MiVT: Ramsey Pualwan - Tinsmith

BARTON, Vt. (WCAX) A Northeast Kingdom man has a machine-like work ethic and a lot of machines that help him work. He's keeping close to his roots with Made in Vermont items from a pre-industrial time.

This is more than just a workshop to Ramsey Pualwan. "You might say it's my TV and beer," he said.

Dozens and dozens of machines, all shapes and sizes, all being put to use. "A lot of people are absolutely astounded when they find out how many pieces of equipment are really needed to make a variety of things," Pualwan said. "I have several machines of the same type, all of which have different adjustments."

What is made with these machines? Tinplate, copper and brass decor. "I love working with my hands and I love creating and I love the creative process," Pualwan said.

It all started when he took a job in the tinsmith shop at Old Sturbridge Village a 19th century living-history museum in Massachusetts. Although he now also works with copper and brass, he still calls himself a tinsmith.

"I have a lot of respect for the history and what made me what I am," Pualwan said. "A lot of the pieces that I make today have an element of Americana in some of them."

Pualwan's pieces can be found at the ArtHound Gallery in Essex Town and the Mac Center in Newport. These days, the best way to get your freshly-washed hands on these items is to contact them, or Pualwan, directly. He sells items for as low as $20, but some pieces can go as high as $1,000.

You're paying more for the time than the material. His 32-inch long bonzai watering cans can take about 30 hours to make, depending on the custom order. "There's a lot of creativity involved in something like that -- a lot more than may first appear," he said.

Like many Vermonters and Americans during this coronavirus outbreak, Pualwan has temporarily lost his full-time job, so he's relying on tinsmithing now more than ever. "It's a lot of fun to come down in here and think about something that's been mulling around in my head for days or weeks or more, or something that just pops into my head," he said.

The gears in Ramsey Pualwan's mind turning like those machines in his shop, his tinsmithing temple.