When I decided to design in copper, the only place to go was Santa Clara de Cobre in Michoacan – where nearly 85% of the population is employed in making copper items. These people know what to do when it comes to copper!
The big question was who, of about 250 tallers – or workshops – would work best for me. After some research I decided to team up with El Viejo Almacen, a 35 year old family business.
The Barba Paz family produces their own designs and has an extensive store in town, but they also do custom work, and the technique of their artisans is exquisite.
My inspiration for my copper pieces fuses a very modern sensibility with the ancient craft of working copper (this area of Michoacan has been mining and copper smithing since the pre-Spanish era by the indigenous Purépecha natives).
I am very proud of the results, especially the surface variations – the copper, silver wash, nickel and brass finishes all develop a gorgeous patina over time which only increases their artisanal hand-made beauty.
I am working on some designs for the spring & I will let you know when they are in the shop!
El Viejo Almacen (the Old Warehouse) has a fascinating short video on the process of smelting and then fashioning the copper – the artisans themselves are incredibly precise. You can watch the video on their site: http://www.elviejoalmacen.mx/en/