Michael has often used staples as decoration on pieces of his work. He first registered a makers mark with the Edinburgh assay office back in 2000 and has been using hallmarked silver staples as repairs ever since. He started using bronze and copper on pieces about the same time.

Since the Cairns bowl was found in 2018 at an Iron Age broch (The Cairns) in South Ronaldsay here on the Island, Michael has been intrigued by this 2000 year old wooden bowl. Not only is it wonderful to have a wooden bowl survive from this era, but to also have bronze repairs was quite amazing.

We were privileged to get the measurements and shape of this fabulous old Alder bowl when it was first discovered and Michael turned an inspired piece out of local sycamore.

Cairns inspired bowl with bronze patch

The original bowl has several repairs including zigzag ones

We also have an African Tazawat bowl with zigzag repairs in our personal collection. These are made from a non-ferrous metal, not bronze, but are remarkably similar to the ones in the Cairns cog. These metal zigzag staples can still be purchased today and are often used by picture framers. Michael has used some in this large Orkney sycamore bowl across a natural bark inclusion.

These bronze repairs have been on Michael’s mind all over the summer and so now he has a bit more time on his hands he has been doing some experimenting with making them in bronze.

Before shaping the strips Michael filed one edge to sharpen it, this helped with hammering them in the bowl.

He is also interested in the rivet and plate type repairs as sown in this other piece.

The results are stunning and effective. Michael’s interest in the use of these repairs continues and he hopes to develop and refining these technics for use in future works.