Memory collector

The tinsmith

Yannis Patsakis is one of the very few remaining active tinsmiths in Greece.

Direction - Montage
Rozalia Lera

Yannis Patsakis is one of the very few remaining active tinsmiths in Greece. In a space defined by the past, with stories and memories piled in the corners, Yannis keeps up the tradition of his grandfather to whom, as he tells us, he gave his word that the store wouldn’t close. Working with the same traditional tools his grandfather was using, the maul, the solder, the mallet, he produces unique handmade lanterns infusing soul into each one of them. Sadly, there is no state care for subsidizing such a traditional profession so as to preserve it, thus, Yannis is forced to find other jobs too in order to survive.

Yannis Patsakis was born in Rhodes and soon moved to Symi where he is originally from. Since childhood he remembers himself sitting for hours in his grandfather’s traditional workshop, observing his every move. His traditional tinsmith’s workshop has been functioning for three generations, for Yannis’ grandfather also learned the craft from his grandfather who officially opened the workshop in 1954. The raw materials used in his constructions are mainly the pad, the bronze, the glass (plain or colored) and the solder, a malleable and ductile tin which helps join together pads. He always works without electricity, using open fire, hammer and mallet (in Greek: matsola) as his tools. All the pieces are unique because they rely on Yannis’ inspiration and artistry. Yannis Patsakis continues practicing this profession without receiving an adequate income, because he loves it and because it expresses him, but most of all because he is attached to the profession he learned from his grandfather.