Copper in the Arts

February 2016

Hand Stamped Copper Cards And Jewelry Express Forever Sentiments

By Nancy Ballou

copper handstamped card by Brandi AlewineCustom handstamped copper keepsake by Brandi Alewine. 

Photograph courtesy of Brandi Alewine

When her daughter had difficulty memorizing all the digits in their phone number, Brandi Alewine cruised the internet, but didn’t find anything helpful.

“I designed a necklace with two discs. The top layer had her name and a charm. The second layer had call mom and my phone number. After that experience, I fell in love with stamping,” she recalls. “It turned into a career that works well for me since I am a stay-at-home mother with three children. I opened my home studio in a small town called Hartwell in Northeast Georgia.”

In 2014, she wanted to take her skills to the next level to offer a variety of metals, and began experimenting with copper.

“Copper is my favorite,” she says. “I love how it can be polished to appear shiny and new or can be oxidized to give it a more rustic feel. There are two main supply shops on Etsy where I purchase the copper - Stampblanks and Broblanks. They sell a variety of custom punched shapes.”

Completely self taught, Alewine notes that hand stamping is harder than it looks.

“It takes time and patience to train your hands to hold tools appropriately to skillfully stamp the metal,” she says. “I design first, then use a hammer and steel stamps to create the piece. A few items are textured using a smaller hammer that allows a more dimensional look. I complete with the use of steel wool (to give it a brush finish) or a tumbler. Lettering is filled with an art paste or liver of sulfur. For multi-layered works, I punch holes in the top and feed a jump ring through the holes. This allows for free movement and the option to add a hidden message under the top disc.”

Handstamped card by Brandi AlewineHandstamped card by Brandi Alewine.

Photograph courtesy of Brandi Alewine.

She creates a variety of copper jewelry: wrap rings, horse and dog memorial necklaces, penny necklaces and keychains for luck, cuff bracelets, personalized copper collar straps for dad and rustic copper message money clips, hand stamped for the father of the bride. Customized copper bookmarks and guitar picks are available, as are business cards and holders. Her dance necklace sports a ballerina figure. A personalized hand stamped diaper bag tag features a teddy bear charm.

Her ideas often come as outshoots of previous designs. “My firefighter Maltese Cross necklace came from my Maltese Cross pocket coin,” she reveals. “These are very popular pocket coins and one of my highest selling products. I made them into necklaces that customers love.”

Her work uniquely uses a variety of fonts, larger ones for monogrammed items, smaller ones for tiny or limited spaces. “My most popular are Jenna Sue, Sweet Hart, Typewriter and Murray Hill.” Copper cards average 300 characters and can be personalized to any words the purchaser wants. Christmas designs include round, rustic copper spirals or tree ornaments.

To keep her business fresh, she rotates items and designs holiday themed work. “I am constantly adding more items monthly,” she says. “My favorite Valentine’s Day set is the rustic necklace and keychain combo.”

Resources:

Brandi Alewine Designs, Hartwell, GA

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