The designer requested a piece of wall art that would resemble a baby quilt; similar size and design, with patchwork panels and metal “stitching”.
Mike created a panel that has soft and subtle verdigris on each separate square of copper, and contrasting brass wire as “stitching”.
The art was created to hang in the lobby of the Women’s Hospital where the color palette is soft earth tones and rich woodworking. Other art in the room represents the joy of new life, and the calming effect of nature.
Waiting time is not always easy in hospitals, but we are proud to create a focal point for someone there, and hope our art gives them peace of mind and quiet introspect.
Copper art allows for a soulful reflection.
Does copper give you that feeling of warmth and calm? Join us in the comments and share with us your experiences.
Sometimes we get a request for a very specific and personal piece of copper work. The most recent was for a pair of copper frames that would accent two panels. The client requested restoration work on the panels as well. The panels were specific to the owners’ family heritage.
They were delicate repousse’- paper thin in some places, and they had to be handled very carefully.
Mike made the frames from alder wood, hand hammered strips of three ounce copper foil, and carefully wrapped the wood frames with the copper. They highlighted the artwork beautifully, and when we delivered them to the clients in Arizona, they were so gracious and appreciative.
The couple shared their story with us, of the wife’s family connection to copper through the copper mines of Arizona. The husband’s ancestors had descended from the Mayan culture and his family was represented in the other panel. Their copper collection was extensive and the pieces looked really nice in their home.
A few years ago Mike created a copper water feature of the “Ely Ghost Train” for a couple in Ely, Nevada that represents the Historical locomotive that still runs by their home.
Another special request came from a client who wanted a unique frame for a painting she had purchased from a local artist.
Each of these custom pieces involved a different process and each was unique in its style, but they were all distinctly copper, and all markedly Mike’s work.
It isn’t easy to share someone else’s vision, but it can be an inspiring challenge. Good for the synapses. Better than a crossword puzzle.
What is your favorite style: modern, traditional or something else? Join us in the comments and let us know.
We visited Arizona recently, and one of the highlights was a tour of Taliesin West, a National Historic Landmark in North Scottsdale.
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.
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;
Water from an artesian spring flowing all through the property;
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 is such a warm and versatile material that it lends itself beautifully to both lighting and artwork.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I found 2 bottle molds that will make great serving dishes out of the summer wine bottles.
The colors and bold light of Autumn are making this winter’s possibilities, and surprises from the kiln . . . Exciting!!
Are you inspired by the sights and sounds of Autumn? We’d like to hear about your inspirations in the comments below.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve finally gotten around to keeping these girls out of my vegetables and look what we have waiting.
And herbs drying in the kitchen.
There’s work to be done in the studio . . . and I try to balance my time between the two.
There are projects to finish for my own remodel . . .
And projects from long ago to revamp and bring back to life for our Etsy shop.
But for now, I will enjoy the cooler days and join Guido in watching the bits of progress on our homefront.
How do you spend the fall days on your homefront? Let us know in the comments below.