Copper in the Arts

December 2012

Angie Simonsen: Unique Style Is The Foundation for Weirdly Wired Jewelry

By Nancy Ballou

Copper pendant. Stamped Mother's Pendant

Photograph courtesy of Weirdly Wired Jewelry

On any given weekend, you can find copper artist Angie Simonsen tinkering away in her Nebraska basement, happily bringing her eclectic designs of wearable art to life.

Although she works in a variety of materials, Simonsen fell in love with copper at a very young age, and continues to weave the metal into all of her work.

"For a 10th grade chemistry project, I chose copper as my favorite element and decorated poster board with wire swirls and pennies," she says. "When I began making jewelry and home decor items, sterling silver was out of my price range. I decided to practice with what was available from the hardware store - copper! The cost was low so I didn't worry about waste and tried things with copper that I never would have with silver. As time progressed and my copper pieces kept accumulating, I decided to set them out at a home party and discovered they sold better than the silver pieces. That is still the case. Something special about the color and feel of copper changes with the wearer, the humidity, the finishing techniques. It becomes unique to the individual - what's not to love about that?"

Whether soldering a strip of copper sheet together to form a hollow heart pendant with three little Labradorite stones inside or creating a copper charm necklace with a sterling silver infinity symbol soldered to a solid one-inch copper disk, the jewelry is oxidized and polished to a warm glow. A copper spiral drop combines separate pieces for a simple, but elegant, everyday necklace. An earthy and rustic Pietersite stone hangs from a soldered and hammered ring with a brown suede strap and hand made copper clasp that is comfortable and easy to use.

Copper charm. Copper Charm, Silver Infinity

Photograph courtesy of Weirdly Wired Jewelry

However, Simonsen maintains, "I don't do much soldering these days except where durability/security is concerned. I prefer to use cold, or wired, connections. My desire for different gauges of wire led me to buying online. The majority of my supplies come from Rio Grande and Monsterslayer. My first home decor copper wire project was a squirrel swing by day and a candle holder by night."

A fresh water pearl wired into a hammered and domed copper disk then hung on an 18" copper ball chain includes sterling silver to frame the pearl and add texture. Her In The Forest pendant and earring set consists of mixed metals, with several different gemstones tied together using a combination of manufacturing techniques. This creation actually features movement and sound due to its construction.

"Soon I realized I was doing more and more personalized jewelry, and I wanted to find another way to add a name besides the alphabet block style letters," Simonsen says. "Stamps were just becoming popular so I bought a set and also purchased a disk cutter. These were probably two of my best investments ever! Their addition to my trusty hammer and cheap hardware store pliers have made me what I am today."

Years ago, Simonsen took a silversmithing class then ended up selling and making things for her fellow students during class time. She also had a job to become a bench jeweler. She now runs a website, does art shows in homes, offices and even bars, designs customized pieces, photographs jewelry and is the proud artist and owner of Weirdly Wired Jewelry.

Resources:

Angie Simonsen, Weirdly Wired Jewelry, Bellevue, NE, (402) 709-1963

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