Distinct, raw effect. The lustre and shape of pure brass has a wabi-sabi soulful appeal that you can't get with other gold-like or plated metals. This piece has natural irregularities in shape and imperfections in the surface, the mark of a true artisanal piece. Over time, the surface develops a beautiful patina.
For the longest time we have been on the hunt for metal decor made in the authentic traditional hand-hammered way. These homeware are crafted by the thathera community of India, craftsmen specializing in brass and copper.
If you lived in traditional India, you would typically go to a thathera to commission your cooking pots, pans, water vessels and other utensils. You would come to a street with a row of thathera workshops. You might be overwhelmed with loud clanks of hammers striking brass. Years later, when your vessel needs to be repaired or re-coated, you'd come back to your trusted thathera again.
Sadly they have fallen out of favour because of the availability of cheaper, manufactured cookware and the high effort of maintaining traditional metals.
This unique craft of the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Amritsar is the first craft from India to be inscribed in the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
To craft it, the artisan starts with flat metal sheets. They are then cut to shapes and hammered to form. Heating the plates to soften them while hammering and curving them into different shapes requires careful temperature control, which is achieved by using a tiny wood-fired stove, aided by a hand-held bellow, buried in the earth. Vessels are then manually finished and polished. Designs are often made by skillfully hammering a series of tiny dents into the heated metal.
HOW TO USE
Use this graceful tray to organise candles, fragrances or trinkets. Place your brass trinket box arrangement on your coffee table or entryway cabinet. Brass looks stunning when placed on a contrasting natural surface like marble or wood.
For everyday care, wipe with a soft, clean cloth.
To restore its polished look, use pitambari powder (available in NTUC Fairprice) or a DIY mixture of flour, vinegar or lemon juice and salt. Apply the paste on the brass surface and rub. Rinse under running water.
While it's true that traditional metals require more maintenance than commercial metals, you can reap the benefits of beauty and sustainability if you learn to embrace this routine as part of slow living and appreciate the romance of reliving traditional ways.