Journal , Fall / Winter Issue

Meet the Woman Who Handcrafts Heirloom-Quality Copper Cookware

To see Sara Dahmen in her workshop, hand crafting heirloom-quality copper cookware, offers a glimpse into a bygone era. For Sara, the woman behind the company House Copper & Cookware, that is intentional and comforting. 

While researching and writing her historical fiction novel about a female blacksmith, Sara became enthralled by the American tradition of home- made cookware and decided to try her hand at metalsmithing. Steeped in a tradition that dates back to the 1800s, Sara procures the raw and spun copper from family-owned and operated American businesses, and then personally drills, rivets, hand-tins, buffs, and polishes each piece in her garage workshop in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

“I use 200-year-old tools to build replica cookware used in pioneer kitchens,” Sara says. “It helps connect me to the way life used to be, and it helps connect me in a very tactile way to my craft and my family. It’s the hands-on shaping, with my children running around near me, that creates a real feeling of being present.”

Housecopper0007
Housecopper0006

Sara is not alone in her fondness for the metal, and with an increasing focus on wellness and purity in American kitchens, copper cookware is increasingly becoming a must-have consumer product. Revered for its beauty, copper cookware is a favorite of professional and home chefs because it disperses heat consistently and conducts heat rapidly—in fact 25 times faster than stainless steel—saving energy and cooking time. Copper is also free of alloys and has an antibacterial quality. Sara also has a tip for cleaning copper: just rub a little ketchup all over the surface, let sit for a minute or two, rub off, and your copper will look freshly buffed.

Housecopper0010

To maintain her high standard for quality and craftsmanship, Sara has kept her product line to five essential copper pieces including pots, pans, and lids that will serve almost all cooking needs. She also sells two styles of cast iron skillets, and has partnered with Rowe Pottery from Cambridge, Wisconsin, to expand the House Copper product line, staying true to the company’s mission of selling handcrafted pieces made of natural and organic materials. 

Housecopper0023

For a history buff like Sara, copper is the perfect product, as it will stand up to generations of use, and in thousands of years, will be considered an historical artifact still in mint condition.

To learn and hone her craft, Sara credits seeking out a metalsmithing mentor in Mac Kohler of Brooklyn Copper Cookware, who shared his know-how and professional resources.

“Even as competitors, we collaborated and shared the information we each found so we could both fulfill our dream of making copper cookware,” Sara says. “I was honest about my limited knowledge and, quite frankly, asked other artisans to share their own.” 

Housecopper0028

To learn more about Sara, her copper cookware, and her new
book, Flame: Our Love Affair with Cookware, visit HouseCopper.com.

Photography by Constance Mariena / Text by Susan Harold

This story originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of The Inspired Home Journal, titled “Testing Her Metal.”

COMMENTS
Top

Even more Journal articles for you

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @THEINSPIREDHOME_COM

Get on the list to stay up to date on everything The Inspired Home.