23 Apr 2010

This week I have mostly been working in copper

“The world is an old woman, and mistakes any gilt farthing for a gold coin; whereby being often cheated, she will thenceforth trust nothing but the common copper” Thomas Carlyle, Victorian essayist.

Hammered copper, heavily antiqued, spiral link bracelet.
Please click on any of the photographs for a larger view.

The last couple of weeks have been hectic – an assortment of commissions to complete, work commitments, domestic dramas, our visiting son (I’d like to think he comes home from university to catch up with his Mum, but in reality he was only availing himself of my fast broadband connection, as the dent in my bandwidth allowance will testify) and even some time away over Easter.

So if anyone happened to be so devoid of entertainment they were monitoring my publicly visible work rate, they’d perhaps consider me tardy of late – I haven’t seemingly had much to show for the long hours and exhaustion levels.

I spent a lot of time before we went away for Easter in preparing things to take with me to work on; part-made components to finish, components that I could make into ideas I had etc. – all in case of bad weather and the need to find things to do. I had enough materials with me to make a hundred pieces of jewellery. All I eventually managed was this necklace (with matching earrings) and another pair of earrings. Antiqued copper and green glass.

I quite liked the smooth look of the back of the antiqued bracelet above, where polishing off the oxidisation, left a pattern of colours on the smooth copper, from bright peach to a deep gunmetal type blue/grey. So I made another version without the hammered texture and will give this the same colour finish. I sometimes just like to enjoy them in their raw state before I give them their final colour.

A spiral wrapped Botswana agate bracelet in it’s raw copper just-tumbled state, which has since been deeply oxidised and extensively tumbled to a deep gunmetal warm grey.

But behind the scenes, like a little hammer-wielding gnome, I have been quietly (not that my hammering can ever be claimed to be quiet) producing several new pieces. But the making of the jewellery is the fun bit – that’s where I find my joy, peace from the world and my personal satisfaction – I get so embroiled with the details of shapes and the engineering of making things work properly that the world just passes me by and I often only come to my senses when the growling in my belly reminds me that I really should have had lunch several hours ago.

Hammered and elongated soldered chain link earrings, with rosy copper molten buds.

But once complete, after enjoying it for a short while on my own, I must present the result of my efforts to the world. I really can’t expect pieces to sell if they’re still sitting on my work bench unseen. And this is the part, like most artisan sellers and self-representing artists, that I find most tedious, time-consuming and plain disagreeable.

A pendant in progress, which has since been antiqued. I love to see raw shiny just-tumbled copper, so often take WIP photos at this stage. Just because the colour is so pretty.

As someone who has listed photography as a passion for an alarmingly large number of years, I do not find photographing my work to be in the least bit enjoyable. And despite having now done quite a lot of it and to have gradually honed my workflow to be about as efficient as I think I can get, it still seemingly takes an inordinate amount of time – far longer than it feels like it should or I’m happy to give it. And don’t even get me started on the process of measuring everything, working out a price and writing appropriate descriptions. I get through it by issuing myself with incentives – if I finish listing two items, I can work on the bracelet I’d started etc.

Large Serpentine beads spiral wrapped with copper into this bracelet with hand crafted hook and an adjustable chain closure and Aventurine dangle. The copper has been antiqued.

So, in the purely selfish interest of trying to make it look like I have actually done something of late, I present some of my latest pieces and the first photographs I’ve taken of them. I’ve also included some work in progress photos (WIP) as I often take photographs for my own reference and they don’t otherwise ever see the light of day.

Only another 25 pieces and several hours wrangling photo props and cameras and then manipulating images left to go!

7 thoughts on “This week I have mostly been working in copper

  1. hello gorgeous Boo, I’m LOVING these creations and I want to see more, I love how you’ve coiled the wire to perfection….my fav is the pendant, but having said that I could quite easily see your gorgeous bracelets sitting pretty around my wrist!

    Have a creative day…. ;o)


    hello gorgeous xxx

  2. Thanks Fiona. I spent ages working out how to link spirals together fluidly for a commission (to match some earrings I have with the same finish), then found loads of bracelets with exactly the same shaped links, so it’s obviously a fairly classic design and I’m not as clever or original as I’d thought! 😉

  3. The design of the spiral linked bracelet is lovely. I bet it looks really great on. I must try working in copper sometime.

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