“Hojalata,” the craft of pressing, cutting, folding and decorating sheets of tin, is one of Mexico’s oldest traditions. Mirror surrounds, display cases, boxes, lamps (called luminarias), wall art and a variety of ornaments are constructed of this lightweight, malleable metal element. Tin sheets are pressed and cut by hand to form an object. The object is then embellished by tapping, punching, piercing or pressing lines into the tin. Some artisans leave the finish a natural shiny tin color, or oxidize the tin for an antiqued, pewter look. Others lacquer the piece to look like copper or bronze, or paint it in bright colors.
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