Ornamental tinwork folk art originated in the mid-1800s in New Mexico. As an increasing number of food products shipped in tin cans arrived over the Santa Fe Trail, more materials were available to the area's tinsmiths. They used their skills on tins that once held such products as lard, kerosene, and oysters. The finished products were as unlimited as the creativity of the makers, from candle sconces to picture frames to mirrors to nichos and religious icons to children's toys.
Lane Coulter and Maurice Dixon, Jr., begin with a brief history of New Mexican tinwork and quickly describe the tools and techniques used and how to determine the period in which older pieces were made.