08/11/2015 by 
5.00 of 1 votes

Copper is My New Metal

A few years ago I started to add copper and brass to sterling during the fusing process.  I loved the look of the various metals when they were riveted together, but when fusing metals one of the things that was particularly intriguing was the way that the small brass curlicues would sink right through the silver with enough heat.  I loved the seemingly random vacancies that were left and the overall textures.  Over the last several months I have begun to experiment more and more with copper. 

Copper is a beautiful metal that is relatively inexpensive to work with.  Over the years, many teachers have suggested using copper as a "practice" metal because it was a cheap way to master new techniques before committing to more expensive precious metals.  That may be part of the reason I didn't really choose to work with copper; it didn't seem to be noble enough for jewelry.  Besides, all I had to do was think about the lowly penny to realize that I didn't want my jewelry to look like that.  New copper is bright and shiny, but old copper is a dull brown.  What's beautiful about that? 

So what happened to change my mind?  HEAT!  Copper can achieve an amazing range of colors with the application of heat.  With the correct amount of heat you can gets purples, blues, pinks, and the most amazing red.  The possibilities for color on copper far exceeds the palette for silver.  In some cases the colors of the copper supplant the need for setting gemstones.  Take a look at some of the photos in this blog to see if you agree.

That being said, I think the thing that pushed me off the cliff was the dabbling that I have done with the process of foldforming.  Foldforming is a technique that was invented by Charles Lewton-Brain  and he has been perfecting it over the last several years.  Copper is the perfect metal for foldforming: it is very plastic and easy to move.  The textures and forms that can be achieved are astounding and for me the biggest challenge is finding ways to incorporate these beautiful sculptural elements into wearable art.  Copper isn't the only metal that can be fordformed and I have made earrings and pendants using the technique with fine silver as well. 

As you can see from the photographs, copper and silver look beautiful together especially when the copper has been heated to obtain the beautiful array of colors.  Feel free to contact me if you have questions or would like a price on any of the items pictured on this page.

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