Monday, June 11, 2012

Fun With Copper

The past few weeks I've been having fun with copper - copper sheet and copper wire.  I've even been working a bit with copper clay.  There's something extremely freeing about working with base metals.  If you make a mistake, the cost is so much less than with silver.

The pendants on the left were all cut with a Swanstrom Disc Cutter that I borrowed from a friend.  It was so much fun to punch out all those discs - 65 altogether.  After cutting each of them out, I sanded the edges of the discs with an attachment on my dremel.  The next step was to punch a hole in each of the blanks.  After that, each disk was textured with a planishing hammer and dapped in a wooden dapping block. Then, a patina was added and polished off for that wonderful light and dark contrast.  From there, I added a jump ring with a wire wrapped 8mm stone.  Each pendant is hung on a 2.5mm leather cord with a handmade clasp.  A lot of work for a very simple necklace!

The pendant to the right was made with metal clay.   I could have made it with copper sheet by cutting out the rectangle and the two small hearts, but it's almost easier to make such a pendant with the metal clay.  Once the clay is fired, I treat the finished product just like a finished piece from sheet meal.  This pendant was dipped in a liver of sulphur patina to give it that antique finish.  It was polished off to show off some of the pretty copper.

I really like the contrast between copper and silver, so this pendant was combined with a shiny silver chain and three earthy wire wrapped stones in green, yellow and russet red.

These earrings were made with 18 gauge wire.  It was a bit of a challenge to make two components that matched in size, but I finally figured it out.  I enjoy this kind of challenge.  I think the more you make the same thing over and over again, the better you get at it.  This was definitely the case with these earrings and the matching pendants that I made.  My favorite part was to make the little wire tendrils.  It's kind of meditative to dunk the end of the wire into the flame of a torch and watch it ball up.  I made 86 of the little tendrils in one sitting.  I'm good for a while now though!

The last several days I've been focusing on getting organized.  My studio is in a total disarray.  Next weekend is the Artists Garage Sale, so I've been going through things, trying to find stuff to purge.  It feels good to be getting ready before the day before.  I'm not done yet though.  So, back to work...


  1. love the copper disk pendants :)

    1. Thanks Vickie. They were a lot of fun to make. I really want to learn more metalsmithing techniques - like fold forming.