Copper in the Arts

February 2014

Copper Creations Art: A 40-Year Adventure with Solid Copper

By Nancy Ballou

SculptureLeverage 46

In 1972, former drag race car and motorcycle racer Bill Squires became a US traveler.

"I always enjoyed working with my hands so I packed up my van, along with a torch, hammer and tools to make jewelry and small ornamental art for sale on the road,” he recalls.

Along the way, he resourcefully acquired his materials, and found his path to copper. “Plumber friends gave me copper metal,” he says. “Hardware stores and scrap yards provided tubing, wire and sheet. Roof flashing was another good source.

He began creating art inspired by the nature all around him. “What really inspired me most was the impressiveness of an eagle I saw being created in Long Beach, CA,” he says. “Through trial and experimentation, I taught myself how to sculpt copper from the nature around me. I drove around the country gearing my artwork to the areas; armadillos in Texas, lobsters in New England, sandpipers and herons near water. I remained as realistic as possible."

His attention to details is obvious when one views his entire western towns containing objects like calendars, books or catalogues inside the stores and buildings. There is always something new to discover in his work.

In January 2000, Squires purchased an old drug store on Main Street in Tavares, Florida, and set up his workshop. Since his second passion was cooking, he and his family opened a restaurant/gallery utilizing the 4,400-sq.-ft. room with his unique and beautiful art. Their customers were able to sit and enjoy a wonderful meal while surrounded by his copper creations.

Everything Squires creates is handmade from solid copper.

Coastal Marina 30Coastal Marina 30

"The metal is malleable, soft, easy to finesse and lasts forever,” he says. “I buy 16 oz. sheets and copper wiring from ABC Roofing Supply. I use Phos-Copper brazing alloy or low temperature brazing rods to strengthen the joints. I cut, hammer, and use an oxygen acetylene torch. I either hand paint, oxidize for color with a small soldering torch or acid wash for a verdigris. I coat everything with lacquer so my art can be placed inside or outdoors," Squires says. "Flowers can be crafted to any color and leaves made to look aged. About half my works are customized for businesses and individuals. Considerations for these are theme, size and price range. The rest are my own designs."  

Squires teaches both one-on-one and group classes at his studio for five hours a day on two days from Monday-Friday or Saturdays for students who work. "I love teaching so I can pass on my years of experience. I go through pieces manageable by beginners and cover things like texturing, brazing, forging and patinas. I plan to buy benches, lease out space and be there to help or answer questions," he reports.

Since creating large sculptures or scenes for local libraries, chambers of commerce, large businesses, etc., his goal is to reach more large corporations or groups so that he will be able to truly use his imagination and skills to make unique, detailed pieces of art.

He does not attend exhibitions as often as he did when he was on the road, but belongs to a group of approximately 10 artists. Their tours called "Off The Beaten Path" take place twice a year when they go from studio to studio talking art. One is held the first weekend in December, the other in the Spring.

Resources:

Copper Creations Art, 227 E. Main Street, Tavares, FL, (352) 742-0022

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