Copper in the Arts

May 2012

Weaving His Way Through Copper: David Paul Bacharach

By Jennifer Hetrick

Quilt sculpture Deconstructed Quilt. Woven copper and steel panels, colored with patination and polychrome, Powder coated steel frames.

Photograph courtesy of David Paul Bacharach

By next year, David Paul Bacharach will be able to say he's spent a half-century using the deft diligence of his fingers to bring to life woven metal art through copper.

"I always worked with nonferrous materials," Bacharach says about sculptures he crafted many decades ago. After glimpsing thinned scraps of copper at a slitting facility, he delved into the idea of weaving it with the edge pieces cut away from the sheets running through the machines.

As a metalsmith in Baltimore County, Maryland, Bacharach's works have appeared in galleries and shows across the United States and in a number of foreign countries.

Bacharach uses basketry techniques to weave copper strips into wall pieces that carry an unexpected yet powerful lure for the eyes.

"In the first 10 years, I just worked on weaving using the natural color of the copper, and then I slowly began to use heat for very specific colors," Bacharach explains. After that, he began testing out a variety of patinas to mix up the possibilities of hues even more.

"I stuck with copper specifically because it's a very reactive metal," Bacharach says. To him, colors are always capable of conveying and becoming more, which is evident in his pieces. Most of the themes he stirs into his wall works are based on what clients request. One commissioned piece involved maps, for people who owned a travel agency. Bacharach has added plastic toy soldiers into quilted metal for those who are civil war buffs. And he doesn't limit his talents to just what perches on walls. He melds his affection for copper into furniture pieces like tables, chairs and cabinets, too.

Most copper he uses is sourced from a variety of suppliers in Philadelphia and New York. Interestingly enough, he has more collectors around the Philadelphia region than anywhere else. In his lifetime, Bacharach estimates that he's completed more than 5,000 woven copper works.

Bacharach's next appearance is in July during a fundraiser for early childhood education and care, at the Nantucket Folk Art and Artisan Show at Bartlett's Farm in Massachusetts.

"I've worked with copper for so long that I'm very comfortable working with it at this point, and I've joined it in every possible way you can put it together, from riveting to welding," he says.

"For the most part, my work is very colorful, and a lot of metalwork isn't. Copper allows me to develop a really interesting range of colors," Bacharach says. "That's why I come back to it, I suppose."

Circle Suite IV Circle Suite IV. Copper panels.

Photograph courtesy of David Paul Bacharach

Resources:

David Paul Bacharach, Cockeysville, MD, (410) 252-0546

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