saving a lost trade
This wasn’t my original life plan, of course. My life’s dream was just to be a writer.
I was originally an ad agency producer who spent nights moonlighting as a wedding planner. When the wedding planning business took off, I quit my advertising job and ran the event company full time for ten years, winning a Silver Anvil for Best Nonprofit Event in the USA. In my free time (yes, there was still a bit of free time) I always wrote. The writing became novels, the novels won awards, and the novels eventually were published and are now in development for television. I also fell into screenwriting and script doctoring and more, but that's a whole separate story (told on my writing website, www.saradahmen.com).
While researching for my novels, I realized a few important facts:
1. American cookware designs were lost
2. No one was actually building cookware lines, in American styles, IN America
3. And no one knew how to do the whole process anymore (back in the day, you’d walk up the road to the blacksmith/tinsmith/coppersmith to get things)
So I decided (on a bit of a whim) to start House Copper & Cookware using only vintage American designs as inspiration and utilizing the materials available in pioneer times. Most importantly, everything had to be sourced and made in America, just like the old days.
FINDING INSPIRATION FROM
Books, copper, history, herbs, fire, tin, vintage tools, my family, forging, cooking, folktales & rivets.
I live in rural Wisconsin (so my tools don't annoy too many neighbors) on a mini farm with my husband and 3 children.
I still have a vintage, old-school apprenticeship with Bob Bartelme of Backwoods Tin & Copper, going strong since 2015. I learn a lot. Enough. Too much. Never enough. I do a ton of the physical building of the House Copper cookware line in my Wisconsin copper shop in the village where I’ve set up. I custom build all kinds of cookware pieces, and re-tin oodles of vintage ones. My tools range from modern bead blasters and grinders to 1700s tinsmith stakes and 1820 hand rotary coppersmithing machines. I can tell you “where your cookware comes from.”
My favorite thing to cook in copper? vegan lasagna. potato Pierogis. and fruit tarts.
AT A GLANCE
i drink scotch neat
i'm forcing my family into an old family beekeeping tradition
and i play oboe.
i overbuy seeds in spring. lift heavy weights. and love beauty & the Beast
Herbal remedies, sustainable living, discipline, preserving (everything), raising chickens, my book club & family bike rides.
Landfills, preservatives, tri-ply cookware, disingenuous people, lack of integrity, and flan. I just can't do flan.
but maybe there's a flan out there I might like?
Coppersmithing is many things to me. It's telling a story. It's keeping a trade alive. It's saving old knowledge. I am honored to keep American-made cookware hopping, and look forward to building you something from the House Copper line. I know many of you are looking for even more information, custom builds, or age and make. I'm here!