Roberto Castro Hernández, Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán
Roberto Castro Hernández is a master coppersmith from Santa Clara del Cobre Michoacán, a town that has specialized in copper fabrication for hundreds of years and has gained international recognition over the past century. Roberto's work is outstanding. He has developed his own patina techniques, a property that brings out the depth and range of colors possible in copper. He began playing and working with metal when he was ten years old and soon began experimenting with different techniques. As he gained experience, he became the creator of his own pieces. His beautiful work is some of the most distinguished in the region. His cousins continue in the tradition of preserving the family's unique designs.
Roberto has participated in numerous exhibitions and his copper art has been admired and awarded. He has won numerous awards in recent National Competitions; for two consecutive years he was invited to the Santa Fe Folk Art Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as a representative of Mexican copper art. His work is appreciated and frequently requested by architects and interior designers working in contemporary Mexican construction, a new architectural expression based on the preservation of Mexicanness through innovation. Roberto's pieces are exhibited in hotels throughout the country.
In Santa Clara del cobre's work, each piece is made by hand using the method used for centuries, hammering a single sheet of copper into shape over a hot forge. The piece is then reheated and immersed in very cold water to achieve reddish oxide tones. The work is decorated by stamping. A large number of tools are used in this art form: chisels, pliers, tweezers, scissors, punches, mallets and hammers of all types and weights. The raw material is purchased from a number of places where copper waste that is constantly discarded, from car parts and wires, is found.
Since the copper in Roberto's parts is left in its natural state, it requires minimal care. The patina protects the surface from oxidation, so there is no need for polishing. If the piece becomes dirty, it can be washed with soap and water.
Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán