A Copper Alliance Member
Copper in the Arts
Make Your Dog Smile: Custom Copper Pet Tags Made with Love
Long, a former high school Spanish teacher, first turned to Etsy to serve as the springboard for sales of her metalwork, which began gaining momentum because of their unique concept. Soon, this online exposure caught the attention of several publications, and her tags were featured Modern Dog Magazine, Country Living and City Dog Magazine, among others.
She says baking the dog treats evolved into creating cute personalized dog bandanas and accessories for fairs and craft shows, which developed into her desire to make more customized pet ID tags. “So many out there on the market are just the Petsmart-like type on blue metal stamped with a machine,” says Long.
So Long began hand-stamping designs and names into 18-guage copper, as well as brass, silver, gold and other metals. She’ll also use recycled metals any chance she can get her hands on them. “I always loved the characteristics of copper and how it ages,” she says.
After more tinkering and research into different instruments in the market, Long found the perfect formula using her stamps, ball peen hammers and specialty hammers with indentations like bubbles and polka dots on a variety of surfaces – from cinder blocks to old railroad rails.
“A lot of the materials I use aren’t sold in a metalworks store,” she says.
Sometimes Long will even submerge the copper tags in a bath of liver of sulphur, which sprays a rainbow of colors, depending on what elements are living in the hot water being used at the time.
Since quitting her teaching job about a year and a half ago and earning a master’s degree in technical communications, Long has set up her hammering studio in the finished basement of her home situated about 100 miles outside of St. Louis, Mo. She lives with her husband three dogs: Hollie, a black lab; Sofia, a Westie; and Ryder, a toy Australian Shepherd (Pablo sadly lost his battle to bone cancer in March.)
Her overall company, Hattie Rex, features the pet ID tags, plus customized hand-made metal jewelry and wine charms. Today, her work can be purchased online, or at 15 specialty stores across the globe.
Purpose and Re-Purpose: The Reclaimed Copper Art of Shaw Lakey
Many of his reclaimed pieces are of water creatures, fish, turtles, sea horses, but there is also the more abstract work which allows for a less literal interpretation.
Originally from South Florida, Shaw had basic education in public schools; painting and drawing and such, but no formal art education. He worked in a machine shop, as a carpenter, boat captain, and acquired a marine technology degree, and scuba certification. His foray into art based on his past experiences “all came together,” he says. He was first inspired by the woodwork he saw in Jamaica where locals used a minimal approach by simply sanding wood and applying shoe polish. He then began experimenting with reclaimed cedar, oak, and cypress and adding copper and bronze. Today, he is represented by The Gallery @ Racine in Wilmington, NC and his 20-30 pieces routinely on display fly off the walls.
“I just love the copper and wood combined,” he says. “Copper is organic and has a warmth to it.” he says. He might occasionally use alabaster or coral as minimal accents, but ultimately he prefers copper. Instead of using molds, Shaw makes each piece unique by hand-sanding and waxing the driftwood, before hand-hammering the copper that covers it.
“People appreciate the organic nature of the driftwood and how I go out in a boat and find it,” he admits but he will rarely use another metal. “I like the way copper works and finishes---and the way it looks.”
He used to use recycled copper from scrap yards but with the building industry in a slump, he now purchases 24 gauge roll and sheet from Best Distributing located in Wilmington, NC.
“I’ll get the whole piece of driftwood finished and colored with brow wax. Then I’ll start on the copper, which I’ll beat on for days to get the shape, like a fin or a scale,” he says. “Then I’ll do a bronze overlay brazed on the copper.”
Most people hide their welds and brazing, but Shaw embraces it. “It gives my pieces strength and contrasts with the copper.” He torches his copper to get the desired color and sometimes weathers his copper sheet outside. To lock in the colors for exterior works, he uses an automotive body clear coat. The wood he finds can be small or as large as 500 pounds. In the case of a large piece of driftwood turned into a fish for example, it will have a dorsal fin of five or six feet high made of copper and bronze.
He’s done work for local restaurants and businesses and has commissioned pieces, though there’s nothing like the satisfaction of creating something from your imagination. One collector has about 20 pieces of his work, and Shaw occasionally has work sold to China. He has been invited to other exhibit at other galleries but prefers to stay local and craft unique pieces from whatever the earth gives him.
Julie Joy Saypoff: Communicating The Energy of Emotion Through Copper
"Copper has a warmth and malleability that other metals don't,” says Saypoff. “I enjoy its organic nature and like to create sculptures that look as if they just climbed out of the earth. Because copper is easy to manipulate, I am able to design the large sculptures by myself, allowing me to work at any time of the day or night.”
In her workshop converted solely for artistic pursuits, Saypoff first forms a maquette of her concept. This small example determines the materials necessary for the scaled up version. She orders 50-foot rolls of copper sheeting for the "skin." Next, she builds an armature from copper refrigerator tubing. Using soft temper copper for shaping and hard temper copper for strength, she forms the "bones," or inner structure of the sculpture. Copper welding rods and an acetylene torch complete the construction. Different gauge metals require various welding temperatures so the process can be tricky. Employing a winch, she suspends the work to avoid being on a ladder for hours.
"Once I have a rough version of the piece, I revise and refine until it embodies the feeling I want to portray," she reveals.
Though some of Saypoff's works appear solid in structure, they are actually hollow inside. Her six-piece collection "Man/Woman, The Series" has an almost prehistoric quality. Treated with copper nitrate and coated with beeswax for preservation, these sculptures were finished with a verdigris patina. In 2009, they were shipped and permanently installed outside Las Salinas Arte Contemporaneo in Medina del Campo, Spain. Because of the natural salt on the earth, they have now taken on a golden hue. Saypoff points out, "Since copper doesn't rust and oxidizes depending on its environment, it is low maintenance and perfect for outdoor art."Dedicated July 23, 2010 in front of the Millburn Public Library in New Jersey, Saypoff's ten foot tall Inspiration depicts a stack of four monumental copper books, the top one arched open. The words “read”, “imagine”, “dream”, “learn” and “create” flow around them with "reach" at the height in copper lettering created to resemble the high curved windows of the building.
"This is one of the few non-abstract sculptures I've made,” says Saypoff. “It actually does resemble old, well-read, leatherbound books."
Her open pieces visually express feeling and what lies beneath the surface. The skeleton is on the outside, portraying emotion on the inside by use of internal copper fluttering pieces.
"I like to use positive and negative space, gesture and movement so that the viewer can interpret the meaning through his or her own eyes," Saypoff says.
Saypoff's works will be on display at the New Century Artists Exhibition in New York from September 28 - October 16, 2010, at the Arts Incubator Gallery Exhibition in West Orange, New Jersey from September 4 to October 30, 2010 and at the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center in Brooklyn from October 12 to November 27, 2010. Permanent installations at Barnstable Academy in Oakland, New Jersey and The Sculpture Foundation in Hamilton, New Jersey are scheduled for September.
Copper in the Arts: NEWS
Bronze Sculptor Ken Newman Chosen for Top North American Juried Art Exhibitions - September 11, 2010
Newman’s newly released bronze sculpture “Composed” was chosen for the prestigious Birds in Art exhibition opening September 11 at the Woodson Art Museum in Wisconsin. He is one of only 22 sculptors chosen for this museum exhibition, his third acceptance.
Birds in Art have presented the finest in contemporary artistic interpretations of birds since 1976. Only 118 works of art were selected from 547 artists from around the world who submitted nearly a thousand works of art. After the September show, The Birds in Art exhibition will go on a national museum tour in 2011, making stops at the Museum of the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur, Texas, the Newington-Cropsey Foundation in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, the Wendell Gilley Museum in Southwest Harbor, Maine, and the Michelson Museum of Art in Marshall, Texas.
Newman’s bronze sculpture "Observing Grace” was chosen for the 50th Annual Society of Animal Artists "Art and the Animal" exhibition which opens over Labor Day at the San Diego Natural History Museum in California.
This sculpture represents Ken’s interpretation of the curlew as it arrives in the spring to the pastures of Idaho for a short stay, reflecting on Newman’s years of outdoor observations and almost daily viewing of his subject matter. The challenge was to capture the bird’s light and graceful manner in the heavy medium of bronze.
Newman's "Defying the Wind—URI Boundaries" was also selected for The Artists for Conservation Foundation’s 3rd Annual International Exhibit of Nature in Art. This show opens on September 20 at NatureArtists.com.