Sunday, April 20, 2014

Santa Clara del Cobre




Zócalo, Santa Clara del Cobre


Recently Todd and I had occasion to find ourselves back in our old stomping ground of Michoacán. A friend of ours, who was living in San Miguel de Allende at the time, was in the process of opening a store in Playa Del Carmen, and wanted to go on a buying expedition to the Lake Patzcuaro area before she left. Not ever having been there and knowing no one, she enlisted Todd and I as guides.

We stayed at the beautiful Casa Encantada, just off the main plaza in Patzcuaro, where owner/artist Victoria Ryan treats everyone like royalty.


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We went to Cuanajo, Capula and of course, Patzcuaro itself, but I think the biggest impact to our friend’s expedition was made in Santa Clara del Cobre. It has been several years since I have been back to Santa Clara and I was immediately recaptured by it’s charm and style.



Ohhhhhhh shiney!

Pictured above are some of the wares that can be seen everywhere as you stroll along the bustling streets. A marvel of marketing, the town is officially called Salvador Escalante or Villa Escalante, but is more commonly known as Santa Clara del Cobre, Santa Clara of the copper. Santa Clara is primarily a P'urhépechan town, and these indigenous people have worked copper since the pre-Hispanic era. Bolstered by Don Vasco de Quiroga during the colonial period, The Art And Artisans Of Michoacán, México, they honed their craft to become the leading manufacturers of copper goods in México.




Our friends Juan José and his wife Rosy own Cobre El Portón, in Santa Clara,, a beautiful retail venue just off the main drag, where our friend found some fabulous items for her store. Actually between El Portón, Juan José’s mom’s shop across the street and one other store a little more off the beaten path, I think we raised the economy of that town in a couple of afternoons. A job well done, I love to support the local artisans!


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Out behind the showroom at El Portón is the forge area where the copper is worked and a couple of Juan José’s skilled artisans gave us a great show. Heating the copper to glowing red, they then dip it in cool water and begin to manipulate it into what will become beautiful pots, sinks, furniture and decorations. 


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What begins like this…….

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Ends like this.



Even Todd got into the act


A whirlwind spending spree for our friend and extraordinary fun for us, the trip was a great success. I have always loved the incredible copper turned out by Santa Clara and it was wonderful to be back. After a fast-paced day of shopping, we sat in the shade at a little café and enjoyed an ice-cold michelada before heading back to Patzcuaro.


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However, before returning to San Miguel the following morning, I did make time for a brief visit with my dear friend Enedina Castillo. An artist from Tocuaro, she is multi talented, creating wonderful carvings of the local pine and crocheting these amazing rebosos, shawls.

All the photographs in this post are courtesy of Todd McIntosh.