Artesano Copper

The Process

Copper Making ProcessIn making the copper vessels, the artisans of Santa Clara del Cobre use recycled copper. They gather scrap copper wire or buy it from the electric company and then melt it down into large ingots of copper. These ingots are then divided and hammered down into the shape of a fat, hard pancake. Using these pancake sized pieces or "tejos" the artisans begin heating and hammering the copper until the outer edges begin to rise up and resemble a bowl.

The bowl, called a "vaso rĂºstico", is then shaped with hammers, anvils, and stakes made by the artisans themselves out of old automobile parts or rails from railroad tracks. At first the artisans will hammer the piece from the inside, but after the sides are raised, they will place the vessel on a metal stake and begin to hammer from the outside.

Copper Making ProcessThe artisans use fire throughout the formation of a vessel, which needs be heated over and over again. The artisans then very slowly shape the piece by repeatedly heating and hammering the copper vessel until it takes on the desired form.

No soldering, casting, or molds are used in this process, and because of this, each vessel is unique.