Taliesin West

Taliesin West1
Taliesin West

We visited Arizona recently, and one of the highlights was a tour of Taliesin West, a National Historic Landmark in North Scottsdale.

Living Spaces at Talilesin West with Mike Dumas Copper Designs
Living Spaces at Taliesin West

The home was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built between 1937 and 1959 as his winter residence, evolving over its 22 year creation. Wright and his apprentices spent several years handcrafting the home from the surrounding elements; rocks from the local McDowell Mountains make up many of the homes walls and landscape. Wood beams, unmarred by paint, accent the low ceilings and create the homes structure. Light is ever present and takes center stage. The home is a monument to Wright’s ingenious love affair with nature and element.

Grotto at Taliesin West
Grotto at Taliesin West

We were visiting in February, a magical time in the Sonoran Desert, but we could easily imagine the coolness of the spaces Wright set aside for comfort in the heat of May; the Grotto with thick stone walls, and small windows situated for air circulation;

Artesian Spring at Taliesin West with Mike Dumas Copper Designs
Artesian Spring at Taliesin West

Water from an artesian spring flowing all through the property;

Concrete and Stone Walls at Taliesin West with http://mikedumascopperdesigns.com
Concrete and Stone Walls at Taliesin West

The Cabaret with its multileveled seating and again, deep stone walls. Concrete is an element used throughout the home and adds to the natural comfort of the spaces.

Breezeway at Taliesin West-Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.
Breezeway at Taliesin West

The outside areas were just as impressive and appealing as the indoors. To me, that is what made the home so inviting. I know those beautiful desert skies full of stars, and the cool breezes that make sleeping with an open window so cherished. Wright created walls that could be completely opened in the night for that comfort. The breezeway with its massive fireplace just off the dining room would have been my main choice for lingering into winter evenings.

It is notable that the home is still used as a place of education, to inspire and hone architectural and engineering skills. And the public is a welcomed part of that mission.

Tree Pose Under Giant Saguaro
Tree Pose

Copper is my favorite natural element in our home. How do you include natural elements into your home design? What feelings do they create for you? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks.

 

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Love Your Lighting

Would you like to Love your lighting? Add charm to an otherwise common gathering space or warm up a blank wall?
Then make it . . . unique.
Copper Cactus Light Sconce
Copper Cactus Light Sconce
Lighting can add warmth, character and atmosphere in a simple application.
Copper and Glass Light Sconce
Copper and Glass w/Copper Mesh
Our lights are made, one by one, piece by piece, with our own hands and in our studio. We love what we do and our inspiration is to create art-for your space.
Horizontal Corrugated Steel Light Sconce
Horizontal-Corrugated Steel Light Sconce

How would you like to change up the lighting in your unique space? See our work HERE and let us help you Love your Lighting.

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Balancing Busy and Business

Talking with my good friend recently, I wondered if I have been putting off productivity in place of busyness. Before Christmas I made sure I had lots of supplies and materials in place to get really creative after the New Year. I would put the hustle and bustle of the Holidays to rest, and get to work in the studio. I would let the winter inspire my quiet contemplative side and use my ideas for projects that can only be done when there are no other distractions to melt the time. Then she asked me what I had been working on . . . in my glass . . . I didn’t have an answer. I had let the studio sit in quiet again, and needed to remedy that.

Galaxy Pendants/ Fused Glass by Julie Dumas of Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.
Galaxy Pendants/ Fused Glass

I decluttered the workbench and dug into the shelves, and found . . . I HAVE been creating glasswork, I just haven’t finished it. Well, that changed this week. I made time for stringing some of the pendants I made in December, photogaphing them and adding them to our Etsy shop. I enjoyed writing the descriptions for these pieces and realized I can’t wait to get cracking on more.

Fused Glass Pendant Necklaces
Fused Glass Pendant Necklaces

I signed up for a great workshop in March with Tanya Veit of AAE Glass, and watched some tutorials about processes that look exciting and challenging to add to my artwork.

I’m waiting for a glass order to be delivered today so Mike and I can proceed with more lights that include copper and glass. I’m filling some new molds with beautiful colors again, and feeling so grateful for the priveledge of doing what I do.

I also realized that I HAVE been productive in the studio, it’s just been in the business side of things and that is the really hard part, the part that just doesn’t come natural. The part that can throw me for a loop if I let it, but a part that is critical to being able to keep our business going.

That same friend once told me that Libras (as we both are) are all about balance, and I think I must have some pretty crazy moons or planets in my charts that make for a substantially “tipped” scale. I long for balance but it just escapes me.

Are there places in your work that you are finding hard to balance? What tools do you have in place to help you remedy that? Please tell me about them in the comments below.

Thanks.

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10 Year Copper Anniversary

Thunderbird Copper Coffee Table
Thunderbird Copper Coffee Table

Ten years ago Mike decided to evolve his business from woodworking to copper work. It was a good choice and a natural progression for his style and tastes.

The pieces he creates are a unique and colorful representation of this desert he loves. Designs are not cast in stone, but flow from the process of coaxing out colors with heat, then bending and shaping the metal to forms that are sometimes practical and sometimes “just because”.

Copper Plateau
Zion National Park Copper Plateau

Copper is such a warm and versatile material that it lends itself beautifully to both lighting and artwork.

Corrugated Copper Light Sconces by Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.
Corrugated Copper Light Sconces
Solar Flare Copper Art
Solar Flare Copper Art

Evolution hasn’t stopped with the changing of a business name either. Now Mike has created a great line of lighting that uses galvanized steel. The steel lights fit well, just as copper does, in many different styles of decorating from industrial to rustic, and modern to traditional. And our customers like the simplicity of these designs.

Square Steel Light Sconce
Perfect Little Square Steel Light Sconce

2015 is off to a good start with lighting orders, and we have some new designs in the works that will include glass and copper mesh as well as cast glass elements.

New Logo Mike Dumas Copper Designs
New Logo Mike Dumas Copper Designs

Our new logo is also a fresh addition to our Company’s growth. Watch for it on our website and posts, and please share it with others you think might enjoy our work.
Thanks,

julie and Mike

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North Rim Glass Studio, LLC

I was privileged to interview just a few of the artists at the 2014 Western Design Conference in September as we showed our copper and glass art there.

Jared and Nicole Davis are North Rim Glass Studio, LLC . When asked how they got started in glass their answer was, “We didn’t pick glass, it picked us.”

Jared and Nicole Davis of North Rim Glass Studio- at the 2014 Western Design Conference
Jared and Nicole Davis of North Rim Glass Studio- at the 2014 Western Design Conference

In the early 90’s Jared had the opportunity to begin an apprenticeship with a local glass studio. Three years into that apprenticeship, he met Jan-Erik Ritzman and Sven Ake Carlsson of Transjo Sweden, and was invited to study with them. Jared, Nicole, and their 2 small children spent 2 years living in Sweden where the couple perfected their glass skills.

You can read about their techniques and adventures at northrimglassstudio.com

The pieces the Davis’s showed at the Western Design Conference in September were incredibly beautiful. They received Honorable Mention in the Accents category. Jared says he is the principal designer of the vases, and Nicole designs the chandeliers.

One of their designs I was especially drawn to, resembles Rakuu. They explained to me that it is done with a reduction technique that creates a metallic finish.

Their chandeliers are compellingly reminiscent of antlers, in both color and texture but reflect the light so beautifully.

Glass blowing is a different animal, altogether, from stained glass and fusing and I am always in awe of the artists who have perfected its challenge. It was very nice to visit Nicole and Jared’s booth and hear their unique story.

North Rim Glass is located in Crawford, Colorado and their studio is open to the public.

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Gearing up for Autumn in the Kiln Studio

Kiln at Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.
Summered Over Kiln
Cold weather means the  perfect time to fire up the kiln. So that means I have to clean a summer’s worth of dust and dirt from the kiln studio . . . which isn’t a bad thing.
Glass Racks at Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.
Glass RAcks
It can be really refreshing and inspiring to look through the glass racks and dust off the molds. It helps that sun is pouring through the windows and our Southwest desert is sparkling from a recent rain.
Glass Molds at Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.
Fusing Glass Molds
The dogs are basking in the sun on the concrete right outside the door, and I’m happy to be organizing something other than paperwork. I’ve primed the shelves and leaned them against the wall so they’re ready for service.
Kiln Shelves at Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.
Kiln Shelves at Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.

I found 2 bottle molds that will make great serving dishes out of the summer wine bottles.

Molds ready for firing at Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.
Bottle Molds for Fusing Wine Bottles
The colors and bold light of Autumn are making this winter’s possibilities, and surprises from the kiln . . . Exciting!!
Autumn Glass
Autumn
Autumn's Colors at Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.
Autumn’s Colors

Are you inspired by the sights and sounds of Autumn? We’d like to hear about your inspirations in the comments below.

Thanks.

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Copper and Wood-Walnut Table “Serenity”

When there’s a chill in the air, it reminds us it’s time to move indoors. But it doesn’t have to mean stale and stagnant. For those of us that love the sights and sounds of nature, there are so many ways to hold on to that sensation and bring it indoors. One of our favorite ways to do that is with furniture made of natural materials- copper and wood of course.
Black Walnut Table with Copper Water Feature
Black Walnut Coffee Table
We have a Black Walnut table created with sturdy driftwood legs that fits the bill. Mike made it with a small copper basin that pumps water gently over sandstone rocks. These could easily be replaced with smooth glass nuggets that would reflect the lights and add a whole new dimension to the piece.
Copper Water Feature in Black Walnut Table by Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.
Copper Water Feature in Black Walnut Table
This table is 55″ long x 35″ wide x 16″ high- with plenty of room for your morning coffee and laptop, or you could put your feet up on it and relax to the sound of water in the evening.
Black Walnut Coffee Table with Copper Water Feature by Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.
Black Walnut Coffee Table with Copper Water Feature

The natural Black Walnut slab is strong and holds its own story. The driftwood legs are like petrified wood but smoothed by the waves and time, and the copper basin was formed by hand to fit the table uniquely.

If you would like to add this piece of art to your own home furnishings, just let us know. We’d be glad to give you more information about this table.
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October Endings

Pallet Fence by Mike Dumas Copper Designs
Pallet Fence Beginnings

It’s been a busy October. In our desert, it’s time to stay outside as much as possible. Mike built me a Pallet Fence in a bare area of our backyard for next spring and I’ve been hauling blocks from every corner of the yard for flower beds. I’m being watched- carefully.

Gate Keepers at Mike Dumas Copper Designs
Gate Keepers

I’ve finally gotten around to keeping these girls out of my vegetables and look what we have waiting.

Lettuce in the garden of Mike Dumas Copper Designs
Lettuce in October . . . yum.
Cabbage and marigolds at Mike Dumas Copper Designs
Cabbage in Abundance

And herbs drying in the kitchen.

Drying Herbs at Mike Dumas Copper Designs
Sage Drying in the Kitchen

There’s work to be done in the studio . . . and I try to balance my time between the two.

Stained Glass Pantry Door by Mike Dumas Copper Designs
Stained Glass Pantry Door

There are projects to finish for my own remodel . . .

Fused Glass Cabinet Door by Mike Dumas Copper Designs
Fused Glass Cabinet Door

And projects from long ago to revamp and bring back to life for our Etsy shop.

Fused Glass House Numbers by Mike Dumas Copper Designs
Fused Glass House Numbers by Mike Dumas Copper Designs

But for now, I will enjoy the cooler days and join Guido in watching the bits of progress on our homefront.

Guido Watching the Garden at Mike Dumas Copper Designs
Loving the Cooler Weather

How do you spend the fall days on your homefront? Let us know in the comments below. 

Thanks.

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Copper Wind Sculpture and Turning 58!

Copper Wind Sculpture by Whitaker's Studio-A gift from Mike
Mike’s Gift to Me-Copper Wind Sculpture by Whitaker Studio
Birthdays ‘aint so bad when someone loves you enough to give you something that will last a lifetime, and then shares it with you.
Mike gave me a Double Helix Horizontal wind sculpture from Whitaker Studio and we are really enjoying it on these cool Fall days.
The sculpture moves so gracefully and smooth when it seems there is no breeze at all. It reminds me that God’s breath is always present in my life.
Wind and Water at Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.
Wind and Water at Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.
This sculpture has a place next to our copper water feature that the birds love so much. I wrote about it here. Now when the winter freezes the fountain, and we have to shut it down, we will still have a focal point in our little entry-garden. I love so much to sit on the porch and just feel the sun and the fresh air.
Copper makes such a warm and beautiful accent to gardens, and Mike knows how much I love my gardens. What a great surprise this birthday brought.
Have you been given any copper art as a gift? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Thanks.
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Dr. C’s Designs at the Western Design Conference 2014

Jim Ciaravella of Dr. C's Designs WDC 2014 by Mike Dumas Copper Designs
Dr. James Ciaravella of Dr. C’s Designs WDC 2014

Dr. James Ciaravella retired as a heart surgeon in 2003. Jim’s story is interesting and inspiring. With a second home in Starr Valley, Wyoming, he and his wife were perusing the shops of Jackson Hole. He tells me his wife saw a mirror she admired- accented with a whimsical boot motif on the frame and Jim told her he could make one for her.

When a friend saw the mirror, he suggested that Jim should make more and gave him the name of a designer, in Jackson, to contact. Jim went to her store and noticed it was modern and contemporary, but he told the owner his friend said the boot mirrors were “hot right now”. Knowing Jim’s friend, and obviously respecting his expertise, the designer bought the two Jim had, and one he was working on. The mirrors sold well and he kept making them, each with a little different design.

Tooled Leather Stool and Paintings by Dr. C's Designs (photo Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.)
Tooled Leather Stool and Paintings by Dr. C’s Designs

Jim taught himself leather tooling and saddle-making techniques, and used those skills in his mirror frames. He began making belts and they sold well. Since then he has branched out into painting and sculpting-creating beautiful western art, and furniture, some whimsical and some traditional.

Belt Racks by Dr. C's Designs at WDC 2014 with Mike Dumas Copper Designs
Belt Racks by Dr. C’s Designs

His six gun and fishing rod-belt hooks and toilet paper holders got a lot of attention at the show we participated in recently. Dr. James Ciaravella, owner and curator of Dr. C’s Designs, is a gracious Southern gentleman, with a penchant for creating art. He has an astute business mind, and is eager to see other artists succeed. We were fortunate to share a space next to him at this year’s Western Design Conference.

Does your work inspire you to try your hand at new things? What have you added to your list lately? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Thanks.

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