Alejandra Ochoa de Thompson, founder and creative visionary of Thompson, grew up in Patzcuaro, Michoacan, located in the bucolic countryside of southwest Mexico. Patzcuaro is a town of tile-roofed adobe Colonial homes and mansions with courtyards and balconies filled with begonia, geraniums, bougainvilleas, tiger lilies, azaleas and hydrangeas. Cobblestone streets lead from the center of town to Lake Pátzcuaro. The lively town is filled with stores and vendors selling crafts, many in bright colors and artisans from neighboring villages sell their specialized crafts such as copperware, black pottery, musical instruments and baskets in the market.
Just 10 miles south of Patzcuaro lies the town of Santa Clara del Cobre, where the native P’urhépecha were considered the world’s most advanced metallurgists of pre-Hispanic times. With skills honed and passed on for centuries, 82 percent of the population continues to work in copper crafting – and many of them are direct descendants of the early P’urhépecha.
Alejandra emigrated from Patzcuaro to the United States at the age of 22 with her husband Clifford, her childhood sweetheart. Early in her career, she designed award-winning spaces for major department stores and hotels worldwide. Her daughter and Thompson Marketing VP Samantha Thompson Lizarraga recalls in particular the larger-than-life magic of her holiday displays, including one featuring over-sized Easter Bunnies and eggs, which she created for the White House Easter egg hunt.
The awards and accolades for her accessories design were abundant, but Alejandra knew it was not meant to be her life’s work. Every visit to Mexico reignited her love of copper arts and moved her closer to the goal of bringing the authentic beauty and craftsmanship of Santa Clara del Cobre to American homes.
“In Mexico copper sinks and tubs are popular and can be found in many homes,” Alejandra says. “Our family’s copper sink has been with us for many, many years. It is such a beautiful material and it lasts forever.”
Alejandra’s dream became a reality a little more than a decade ago when she and daughter Samantha took the bold step launching Thompson, a company whose portfolio features Alejandra’s beautiful copper designs for the kitchen and bath.
Each piece is meticulously hand crafted in by coppersmiths in the Thompson Santa Clara del Cobre, Mexico, facility. Each piece is rooted in a place, an element of nature or a story from which Alejandra draws inspiration and transforms into design from the heart.