Eilisain aka Lisette in Gaelic

Welcome to my blog, where I document my process in making jewelry, muse on the influence of art and the joy of making beautiful objects.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Coppersmiths of Santa Clara del Cobre

One of the highlights of my trip to Mexico was visiting Santa Clara del Cobre, a small town just outside of Patzcuaro in the state of Michoacan. The town centers around the coppersmiths that create beautiful and magnificent copper bowls and all sorts of other objects.

What is most impressive about these smiths is that they use the most basic, bare-bones tools and yet they create such impeccable and almost flawless objects.

Some of the basic tools the coppersmiths use.

One of our new friends showing us how he uses the spinning lathe
to create little pear and apple vessels.

A hardworking copper smith

Spinning copper on a lathe.

One of the shops with many beautifully chased jars.
It takes roughly 2 days from the copper block to polishing a jar.
That is quite impressive!

whoever made this jar has some killer skills!

When Laritza Garcia and I arrived in Santa Clara we wandered around and visited several of the shops and studios where the coppersmiths display their work, the town is somewhat similar to Taxco in that there are shops on every block that feature copper work. But lucky us, we came across the most generous and humble shop owners, Juan Jose and Rosi that own Cobre el Porton. Lari and I went directly to the back of the shop where two coppersmiths were working on a bowl and they gave us a demo on how they take block of copper and slowly hammer it out into a disk and then a bowl - I was very, very impressed...because here in the states, we just order a copper disk from Rio but not these guys!

A copper disk after a round of forging.

See that steam rising up - that's how HOT it gets

Here's a video Lari shot of the coppersmiths bangin' away...pretty awesome!

So to finish the story, as Lari and I were walking out of El Porton, we were greeted by Juan Jose, the owner of El Porton, and he told us how the coppersmiths of Santa Clara did not learn the trade from visiting Spaniards (back long ago) but that it is a passed on tradition that originated in Santa Clara. Our conversation led us to tell Juan about our school and studies - next thing you know we're having dinner with his wife and daughter. We made life long friends that day. It was such an amazing trip and education on artists from another country.

Hope you enjoyed this post.
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