Gallery open house features copper vessels and vintage Guerrero woodcarvings

By Susan Page

The town of Santa Clara del Cobre near Pátzcuaro in Michoacán is the source of some of the world’s most extraordinary works in copper. For over 500 years, nearby sources of copper stimulated the trade of copper work, and most of the items made were utilitarian. In 1966, an American artist, James Metcalf, and his wife, Mexican artist Ana Pellicer, began working with the coppersmiths, teaching them new techniques and decorative designs and heralding a new era in the town. Through their efforts, the town received the commission to create the glorious flame holder for the Olympic torch for the 1968 Olympic Games held in Mexico City. The impact of these two artists on the coppersmiths  of Santa Clara del Cobre has been compared to the impact of William Spratling on the silversmiths in the town of Taxco in the 1930s.

Galería Atotonilco Open House
Sat and Sun, Nov 30 and Dec 1, 12-5pm
Featuring works in copper and new woodcarvings from Guerrero
Directions to the gallery in our ad in this issue

The copper mines near Santa Clara have since given out, and the artists now use scrap copper for their works. They smelt the copper into large flat disks. Then, using a combination of heat and laborious hammering, they flatten the disks into thin copper and shape them into stunning works of art. Specially-shaped anvils and hammers help the artists create a wide variety of imaginative designs. At some points, they may fill a vessel with wax that hardens to create a surface against which they may work the copper from the outside.

Galería Atotonilco owner, Mayer Shacter, recently visited several of the most widely known copper artists and purchased a collection of their work. It will be featured at the gallery’s open house, Saturday and Sunday, November 30 and December 1, noon to 5pm each day. Refreshments will be served.

Rare Guerrero woodcarvings

Always searching and shopping, Mayer also recently purchased several amazing old masks from the State of Guerrero, the likes of which he has never seen before, even in books. He was surprised to see them, and purchased not only masks, but also ornately carved staffs that are used in dances, and several other vintage woodcarvings from Guerrero villages. Among them are primitive carved wood talismans used by young men and women who are seeking a mate. These are male/female figures that the seeker must bury in a prescribed ritual to encourage the fates to bring them their desired mate!

All are welcome to the Open House this weekend. Directions to the gallery are in our ad in this issue of Atención. Except for this Open House, we are open any time by appointment. Call us at 185-2225.


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