My beginnings

Before talking about my starting as Tinsmith, I want to tell you about my teacher: Ricard Lozano y Busquets.

He was the third generation of Tinsmith of his family, his grandfather was already a tinsmith.

His grandfather, left Almussafes(Valencia) with his wife and children and moved to Badalona(Barcelona), where he started a tinsmith shop, and worked there for years doing work of a lot of types(oilers, meters, household utensils, zinc drums that were used in washing machines…) and he used to fix pieces of other machines, that used to be the way that tinsmith workers had survived in the past. When he died, their children kept the job,  but the things changed with the introduction of new kind of materials, like stainless steel, and the industrial production that took the place of the artisans.

Ricard Lozano(the father), used to work aswell as taxidermist, because the tinsmith job started to decay.

Ricard Lozano (son and my teacher) learned the small work that his grandfather did, and his dad and uncle playing when they were child in his workshop, but it was too late and he couldn’t survive working only as tinsmith, but he kept the way to do the tinsmith job.

He tried to keep working in jobs related with the tinsmith world(Delineation, fitter, trader…) and he finally found a job in the Urban Police, that was really far away from the job that he liked, the tinsmith.

While working in the Police, there were some apprentices to learn the job, and to share the knowledge about the tinsmith.

Ricard found a way to keep the workshop, and it was going to fests that towns used to do, and there was where he could show his work, products and people could see about the tinsmith. Later he started to has the trust of the people that organizated this events, and the tinsmith started to grow up again.

The shows were inspirated in topics as Medieval, Renaissance, and past times in general, and the tinsmith work started to keep in the street of a lot of towns, as used to be in the past.

In 1997, I met Ricard(my teacher). At the start, I didn’t have a ot of interest about his work, until I met him in a medieval market that he was doing his showcase in Nou Barris(Barcelona). Then I started to know better Ricard and his job as tinsmith.

Some days after that, he invited me to go to a market that was made in El Castillo de Montsoriu, in San Feliu de Buixalleu(Girona).

The first thing that he made for me, kept me surprised. With only a small piece of plate, he made a whistle, and I wanted to tried to make one for myself.

He teached me how to do it, and when I made the third or fourth, it started to whistle. I saw how he weld an oiler, how he worked with plate, and especially how he enjoyed showing people that were in the market how was the tinsmith work.

Next week, I started to go at his workshop, now in Dosrius(Barcelona), and without noticing about it, I become his apprentice.

In August of 2001, I went to my first medieval market. Ricard asked me to show people the tinsmith work for the first time, and this market was in Castell d’Aro (Girona). I realized that this work, was and it still being a work highly valued for old and medium age people, but young people could loose the knowing of a work that used to be really basic in the past and was basic for the developement of towns, especially in small and poor towns without too much resources.

In 2006, Ricard recieved the appreciation of Master Craftsman, probably one of the last tinsmith worker recognized from the “Catalan center of Craftsman”.

Sadly, on december of 2006, Ricard left us at the age of 54 years, but the work that he used to enjoy isn’t lost. Although we didn’t have more time to work together, I will try to keep this heritage that he left to me don’t dissapear, so I continue with the work that left me a lot of good times.

This is a small introduction in the memory that he was, and always be my teacher: Ricard Lozano y Busquets.

 

 Why traditional tinsmith?

 The exact meaning of Tinsmith, it’s a person that works, produce, repairs and/or sells tin utensils, starting in the apparition of the tin, that isn’t more than a really thin steel plate with a layer on it of tin. The use of tin it’s to prevent the steel plat from rusting. Maybe as a consequence of the transformation of other jobs really old that used to work metal, and using this new material, in the fourteenth century made possible the apparition of Tinsmith.
The tinsmith kind of work are similar at the original, when the tinsmith workers were nomads that travelled to towns to repair, do manteinance and fix tools or home utensils. When started the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century all changed and they kept in the city arounds helping to produce more concret pieces before the tinsmith work disappeared.

Traditional Tinsmith In The Twenty-First Century

The work that I do it’s mostly related in the town shows and markets, doing the show of tinsmith work, where I work, repair and sell my products, all handmade. Nowadays, in general, people doesn’t know a lot about my kind of work, but mostly old people do it, and they remember the importance of my work, but they’re surprised that I’m doing it with my age. The younger people knows that this days, there are big factories that can do the same products as me, with lower costs, but they don’t have the closer meeting and most part of times, it’s harder to repair that products than buying another one.

This is the reason for me to doing the showcase in the markets, to make the young people remember and know the importance of my work, and in general all the artisan work. For the same reason, I sometimes do some showcase in schools and other places.  But anyway, it’s not the only important part of the tinsmith. The most important part it’s to produce and sell my products, all hand made, and only with tin materials. For lot of people, the hand made products are more valuable than industrial products, but in tinsmith you can’t reach the high production quantities that industrial factories does. But this work have an advantage, and it’s the products can be made to a custom fit, with particular parts, combinations, capacities and sizes to make exclusive products for each case, always in small quantities.

 

When did I start?

In 1997 I started to learn the work of tinsmith with my teacher Ricard Lozano y Busquets (more information at the top of this page).

Two years later of start learning this work, and while I was doing other jobs, made me realize that this is a work that I want to do exclusively, so I continued learning more deeper in it.

Since year 2000 and with the help of my teacher, I’m doing showcases in markets and town shows, first only near ones and later extending to all the Spain country. In this shows, people can see my workshop and products, so they can buy them or bring me others to repair, and of course they can see me working and making my products. I’ve been in a lot of different markets, some of them were about special topics (for exemple bonsai market) and other ones more general (modern, renacentist).

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