Who Is Charles Cooper?
Charles Cooper was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and is one of six children. He has a long tradition of blacksmithing through his mother’s side of the family.
During high school, Charles took a blacksmithing class at Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park and quickly developed a passion for this lost art. After high school, Charles continued working at Dallas Heritage Village learning from the resident master blacksmith, Kelly Kring, for seven years, the length of a traditional apprenticeship. To further his education afterward, he has traveled to the North East to take several specialty courses from Bill Epps, Uri Hofi, Fred Chris, and others as well as attending the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. Charles still travels to New York once or twice a year to work with Marsha Trattner, of Brooklyn and is a guest teacher for her classes with the SVA.
Charles currently lives in San Antonio, Texas with his wife, Meredith. They have lived in San Antonio since 2009 when Meredith went to law school, so Charles set up shop. Charles keeps getting busier and busier with larger and more creatively challenging projects. He has the skilled knowledge to do more than mere metal fabrication and welding and loves that his clients appreciate handmade and uniquely crafted pieces.
He works with iron, Damascus steel, Wootz steel, and increasingly more, copper and stainless steel. He makes knives, chandeliers and other light fixtures, fireplace screens and tools, traditional cooking utensils, pot and wine racks, reproduction tools for reenactments, gates, and fences, staircase railing, and other custom items for clients. The beauty of working with raw steel, and other materials, is that one can create just about anything.
Charles also makes it a point to use reclaimed materials as often as possible. For tabletops and shelves, Longleaf Pine salvaged from condemned or remodeled structures is a long-time favorite. When he can get ahold of less widely used types of wood, he makes an extra effort to maintain its character and do something more special.
Further, in that vein, Charles supports other local businesses for his supplies. The beeswax he uses to preserve the natural look of steel while creating a rust-resistant finish is from a beekeeper at the weekly farmer’s market (blacksmiths historically used beeswax to finish their work). Likewise, an increasing number of Charles’s clients are also fellow business owners around San Antonio.