Cover image for Tin men
Tin men
Green, Archie.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xv, 202 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm.
Fort Mason's pair -- History's scroll -- Oz -- At the boundaries -- Jordan's squire -- Enlarging the search -- Under union banners -- Hephaistos and autolycus -- Collectors and curators --Stories shared -- Questions -- Circle back.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library GR105 .G736 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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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 vibrant exploration of tin men and their creators, the labor folklorist 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."In his quest to "see the unseen gifts of tinsmiths," 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. Enhanced by numerous illustrations, the volume also includes an inventory of the tin men located in sheet metal shops, galleries, and museums.

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