 100 years old, handles worn soft and curved by the craftsman’s hand. Such tools have commissioned and repaired pieces for the likes of JoMo Kenyatta, The Vatican, Royal and Military Memorials, and museums. It cannot be denied that history flows through every surface of the workshop. It was with these tools Colin was taught the language of metal.
Refining his craft, Colin learned to mould and manipulate silver to create incredible works of art, as well as restoring pieces of silver to their formal glory and with respect to their historical relevance.
Specialising in antique silverware and silver repair, the roots of the workshop can be traced back to 1497. The Hammermen of Glasgow was already an influential and affluent trade of the Burgess, before it became the city. The Hammermen, whose motto remains, “By hammer in hand all arts do stand,” was incorporated in 1536 to protect their members from infiltrators, while establishing and maintaining standards of workmanship. In the hundreds of years since, many fine pieces were produced for the city and they continue to be returned to the workshop for repair to this day.
It cannot be denied that this silversmith’s workshop is a harbour for both the soul and the senses. It takes a certain eye to see beyond the veil of chaos manifest on every surface, to discover the treasures that sleep under a haze of oxidation in every corner.
With the establishment of a network of craftspeople from a variety of backgrounds, Colins workshop is an archetype for Lost Artisans, both in ethos and practice.