Copper in the Arts

January 2010

Anita DiPietro Designs

By Janie Franz

Copper Bracelet Copper bracelet by Anita Dipietro

Photograph by Paul David

Anita DiPietro's interest in art began at a young age. She remembers sitting alongside her father as he welded and designed wrought iron art in his studio. Now, after studying design and raising a family, she has continued this creative legacy, crafting contemporary copper designs with an earthy, organic flair.

DiPietro started her journey as an artist by working with stained glass, pulling design elements from her art studies and adding her own touches. But stained glass wasn't quite the medium for the passion that she had inside of her.

"I took a metalsmithing class at one of the local galleries, and I learned the basics," she says. "I just got instantly addicted to it."

Anita DiPietro Anita Dipietro in her studio

Photograph by Paul David

This connection to metals moved DiPietro to set up a small studio. "It took a little while to accumulate the tools," she says. With each addition to her toolkit, she further developed her own unique style. "I experiment on my own, but I still take workshops to learn different skills to increase my variety of techniques."

Although she's experimented with many mediums since, copper was her first and true love.

"I've always liked copper, but it was cheaper to use when I was starting out," she says. "I really liked the way it looked with silver, the way they complemented each other." DiPietro also appreciated the healing properties of copper. "Those properties always were interesting to me, especially the way it stimulates the flow of energy and helps with arthritis." On her webpage, DiPietro lists the healing properties of both copper and silver, both of which she uses extensively in her art, as well as brass, semi-precious stones, glass, fossils, and found objects.

Copper Bracelet Bracelet design by Anita DiPietro

Photograph by Paul David

Working with flat sheets of metal and wire, DiPietro cuts shapes with a jeweler's saw and then textures them with hammers. "Lately, I've been experimenting with a torch to get color on the copper and to oxidize silver," she says. "The newest line I've been making is from oxidized pieces with the flame on the copper to get some rainbow-like colors." Everything is made by hand. She solders, drills, polishes, and even makes the bezels for setting stones. "I make the bracelet links, but I haven't gotten into making links for chains. It would take me forever, and I'd have to charge alot of money for all of that work."

Since she started making art professionally four years ago, DiPietro has developed a line of delicate jewelry, including rings, necklaces, bracelets, and pins.

"When I started using copper, I got a lot of positive feedback because there are not too many people who work in copper for jewelry," she says. "People seemed to like it, and I've actually had a lot of success with the copper, as far as sales, as opposed to silver."

Resources:

Video of Anita DiPietro creating beautiful jewelry pieces from raw copper materials.

Anita DiPietro, Cherry Hill, NJ (856) 266-6537

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