11 July 2007

Fun with Copper

It all started with a simple suncatcher a few years ago, dangling in a shop window down in Seal Beach, California. Heavy-gauge copper wire, just like you see at the hardware store or on the job site, twisted into swirls and coils with some luscious glass beads dangling just so. I kept thinking about it, so one day I rummaged through my husband's tool boxes for some wire and started twisting -- I can't say I came up with anything artistic, but I had fun and filed that exercise away under "try again someday."

Behold my "someday" bangle, one that I sold a few weeks ago and will definitely make a new version of -- copper is "in" now in the jewelry world, so much so that I saw a whole table of copper findings at my favorite gemstone supplier yesterday, and even before that had managed to scrounge together a respectable collection of headpins, jumprings, earwires, and even crimp covers not to mention some amazing, very earthy-looking copper beads. This malleable metal makes for easy twisting and weaving, and although it's not for everyone, it offers a warm contrast to turquoise's cool blues and veiny matrix. It takes on a patina naturally and quickly but polishes up nicely, too, though I'm experimenting with a woven cuff I made just for me to see how cool a patina I'll end up with if I wear it every day and neglect to polish it.

Copper is showing up in more and more suppliers' inventory, but you can start easily and cheaply by picking some up at your local hardware store.

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