Copper in the Arts

November 2012

Archive Designs Warms the Glow in Home Accents

By Jennifer Hetrick

copper hood Hammered copper island hood with forged steel strapping and hammered rivets. Features repousse oak leaf and acorn by Laurie Cox.

Photograph courtesy of Joseph Mross

The fused lure of old and new permeates the copper art Joseph Mross crafts for Archive Designs, a custom hand-crafted metal design and fabrication studio based in  Eugene, OR.

“Since I was little, I’ve always been interested in making things,” Mross says. “In high school, we still had metal shop, and the art teacher let me do cast lead figures back then.”

Mross earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine and Applied Arts through the University of Oregon and spent a good amount of his earlier years working with his father in home construction and design.

“Working with jewelry and metalsmithing—that’s when I really started to stray from the curriculum,” he says about his college years.

Today, his father, Gene, handles the role of production director in his studio.

“There’s a lot of variety in what we do,” Mross admits. “We always like to apply our own characteristics and try to make work that feels like it’s from 100 years ago but with a contemporary edge.”

Many of the home accents Mross and his team creates are kitchen range hoods, backsplashes, sinks, countertops, wall décor samplings and clocks. Lighting fixtures—often whimsically put together yet old-seeming chandeliers with gravity tugging at the copper accents—are often commissioned by his clients. Select works designed by Mross are now in the homes of Barbra Streisand and chef and sausage connaisseur Bruce Aidells.

owl platter 24" copper platter featuring owl repousse by Laurie Cox.

Photograph courtesy of Joseph Mross

Mross is especially fascinated with the rhythms, textures, and curves of his copper pieces.

“When I’m designing a piece, I’m always looking for what’s lyrical in it,” Mross says.

While working with copper, Mross often joins in other metals like wrought iron, brass, zinc and real pewter. He sources his copper from Alaskan Copper & Brass Company in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA.

“Copper is really an amazing metal to work with,” he says. “Of course, it’s so malleable, so it has huge potential for moving it around and shaping it. And I love the character it takes on over time as it ages—I’m very interested in how things age.”

The artistic possibilities and history weaved into copper have a clear persuasion on Mross.

“A piece of copper has been touched hundreds of times and develops a dark brown in the crevices, but the highlights are still a little bit bright, he says. “That to me is really appealing in a metal.”

Resources:

Archive Designs, Eugene, OR 97402, (541) 607-6581

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