The hand hammered copper bathtubs from Santa Clara del Cobre are a work of art. They are a thing to touch and feel. And they are also a thing to arouse your instinctual sense of beauty. Every carving and every engraving is a sight of allure and mystery.
Santa Clara del Cobre
Santa Clara del Cobre will always be Mount Sinai of coppersmithing. They will always be the prodigal heirs of the mystery of this art. Every year the valley hosts a competition to electrify the coppersmithing community and remind them to improve their innovation through mutual growth and understanding. The competition is called ‘Concurso Nacional de Cobre Martillado’ and it happens every year in Santa Clara.
The mountain village of Michoacán is filled with copper shops in every corner culminating on the plaza, which of course has a gazebo top of copper. Every doorway is shimmering, lustrous, European styled copper hammered piece of art, standing proud and tall of its master. Yet, the most prized possession of this small but abundant town is the beautiful texture and color of the raw copper that is found here as a natural mineral in these lands. Its unexpected beauty and distinctive finish takes its observer by surprise.
Copper from Santa Clara del Cobre
The copper is available in the sheet, tube and solid block forms to be chosen according to the items that are to be formed. The copper is heated to a malleable state and the fire is cajoled through huge furnaces to achieve this purpose. Now chargers and plates are fashioned through hard labor of hammering mallets of multiple sizes and designs on an L-shaped anvil to create vessels. They are also created on a pounding stand.
A large vessel will be created after thousand of perfect hammer blows over a span of many days. Except for Sundays, Santa Clara is always filled with cling noises of hammers. The master will heat and reheat these vessels in bathtub close by with the help of tongs. As the hissing sound confirms the heat of the vessel and perils of this art, these sights are a way of life and profound childhood memories for those who were raised in the area.
The Copper of Santa Clara is expensive, and perhaps even extravagant when compared with folk art’s usual prices. Yet, copper is still an international trade commodity and the prices are fixed every year in January. These pieces are priced first and foremost by weight, then by artistry and dexterity. A hammered copper bathtub is considered fine quality if it has thick girth to go with artistry.
Credit: Source by Rinda L Martin
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