Format Type: PDF, ePub
Read Online: 219
For centuries, the history and lore of tinkers, tinners, tinsmiths, and their contemporary counterparts -- sheet metal workers -- have been represented through the creation of figurative sculptures known as tin men. In this study of tin men and their creators, Archie Green links tinsmith artistry to issues of craft education, union traditions, labor history, and social class. Crafted from sheet metal and scraps in likenesses that include clowns, knights, cowboys, and L. Frank Baum's Tin Woodman of Oz, tin men have both utilitarian and aesthetic purposes. Some serve as sheet metal shops' trade signs or prove an apprentice's competence. Others are coveted in boutiques, antique stores, and folk art museums. "Tin men, " Green writes, "equate with ballads, blues, stories, sayings, rituals, riddles, customs, codes, and other expressive forms. Although not easily apparent, the tin man serves as does any other artistic piece -- as an outlet for creative energy, a mark of defiance, an affirmation of community, a summation of a worker's experience." Green has interviewed craftspeople, gallery owners, collectors, and Sheet Metal Workers' International Association officials. Blurring the boundaries between workers and artists, he compares expressive forms across craft lines and interrogates the systems of determining value in the contemporary art world. The volume also includes numerous illustrations and an inventory of the tin men located in sheet metal shops, galleries, and museums.