Copper in the Arts

March 2011

SLD Designs: Unique, Original, and Always Adapting

By Nancy Ballou

Sharon DelongSharon Delong in her retail store, SLD Designs.

Photograph by Paul David

Sharon L. Delong has been designing and creating for as long as she can remember.  "I started as a mostly self-taught artist, whose fun hobby turned into a creative passion and obsession,” she recalls. “At first, I was happy learning and mastering chain maille weaves while making lots and lots of bracelets. Then, I began teaching this craft at a local art studio, Le Petit Artist, and I was hooked. I took silversmithing lessons from an amazing artist and mentor, Carolyn Yohn. Then, I adapted these new skills to other metals and began crafting intricate chains from copper and wire and accenting them with beautiful beads.”

When she gets an idea for a design, she just goes with it. 

"While I am interested in all mediums of metalsmithing, I love copper the most because of its warmth, beauty and versatility,” says Delong. “The soft nature of copper makes it easy to work with and it's similar to working with sterling. Some of my copper remains natural, while some is heated with an acetylene torch to obtain amazing colors.”

Her preference for flowers inspired her "Blooms from My Garden" line. Each piece is unique to her and every bloom is different. She hand-hammers and forms the metal flowers using copper, brass, nickel silver and sterling. Some creations include found objects like buttons or beads.

Rose PetalHand crafted Rose Petal from Sharon Delong

Photograph courtesy of Sharon Delong

She purchases much of her copper from industrial salvage yards. “Most of my creations begin in the form of sheet metal and/or wire which I cut down using my band saw,” she explains. “Then I use my jeweler's saw to cut out my flower designs. I also buy copper tubing from the plumbing department at the hardware store that I cut into tiny sections.  After I hammer and shape the metal, I utilize both cold and hot connections in my jewelry and I make and use all my own rivets. I solder the bales that hold the piece onto the chain.”

Delong creates copper necklaces, bracelets, earrings and pins to match, all with her signature patina that gives her work an elegant antique look.

She also guarantees the quality and workmanship of her jewelry and will repair or replace any piece she makes. Although established, Delong is always trying to learn more learn about the design process. She currently shares her craft teaching chain maille and other jewelry-making classes at Flower and Craft Warehouse in Blue Ball, PA and is a member of The Berks Chapter Guild of Craftsmen.

Resources:

Video of Sharon Delong Creating A Copper Heart

SLD Designs, Birdsboro, PA, (484) 333-1914

Also in this Issue:

Archives:

2017   |   2016   |   2015   |   2014   |   2013   |   2012   |   2011   |   2010   |   2009   |   2008   |   2007

Contact the Editor: