Hammered Copper


Hand-Hammered Copper "Lotus Bowl" (LEO Design)


Copper has been hammered in Mexico since Pre-Columbian times.  Even today, there are certain regions, like Santa Clara del Cobre, where artisans still work the copper—usually in small, home-based "cottage industry" settings.  Fathers and sons (and grandsons to follow) have kept their family workshops going for decades.  Each workshop usually focuses, specializes, in a certain type of work: perhaps small, delicate vessels, perhaps naturally-rendered fruit shapes, perhaps large, "macho" urns and heavy vases.

Each piece is "raised" from a single ingot of copper: repeatedly heated in a bonfire on the end of a tongs and beaten with a series of various-peen hammers.  An anvil might be the only other "tool" used.  Nevertheless, the metalsmith is able to achieve a balanced shape, walls of fairly-consistent thickness, a pleasing hammered finish, and (sometimes) additional surface detail like ribs or graphic decoration.

The copper was once mined in the region.  Today, most of their hammered copper has been recycled and conditioned for reuse.

The "lotus-form" bowl, shown above, could be used for serving dry snacks (like pretzels, candy or nuts), as a flower bowl (using water-soaked florist's foam) or as a catch-all near the door (for wallets, keys and other pocket items).  Click on the photo above to learn more about it.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com)

We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248