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Enrique Badillo Aguilar
Punched Hojalata (Tin) Work

Enrique Badillo Aguilar lives and works in the state of Guanajuato. His lively imagination is evident in all the handmade whimsical folk art tin items he creates from Day of the Dead mirrors to fat-lady Christmas ornaments. His product line is so extensive, I wonder sometimes if he takes time to sleep.

Without a doubt one of the least known and most beautiful expressions of Mexican folk art is hojalata (tin art work). Known by the people that work it as “the noble metal” and others as “the poor man’s silver,” tin has been shaped, stamped, punched and cut into a wide variety of artwork. Mexican artisans have specialized in mixing different elements to create unique works of art. The origins of punched metal seems to be lost in the mists of time.

Frida Enrique's whimsy and mastery of his folkart craft earned him a guest spot on the Martha Stewart Show a year ago, demonstrating how to make handmade punched tin napkin rings. Since then, he is much sought after by galleries and tin collector's alike. All his designs are original.

In Mexico there is an old tradition of making tin plate frames, or nichos, that dates back to the Spanish colonial period. Traditionally nichos were used as shrines for patron saints or pictures of loved ones. Wooden nichos are also part of the Latin Heritage. The nicho is a 3-dimensional recessed shadow box that is protected by a hinged glass door. The small shadow box is surrounded by appendages of wood or tin and often painted with bright colors. The tin is often stamped or punched to create shapes and embossed patterns in the tin. They provide a stage-like setting for an object or a person of great significance. The nicho can also be a personal statement incorporating things that are important to the creator.

The word tin comes from the German word Zinn, describing a soft, white metal with a low melting point. Its two main uses, both past and present, have been the coating of other metals, and in alloys. A tinsmith is a worker in tinplate, who cuts, embosses and forms the metal, and solders seams in it. He may also repair leaks in tinplate items by soldering, or by applying a patch with solder. Excellent such work was done in colonial Mexico.

Tin was used by humans as early as the Bronze Age. Because it is so soft, it can be rolled, pressed, or hammered into extremely thin sheets (tin foil), Mexico's tin art is still very popular today and it dates back in Mexico's history to the 1500s. Candleholders, plates, frames and other household objects are made from this popular metal and are often hand painted in bright colors.

Contact Information:
Please contact the artist directly if you wish to purchase his art.
Sauces 46 Jardines 2
San Miguel de Allende, Gto 37700
415 154 8216 gome
415 154 4913 store
ornamentospintados@yahoo.com.mx

If you are having problems contacting the artist, you can contact Marianne Carlson at 376 765 7485 or email mariannecarlson@gmail.com, however, Marianne does NOT sell the artist's work.

(Our thanks to Karen Henderson for the use of her photographs)

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