I think my favorite finish Mike does in copper is his corrugated texture. He does a simple light sconce that adds just the right touch of country to a wall. This corrugated copper isn’t storebought- Mike bends each fold himself in his home-made jig. That’s what makes the look so appealing to me.
It combines the industrial form and the warmth of rustic. I could very well see this copper on my roof, and siding the outside of my house. Add a little stacked stone or barnwood and . . . Oh yes, I’m home.
A range hood in Mike’s corrugated copper is my dream kitchen center piece. It would look so good with my country collections and copper accents.
Our copper shutters keep the summer sun out, and allow winter mornings to move slowly for our guests who visit. I can picture it in cabinet inserts, and remember a beautiful barwrap application Mike did.
Our showroom desk was a great example of the corrugated texture combined with a bolder pattern.
That brings me to the artwork Mike does that incorporates the corrugated copper with mesh, hammered copper and patinas from the hidden corners of his shop.
Do you think I’d be going too far to wish for a corrugated copper roof for my new chicken coop? Maybe that’s just a little too much, but wouldn’t it look great?
A client recently commissioned a custom copper frame for her fine art print, “Masquerade De Valentin”, by Gina Jrel. Jrel’s work is very unique, and the frame needed to reflect that.
The frame echoes the painting’s movement, whimsy, and contemporary style through the ribbons of copper and verdigris medallions.
The delicate, open structure of the frame allows the vibrant colors, a trademark of Jrel’s artwork, to stand out.
Creating a piece that would uniquely join Mike’s style of copper work, and the contemporary finish of the artwork produced a challenge Mike appreciates in his work.
What do you think of the contemporary style of this copper frame? Do you have pieces of art in your collection that you may not have considered using copper as the medium for framing? I hope this story lets you see some of the possibilities for adding copper accents to your artwork.
The thermometer is dropping and even the desert is cold in winter. The challenge of keeping the metal shop warm is ongoing. Cold fingers make manipulating materials next to impossible, and cold feet just make sore bones.
A wood stove would be cozy, but with all the materials and supplies we use, there would need to be a lot of space cleared for safety. It wouldn’t be cost effective to heat the shop continually with a furnace like we do the house. So we use the most efficient and inexpensive sources available.
The big, open, south facing shop door is Mike’s favorite. The mid morning sun blasts down on the concrete like Christmas. His tunes float through the air like a 70’s rock concert, and he heats copper on the gravel outside. That big torch really adds warmth to the surrounding area.
Work benches hover at the opening and my solar powered coppersmith is in his element. The sunny Southern exposure energizes him to create some amazing works of art.
Maybe next year we’ll clear out a section to move in the Glass kiln. That little workhorse heats up to 1500° in an enclosed unit, and puts out a lot of warmth; too much for the summertime temperatures around here. But we’re just beginning with winter now and the heat sounds glorious.
Do you have a sunny workspace to be creative in? How do you keep the winter chill under control in your studio?
What do you do when the days get shorter? Add more light!
These great little steel lights are a combination of simple and whimsy. Mike uses the plasma cutter to create stars or a crescent moon. Silver mica is the insert that sends light shimmering along the wall.
They can be used indoors alone, or assembled in a group for punch. One customer suggested they will be the “icing on the cake” in an arrangement on a stone wall fireplace.
The lights can be used outside in a covered area as well. Mica doesn’t take well to excess water, so that covering is protection.
Our plain square light compliments the moon and stars and can be added in less focal spaces for a warm glow. The patina on all three lights makes them look naturally aged, and adds that industrial flare that works well with eclectic and modern styles.
Something about Fall is incredibly invigorating. I think it’s the changing light with the cooling weather. The cold air of morning is pierced by the growing sunlight, and the evening begs a helping hand to continue the glow.
These simple steel lights are the perfect answer.
How would you use them to warm up your seasons? An Autumn accent? A Christmas sparkle? Please let us know in the comments below.
An entry door characterizes the soul of the house. It can make a statement about the people who live inside. A beautiful door can welcome visitors, and add value to the home.
Mike recently had the opportunity to resurface a set of doors in our area, and the result was a warm and welcoming, artistic statement about the couple who live there. The copper doors open to a home filled with light and creativity.
The doors had originally been wood, but the finish was worn by the sun.
Mike created a set of copper panels that were carefully crafted to highlight the home’s design and setting. They echo the colors of the canyon that surrounds them.
The panels were individually attached to the built up surface of the doors with copper nails.
These doors were heavy, so Mike built a rolling frame for us to move them inside the shop, and outside for finishing and loading. This made turning them manageable for just the two of us. It took three men to unload and install them at the jobsite.
These copper doors will weather gently with time and withstand the desert heat. They will protect the home and add value. They make a bold statement about the homeowners and the artist who painstakingly revived them.
We started our kitchen remodel, oh . . . let’s see, about 4 years ago. Wow. It shouldn’t take that long, but life happens. Things get pushed aside and reprioritized. There’s always tomorrow. Well, this summer became my tomorrow and I have been determined to finish things up. I’m going through the whole house-closets, file drawers, studio and whole rooms to make it right.
Mike made this beautiful little cabinet years ago and we have used it mainly for portfolios and business cards in the office area. But recently I told him I needed a small bookcase for my cookbooks. Being the clever man he is, and knowing that we don’t want to buy, buy, buy but make good use of things we already have, he offered up this little cabinet for my collection. It’s so perfect.
I love books, and my favorite for many years were cookbooks, so there are some real treasures in there. I bought one in Alaska when I visited my friends there after High School, my Aunt brought some back for me from her travels around the world in the ’80s, and my family gave me many of them for Christmas and birthdays. I’ve used something out of every one of them, and some are so worn I have to carefully turn the pages to use my favorite recipes.
I love that the top makes an interesting place to display our work too. Mike has made some really cool cabinets through the years. . . like this Willow Cabinet a friend’s husband bought her for a special occasion one year. She keeps it by her front door.
And another that neighbors purchased and switched out the door for glass to display their treasures. . .
Then there is his trademark Cactus Cabinet created for the Western Design Conference in Wyoming one year. . .
This piece still takes my breath away. It is so full of character and Mike’s style.
So it’s back to the organizing and sorting and cleaning. . . I’m still determined, and who knows what we’ll come up with in the end. Hopefully a great place that reflects our work and style, with room to move and welcome guests, and enjoy the work of our hands with a little more eaze.
How do you use and re-use to make your space a reflection of you? Please let us know in the comments below. We’d love to see your ideas.
I had such good intentions this morning. I’ve put so much effort all month into cleaning up and organizing the studio . . . and it really feels good to be in there.
There are commissioned pieces started; like these wedding roses.
And pieces to be fused that I’ve put off all summer waiting for cooler weather to begin.
So I started out strong. I fired up the kiln-(this baby will go to 1480° today). But the weather was just too beautiful. I had to wear a sweater to take the dogs out this morning. That reminded me that we have been talking about getting wood for weeks now, and we haven’t done it. Fall in the desert is just like Spring- short and sweet. Before we know it there will be more than a nip in the air. There will be a freeze and strong winds, and I’ll wish we had a fire in the woodstove, and I’ll regret not getting wood.
So I put the dogs in the truck, and we headed up the road. The work will be there later, but I have to get out there now. . . while it’s so beautiful.
I loaded the truck with wood from a friend.
And stopped in the canyon on the way home, to stretch my legs, and savor the cool air.
Can you smell that sage brush? There is nothing else like it.
In abundance. . .
Then it was home to unload the wood. That was a great way to spend the morning. I don’t feel guilty at all. I may take more of these unplanned detours from work in the near future too. They make me so happy.
Do you shirk responsibilities now and then? How do you detour to keep your sanity and focus on the now? Please let me know in the comments of this post. I’d like to hear from you.
As I was going over some of my notes recently on Color Theory, these concepts stood out, as they relate to copper:
Impact of depth perception
Emphasis of contrast
Sense of balance
Psychological response of user
Color Characteristics–Visual sensations
Emptiness of white-
Darkness of black
. . . and there it was! The answer to my question “What do we love so much about copper?”
Copper lies right in the middle of that “emptiness of white & darkness of black” with its muted gold, deep orange, brown and rust tones. Copper fills that void of white emptiness and sheds a soft light, subtly reflecting its surroundings.
And this gives it depth and contrast- as a mixed media, copper blends well with water, wood, glass or steel, and colors from green to orange compliment its variations in tone.
There is balance -copper creates a sense of grounding. Maybe it’s the organic nature of the material or maybe it’s the tactile sense of the textures possible with copper.
All of these traits of the age old substance elicit something we connect to in its familiarity. Its warmth invites participation in a conversation- whether silent or shared openly. We love to be drawn into the shape, texture and focus of copper and have come to count on its calming aesthetics.
What is it that you love the most about copper? Let us know in the comments below.