Pewter, Perception vs Reality

Today I personally met Lisa Slovis Mandel. Actually, it was
intentional. We had spoken several times prior, and were working on a
workshop. Today it was for an in studio interview. That is secondary
to my question. I have always had an elitist attitude towards "fine,"
during my developing days, it meant China, porcelain dishes, sterling
flatware and linen table cloths and napkins. We were actually poor,
but my parents were European, and all the fine stuff came over on the
boats with them.

I was carefully taught to value quality, and realize quality had
value. Along he years chandeliers were replaced by neon, good wood
furniture by formica and stainless steel, hardwood floors by
linoleum. Not in our home. I was not allowed to buy a pearl
necklace, but was told to save for better, my sweet 16 gift was a
cultured pearl necklace, which I still own. Enough about that,
needless to say, I had little respect for tin or pewter, Today I had
an attitude check, what Lisa brought into the studio could proudly
take its place in my Breakfront amidst all the Sterling serving
pieces and such in there. What I saw and held was finely executed,
finished to perfection and clearly worthy. Yes it all was Pewter.

I listened to the interview and enjoyed the chat room participation
of another artist who also includes Pewter in her repertoire,
Maureen Brusa Zappelini. I know Maureen and she is an excellent
smith as well. So now I pose this question, why does Pewter rarely
get a second look, or am I missing something? What determines the
articles place, the metal or the craftsmanship? The design or the
karat value?

I know, following my mother’s advice, I have benefited from karat
value in refining, not taking the time to try to sell on artistic
value. I ask because frankly, I don’t know. Do we emphasize pewter
as a less expensive metal, or do we focus on the exquisite
craftsmanship of the artist?

Today, listening to Lisa and Jay, I understand lead in pewter is no
longer an issue. Is it one for the buying public, or is it a
non-issue. What is the consensus, if there can be one, on this
matter? The interview between Lisa and Jay is on our web site as
well as archived on blogtalk, there is even a video on MetalsmithTV.
Thanks, Terrie