Copper in the Arts

May 2009

Mystical Creations Jewelry Artist Tara Helwig

By Donna Dvorak

Tara Helwig

Jewelry artist Tara Helwig in her studio

Photo by Paul David

For jewelry designer Tara Helwig, there is no doubt that the popularity of copper jewelry is more than just a trend.

"I've noticed within the past five years there's been a resurgence for the demand of copper jewelry," says Helwig, owner of Mystical Creations Original Body Ornaments, in Wayne, PA. "It's a beautiful metal and besides its ability to shine, it has metaphysical properties. Many clients approach me about healing stones that are wrapped in copper like tiger eye (for protection), amethyst (for healing), hematite, a shiny black heavy stone which is said to be good for blood circulation, and more. Healing stones have always been popular, but I also use pearls, and varieties of crystals and beads."

Helwig, who is self-taught, began creating sun-catchers before moving on to custom jewelry, and then forming Mystical Creations 15 years ago. She is currently represented by CoSM Gallery in Chelsea, NY, and ships sales from her online store all around the world. Her one-of-a-kind jewelry can also be found in boutiques, craft shows, shops, markets and online.

Copper is her metal of choice for its beauty and durability.

"People requested different metals, but copper was a metal that people truly desired due to the beautiful patinas," she explains. "It's a great metal to work with---if I make a mistake it's very forgiving because it's malleable. Sterling tends to 'crink' (i.e., once you bend it at a certain angle there's no going back without it breaking, but copper can be twisted and reworked when needed.) I save my scraps and have someone melt it down for reuse."

Copper Pendant

Copper covered blue howlite stone

Photo by Paul David

Helwig is also inspired by her travels, and recently returned from Arizona where she acquired Fire Agate stones. "It's a honey, copper color that looks stunning when wrapped in copper," she says.

Helwig creates custom pieces for weddings, bridal parties, and other special events, and even designs custom jeweled collars for your pets.

"Jewelry is a special art form," says Helwig, "It's passed on from generation to generation and that's like a part of me being passed on. When I'm creating something that's a gift for someone, or a kind gesture, and I know it will be given with love, it just makes me so happy."

Her process is very organic, and the design of the jewelry becomes a compliment for not only the person's outfit or style, but the personality of the owner. After perusing her website, brides, bridesmaids and other customers call her to discuss what they want. She arranges a meeting, after they purchase their dresses, and gathers an assortment of semi-precious stone samples to show how well they match their dresses and color schemes. She then sends pictures as the process unfolds, so her clients can see her progress as the work evolves.

She often uses neck and décolleté measurements to get a custom fit for her work.

"If a customer isn't here, physically, they usually send me a color photo via email of the actual dress and measurements," says Helwig. "If clients are local I visit their homes to present my line of copper jewelry and custom designs for everyone.

Resources:

Mystical Creations owner and artisan, Tara Helwig, demonstrates the art of incorporating copper elements, along with other materials, in her one-of-a-kind, custom jewelry pieces.

Mystical Creations and Body Adornment, Wayne, PA, (484) 257-7966

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