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Kiwi en France: About us

William and Clare

Kiwi en France started out life 20 years ago and 20,000 kilometres away as Just Pewter, in Christchurch, New Zealand. We had a garage full of melting pots and one toddler, this soon became a four car garage and two children, then a factory, four kids and twenty acres of horses, dogs and sheep.

The epicenter of the 7.2 Canterbury earthquake was just down the road from us, and 12,000 quakes later, we decided we were tired of jumping at every rumbling lorry, so we packed up our workshop and came over to France and Clare’s mother.

We use only fine pewter which consists of a precise blend of tin, copper and antinomy; and never any lead. Once a design has been drawn, we mill it in especially hardened wax. Next layers of silicon are built up around the wax model and heated in a vulcaniser which also crushes the silicon to form a round mould. The wax is destroyed in this process, but a perfect space is left in its place. Once the silicon cools, tiny air vents are cut into it to ensure the molten pewter will flow correctly, this is a tricky job to get right, but it makes all the difference.

Pewter is then heated to 260°C and carefully(!) ladled into the newly formed mould, which is now in one of our spin casters and spinning at eight hundred rpm. After a few seconds of pouring, the mould is filled and the machine stops turning. The mould is turned out and the scalding hot pewter items left on a bench to cool.

Once cool, the pewter is hand linished to tidy up any rough spots and then polished either by hand or in a machine or both.

Eh voila!

Our pewter jewellery sells all over New Zealand but now our Maori-inspired designs have a French twist and are proving just as popular here in Europe as they are in New Zealand.

We work with a small tight knit team, William runs the workshop team, while Clare tries to keep on top of our marketing and all the boring admin that William pretends is nothing to do with him.

 

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