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A pre-Hispanic smithing tradition thrives by recycling copper scraps into exquisite folk art

The town of Santa Clara del Cobre in the Mexican state of Michoacán is celebrated for the copper craftsmanship of the indigenous Purépecha people. Its reputation for copper production dates to pre-Columbian times, and the craft still dominates the local economy today, with some 80 per cent of the town’s workforce active in the trade. In Mexican Handcraft Masters: Copper, a workshop led by the renowned coppersmith Abdón Punzo Ángel fashions striking objects from recycled copper scraps, a process that requires brute force and finesse in equal measure. Born of a long line of coppersmiths, Punzo Ángel hopes that his children will dedicate their lives to the family tradition, even as he acknowledges that he’s still learning. The film is part of the Mexican director Mariano Rentería Garnica’s short documentary series on artisans in Michoacán.

Director: Mariano Rentería Garnica

Producer: Jorge Díez

Sound: Kevin Pineda Gould

19 July 2018

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