Copper Lighting in the Making

Copper Pocket Light Sconce by Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.
Copper Pocket Light Sconce by Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.

The beautiful copper light sconces Mike is making in the shop these days, never stop surprising me. The colors he brings out with heat and his original hand textures are always unique and captivating.

Dark Slate Copper Light Sconce by Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.
Dark Slate Copper Light Sconce by Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.

Some of the lights are dramatic, reflecting the bold colors of the desert and the deep textures of the surrounding rocks.

Rectangular Copper Light Sconce by Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.
Rectangular Copper Light Sconce by Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.

Others are simple- calming and soothing. They accent their surroundings with an uncomplicated presence.

Silver Moon Light Sconce by Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.
Silver Moon Light Sconce by Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.

Some are whimsical . . .

Copper Leaves on Glass Light Sconce by Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.
Copper Leaves on Glass Light by Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.

Some are realistic . . .

Corrugated Copper Light Sconces by Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.
Corrugated Copper Light Sconces by Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.

And some are practical.

 

Mike Creating Backs for Copper Light Sconce-Mike Dumas Copper Designs Inc.
Mike Creating Backs for Copper Light Sconce

All are one of a kind, made by two people who appreciate the freedom to “live a simple life, working with our hands, and minding our own business.”

What is your favorite material for lighting? Do you like the combination of copper and glass? Let us know in the comments below.

Thanks

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Western Art

The West is known for its simple and rustic flavor. Bringing the outside in, and the inside out is the way of the West.

Whole rooms are created without walls just to savor the fresh air and draw in the night sky, like this one by Lesa Loves Rocks.

OUtdoor Space by Lesa Rocks
Outdoor Space by Lesa Loves Rocks

Elements of wood and stone are brought indoors and turned into unusual and practical furnishings.

Serenity Table-Black Walnut with Water Feature by Mike Dumas Copper Designs
Serenity Table-Black Walnut with Water Feature

But to me, the most interesting flair of the West is the accents we use to embellish our homes and community spaces.

Recycled Copper Sign by Mike Dumas Copper Designs
Recycled Copper Art

We use old signs, recycled and embellished, and sometimes left as is.

We can’t get enough of rusty things to hang on our walls.

We use antlers and skulls from cattle and buffalo to create focal points and frame artwork.

Copper Buffalo Skull by Mike Dumas Copper Designs
Copper Buffalo Skull
Antler and Copper Candelabra by Mike Dumas Copper Designs
Antler and Copper Candelabra
Apricot Tree Antlers on Resin Skull by Mike Dumas Copper Designs
Apricot Tree Antlers on Resin Skull

Symbols of the enduring hard edges of a rough environment. Reminders of the resiliency of the inhabitants.

Next month, from September 4-7, will mark the 22nd annual Western Design Conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and we will be participating artists there. We look forward to seeing the incredible pieces of art that represent the West-old and new.

What is your favorite piece of Western Art? Do you mix it up with other styles in your home? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks.

 
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Barbed Wire Collecting as Metal Art

Barbed Wire Collection in Gnarley Woo
Barbed Wire Collection in Gnarley Wood
The things we collect. Mike and I love all things old and rusty. The things that bring us a connection with the past- ours and our culture’s. A friend recognized that obsession in us, and gave Mike a really cool Barbed Wire collection. 
Barbed Wire Collection
Collector’s tags- 1868-1968 American Barbed Wire Journal challenge.

The tags on the collection say the collector was Phil Smith, of the California Barbed Wire collectors Association, and the display was part of a challenge from The American Barbed Wire Journal  titled- “1868-1968- 100 Years of barbed wire.” 

The back of the label reads, “It’s been said that the most important factors in the taming of the West were barbed wire, the six shooter, and the windmill. There are over 1000 known types of barbed wire with a story behind every fence. Why don’t you see how many 18″ lengths you can collect to keep abreast of the phenominal wire collecting hobby.”  The American Barbed Wire Journal.
Antique Wood in Barbed Wire Collection
Antique Wood in Barbed Wire Collection
Antique Rusty Metal Barb
Antique Rusty Metal Barb
This collection is varied, from old pieces of wood mounted to the wire, to plastic wrapped with most likely, aluminum barbs. It’s mounted on a piece of carpet and easily stored. But who would want to store such a work of art? We’ve got to find a place to display this collection. It needs to hang up away from little hands and curious K9s. These barbs are serious. Some of them 1/2 inch long. I’m wondering if they were intended to keep cattle in or predators out? Maybe both.
Barbed Wire Wreath by Julie Dumas
Barbed Wire Wreath by Julie Dumas
I’ve worked with barbed wire before to create wreaths. It isn’t easy to shape or gather so I can imagine the struggle a rancher would have had stretching this very sharp wire on fence posts for miles on end. Both of my Grandfathers were just such ranchers and I wrote about one of them here. The West was and still is a rugged and wild place. It takes perseverance to stick out the cold winters and the long scorching summers. This barbed wire collection is a reminder that someone believed the challenge was worth it.
What do you collect to keep the history of your little slice of the planet alive, and how do you display it? Please share it in the comments below.

 

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Summer Copper Weather

Here we are in the thick of summer and across the nation, the weather is powerful and unusual.

Summer Storms
Summer Storms

In the Southwest, where we live and work, the skies are overcast and violet with the moisture high in the atmosphere-the ground still parched.

Copper Sky
Copper Sky

Then the evening skies are on fire with rust, crimson and gold. The iron oxide in the red rocks creates a glow in the intense summer sun.

These are the colors of copper in its unique transformation by fire.

Solar Flare Copper Art
Solar Flare Copper Art
Recycled Copper Art
Recycled Copper Art

These are the properties that draw us in and continue to intrigue us . . . that make copper art so enticing.

Copper Abstract
Copper Abstract

Do you see copper art in a neutral setting; linen walls and black accents? Or would you pair it with bold turquoise and coral? Let us know in the comments below.

Thank you.

 

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The Nightmares of Repairs

Part of being a maker is being asked to “Make this work again”. Repairing broken artwork is scary, whether it’s glass, metal or wood. Undoing is always risky, and there is the pressing chance that the repair will not be successful. Then what? Start from scratch? Well sometimes that would be the easier way.

There is the essence of the art to preserve, the uniqueness to keep in perspective. Usually there is a measure of strengthening; shoring up to work into the project. And it is especially difficult if it is someone else’s art we’ve been asked to repair.

Sometimes a customer believes that since the repair is only a small part of the project- it should go quickly and therefore, cost should be minimal. As anyone knows who has taken something apart and put it back together, the time factor is huge and should be considered. If it really was as easy as pie, “you wouldn’t be bringing it to us for repair, would you?

Fused Glass Compass Star
Fused Glass Compass Star

Most people really are aware of the difficulty and are patient, and willing to pay for the time involved. I recreated a piece for some friends that gave me new motivation when it was finished. They had purchased a beautiful gemstone inlaid globe in a copper stand. It was damaged in shipping and they asked if I could reproduce the shattered compass point. It was a huge challenge but one that lifted my confidence when it was done. They were happy and I learned some new math skills in the process- a win for both of us.

Stained Glass Rooster Needing Repair
Stained Glass Rooster “Lieutenant Dan”

My workbench is full, right now, of pieces I’ve been asked to repair, and that seems to be the time my mind soars with new ideas I would like to undertake. But nevertheless; I must get to those restorations. They can be the test of a persevering spirit, a resolute challenge.

My Own Work to Repair
My Own Work to Repair

And when they are finished . . . Oh the sigh of relief.

Do you have repair projects of your own that you have been putting off? How do you motivate yourself to get crackin’? Tell us about them in the comments below.

Thank you.

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Public Art Collections

The two pieces of art I wrote about recently; Copper Elephant Curiosity and Copper Solar Flare were part of a collection bound for a business in Sacramento. Thank you to The Ambiance Group for sharing photos with me of the artwork commissioned for their client’s office.

Copper Art for Ambiance Group
Copper Art Commissioned by The Ambiance Group
Copper Art for The Ambiance Group
Copper Art Commissioned by The Ambiance Group
Horizontal Copper Art
Horizontal Copper Art

These pieces of copper art all have a different process of development, from design to finish. Some are created using separate pieces of copper with different textures, and some are single pieces with a unique story of their own to convey.

Copper Art in Production
Copper Art in Production

Collectively, they make up a vibrant and intriguing accent to the area. This is also the case with much of the art I have been noticing in our Health Care facility while I wait for a family member being treated there.

Blue Resin Art
Blue Resin Art at Health and Performance Center

This resin sculpture was created by local artists 3form, Darin Harker, and PMI. It is calming and mesmerizing. The other end of the space has an orange sculpture of similar structure that is vivid and invigorating.

Glass and Amber Onyx Triptych
Glass and Amber Onyx Triptych

At the elevator entrance there is a triptych of glass and Amber Onyx. This work reflects the desert canyons around us with its simplicity and natural wonder.

Whitaker's Wind Sculptures
Whitaker’s Wind Sculptures

Outside the window where I write as I wait, giant wind-sculptures by Whitaker Studios move ever so subtly in the almost nonexistent breeze. The beauty of these sculptures captures my attention each time I encounter one of them.

Numerous photos of slot canyons, wildlife and nature hang on many walls in our public places, but I believe it is the sculptural art that is beginning to catch my eye.

Seeing the collections Mike creates for our clients has made me more aware of the public art I experience in my everyday life. Who created it? Does it calm me or energize me? Would I like to see it hanging in my home?

How do you feel about the art you encounter in your world? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Thank you.

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One Woman’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

Barnwood Treasure
Treasure
And I believe we have found a pot of gold, or rust or maybe the spoils of a bygone era.
I was privileged to spend some time with friends helping to clean up their summer property. The piles of metal that can’t be used to maintain their outbuildings will make perfect additions to Mike’s artwork.
 
Scrap Metal
Scrap
And throwing them in the dump would be so wasteful.
 
Rusty Gold
Rusty Gold
I breathed in the dust and pulled stickers from my shoes, I rubbed my sore muscles in the afternoon sun and knew I had found something that would make Mike smile. 
 
Old Sled
Sled
I told my friends of the quirky lighting Mike has created from sleds and wheels, and knew their cast off pieces would find new life in his creative hands. I told them how I used to complain about the piles in the yard, until I saw the beautiful art work he creates from those time warped- weather stained pieces. I’m much more patient now.
 
Relaxin' by the firepit.
Relaxin’ Time
And here I am enjoying the hunt and savoring the reveal I’ll share with him when I get home in the morning.
Do you have treasures you plan to make into something beautiful? What does it take to get you motivated to create with them? Please let us know in the comments below. . . Thanks.
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It’s a Perfect Square

For all of our math loving family and friends out there (you know who you are . . .) we’ve had several orders and inquiries this past week for our Perfect Little Square steel light sconces. They’re lighting up homes across the country with their simplicity and uniquely versatile design.

 Square Steel Light Sconce
Perfect Little Square Steel Light Sconce

Mike makes them with a plain-rustic patina to add a touch of simple to walls and accent areas . . .

Horizontal Corrugated Steel Light Sconce
Horizontal-Corrugated Steel Light Sconce

He makes them corrugated in either a horizontal or vertical direction-reminiscent of a beautiful old tin roof . . .

Vertical Corrugated Steel Light Sconce
Vertical-Corrugated Steel Square Light Sconce

And he even makes them with a hand cut moon or stars and silver mica insets, for a touch of whimsy.

Silver Moon Square Light Sconce
Silver Moon Square Light Sconce

Simple is often better, and the versatility of these lights makes them easy to decorate with. One client combined the lights on their fireplace wall for a punch of character and style.

Silver Stars Square Light Sconce
Silver Stars Square Light Sconce

These lights are also beautiful in copper with its warmth and appeal.

Copper Square Light Sconce
Copper Square Light Sconce

Steel or copper, texture or pattern, there’s a charm to these lights that is causing them to fly off the workbench. (Hmmmm . . . maybe wings would make an interesting motif!?)

What would you like to see customized in the little squares? Please tell us in the comments below.

thanks!

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Copper Designs at Western Design Conference

We’re excited to be heading to The Western Design Conference, in Jackson Hole Wyoming, in September. We applied this Spring, and were notified recently that our application was accepted. This means the creative juices can flow freely this summer. We love to be free to create something that is new and distinctly ours.

WDC Sourcebook 2008
Western Design Conference Sourcebook 2008

The last time we participated in the Design Conference was in 2008.

The Conference is a great place to meet other creatives and begin to think outside the box. There are diverse styles represented in medium from glass to stone, metal to wood, fabric to fine gems, and more.

We will connect with old friends and make new ones, and enjoy an experience that celebrates the artists with respect and appreciation for the work involved in honing our skills. There will be tributes to founders and long time participants now gone, as well as spotlights on the up and coming.

There will be the usual figiting and fumbling most artists experience when they are called on to explain and describe their work, but the commraderi and support will outweigh the discomfort.

Quilting with Flicka
Quilting with Flicka

We are blessed to have friends of many years to stay with in Jackson, and that makes our travels so enjoyable. We reconnect, breathe deep, and plan for their return to the desert for the winter, and enjoy a real working vacation for four or five days.

Old Barn in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Ahhhhhhh . . . the Tetons are calling, and Mike has me well equipped for watercolor this time!

Do you have a special gathering you enjoy and look forward to in your work? How does it feed your muse for the months ahead?

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Copper Solar Flare

Copper Solar Flare
Copper Solar Flare

Another of the collection sent, recently, to Sacramento; this copper wall art reminds me of a solar flare. I wish you could see it up close and personal. It really has more of a three dimensional character. Each of those little folds at the top is moving and molten! And the colors are incredible. They move from deep magenta to green, and on to subtle lilac, and the gleaming copper that carries the eye into infinity.

Copper Solar
Copper Solar

A friend said it reminded them of a forest with the trees on the horizon. Maybe the layers are reminiscent of our curious Bryce Canyon National Park and its hoodoos!

As I questioned Mike about how he got the effect, it was just as intriguing. I could share that with you but then . . .  well you know. Some things are better left to the imagination.

I wonder what the display wall, on the site in Sacramento, looks like. This would be beautiful on a deep rich maroon or brown wall. And just as captivating on a light background.

Would you hang a piece of art like this in your home or business, and what would your display look like? Would it be lighted, textural, mixed media? I’m interested to know.

 

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