Ornamental tinwork folk art originated in the mid-1800s in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with a discarded sardine can. 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 sardines, 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. Winner of the Southwest Book Award.
Lane Coulter has an MFA in metalsmithing and is jewellery instructor at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe. He is also the author of Navajo Saddle Blankets. Maurice Dixon Jr is a Santa Fe studio artist. Ward Alan Minge received his PhD in history from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.