Copper in the Arts

February 2021

Rachel Rose Dazey: Connected Through Copper

By Jesse Avalon

“Copper has always been this symbol of connection,” says Tulsa-based artist Rachel Rose Dazey. “We use it in our electronics and in the grid to connect to one another. I’ve always liked that symbology with copper.”

In this age of social distancing, that connectivity is more important than ever.

It is no surprise that Rachel Rose, an artist since her childhood, seeks to foster a sense of connection through her work.

“I began creating art as a child,” she recalls. “It was my place of refuge through my young adult years.” After high school, she spent some time traveling. She found herself in Mexico, and it was there that she found her love of jewelry and metal-based art. “I met some artisans and silversmiths that were making jewelry,” she says. “I started hanging out with them and creating with them for fun.” She spent some time studying in Mexico before returning to Oklahoma, where she built her metal studio.

RachelRose2.jpgHandcrafted copper cuffs by Rachel Rose Dazey. 
Photograph courtesy of Rachel Rose Dazey.

She finds inspiration in the occasionally simple, but often complex geometry of the natural world. Sometimes, ideas simply come to her. “I get ideas in my head that are powerful, that I want to explore a little bit,” she says. “I often write about a concept before designing around it. I see where it takes me, and where the metal wants to go.” For her, the process of designing is never complete until she begins fabricating the piece.

The malleability of copper allows her to stay flexible when designing her pieces. “Copper is a very soft metal,” she explains. “It’s one of the reasons I love working with it. You can very easily manipulate it, and it reacts to fire and water in different ways than silver or gold or bronze. It’s very forgiving.” This malleable nature shines through in pieces like her Copper Dome Earrings. Threaded with thin silver, the earrings stand as an apt example of the soft and formable features of copper to which Rachel refers.

She values copper for more than just its workability, however. Like so many businesses, the art community in Tulsa has struggled since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. Rachel was eager to find some way to help the community through this challenging time, and she saw an opportunity in her popular series of copper cuffs.

Rachel decided to leverage that popularity towards her efforts, with 50% of the proceeds from her cuffs going to local artists. Through this, she has found a way to give back to the community she calls home. “We started that campaign in March of 2020, when COVID was really starting to affect artists in our community,” she explains. “We’ve made these copper cuffs for about 5 years now, and they’ve always been a popular item.”

COVID-19 has proven an obstacle for many people and businesses, and the art community has not been spared. For artist’s like Rachel Rose Dazey, this disturbance to regular life calls for people to come together, even if not in a literal sense. “I was thinking of how we could use copper as a symbol of connection and community while we are going through this time of isolation,” she explains. This desire is made manifest in her copper cuffs. “I wanted to use them as a symbol of hope and connection.”

Resources:

Rachel Rose Dazey, Tulsa, OK

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