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Copper in the arts


#1

Hey all,

I was stalking the internet for some repouse info and stubled on the
copper/org website where they have a copper in the arts section and
thought it had some pretty good articles about copper art and the
artists who create the art and thought i would pass the site on to
others who may be interested.

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/a6

Here lately i have really been drawn to working more silver,
copper… well i should just say anything not gold. The price is
just too high and for the majority of my professional career in the
industry i have bee almost exclusive to gold and plat. So just know
realizing the working opportunities and low cost of the alternative
metals to gold and plat. i get really excited to work with new
material because for the last fifteen years while the metals were
available i simply dismissed them because they were not gold or what
not. what a closed minded oaf i was! By the way, big fan of
metalsmith bench talk on blog talk radio, great stuff is being
covered in the interviews and jay whaley does a wonderful job. go
check it out if you haven’t.

WV


#2
The price is just too high and for the majority of my professional
career in the industry i have bee almost exclusive to gold and
plat. So just know realizing the working opportunities and low cost
of the alternative metals to gold and plat. 

There has been a tendency to try to replace precious metals like
gold and platinum with supposedly “equal” substitutes. Before one
jumps on the band wagon and start strumming a banjo, consider that
gold has been around for thousands of years. History of goldsmithing
is replete with examples of trying to replace gold, to introduce
"new" materials, akin to history of medicine and miraculous cures
from the use of “snake oil”. None of these attempts ever succeeded
and so called vanguard creations were relegated to their proper
burial places - dusty shelfs of the archives, next to the inventions
like solar powered flashlight.

There is misconception that price of precious metals negatively
impacts the sale of jewellery. Nothing can be further from the
truth. You do not need to take my word for it. Look at quarterly
reports of companies like Tiffany; look at the sale of Bulgari to
LVMH. This is 6 billion dollars deal, and the first thing Bulgari
does is to lift dividends to it’s shareholders. Consider that state
of Utah has passed a law, making gold and silver coins a legal
tender, with another states looking at it with great deal of
attention. Does it sound like an industry in decline?

Ignore all that nonsense about replacing gold. Learn traditional
techniques, which do not waste gold, and become a real goldsmith.
Part of becoming one, is to understand properties of metals and how
to use it correctly. If one ponders on that for a while, it should
become crystal clear, how ridiculous this idea is to replace gold
with copper.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#3
Before one jumps on the band wagon and start strumming a banjo,
consider that gold has been around for thousands of years. 

Dear Leonid - perhaps you might visit a museum holding jewelry from
hundreds or thousands of years ago. Take a quick look at the British
Museum online site - I immediately found examples of ancient jewelry
in iron, silver and copper. So yes, gold has been around for
thousands of years… but so have these other materials.

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio
http://www.bethwicker.com


#4
perhaps you might visit a museum holding jewelry from hundreds or
thousands of years ago. Take a quick look at the British Museum
online site - I immediately found examples of ancient jewelry in
iron, silver and copper. So yes, gold has been around for thousands
of years.... but so have these other materials.

The problem is that we do not work for museums. We work for people,
and people like to wear gold. Jewellery out of other than gold
materials appear from time to time, and disappear. There is only one
metal who have endured for thousands of years, and this metal is
gold.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#5

umm…whoa! I never said i wanted to replace anything with anything
else. All i was suggesting was, hey here is a cool informative and
somewhat entertaining website and if that sounds alright maybe some
of us should check it out. If my clients want gold or plat. they
will get gold or plat. or if they want something made out of ones
toenails and an old tire then so be it. There money is all good to
me! Further more if i want to look at trying my hand at new technique
that i stand a good chance of botching up or not liking the outcome
at least i wont go broke working in copper or silver or what not.
Since i wasn’t born a master metal smith or a moderately proficient
one even, i still strive to reach my goals. Every ones circumstances
are different and i find it amazing that one can sum up a persons
skills or an entire group of peoples skills from one post. Yep I’m
talking about you Surpin. Maybe you should try to actually read the
post for what it was intended and not make the post what ever you
decide it should be about. As far as Tiffany and Bulgari go, i forgot
that they are the only places the not so super rich shop, oh wait i
just remembered the not so super rich shop at mom and pops, and
little boutique’s in strip malls and historic sections like down on
main street,every town has an old main street, but alas and
unfortunitaly the not so super rich people may shop at a mall store.
Point being for us middle to lower income people the price of gold
and plat. does impact the sale of jewelery and that’s why a lot of
stores are stocking the cases with silver. Open up a industry
magazine and you will see advertising that says “silver the new
gold”. So Leonid if you want i would be more than happy to make you a
beautiful copper spoon to dig your head out of the sand.


#6

umm…whoa! I never said i wanted to replace anything with anything
else. All i was suggesting was, hey here is a cool informative and
somewhat entertaining website and if that sounds alright maybe some
of us should check it out. If my clients want gold or plat. they
will get gold or plat. or if they want something made out of ones
toenails and an old tire then so be it. There money is all good to
me! Further more if i want to look at trying my hand at new technique
that i stand a good chance of botching up or not liking the outcome
at least i wont go broke working in copper or silver or what not.
Since i wasn’t born a master metal smith or a moderately proficient
one even, i still strive to reach my goals. Every ones circumstances
are different and i find it amazing that one can sum up a persons
skills or an entire group of peoples skills from one post. Yep I’m
talking about you Surpin. Maybe you should try to actually read the
post for what it was intended and not make the post what ever you
decide it should be about. As far as Tiffany and Bulgari go, i forgot
that they are the only places the not so super rich shop, oh wait i
just remembered the not so super rich shop at mom and pops, and
little boutique’s in strip malls and historic sections like down on
main street,every town has an old main street, but alas and
unfortunitaly the not so super rich people may shop at a mall store.
Point being for us middle to lower income people the price of gold
and plat. does impact the sale of jewelery and that’s why a lot of
stores are stocking the cases with silver. Open up a industry
magazine and you will see advertising that says “silver the new
gold”. So Leonid if you want i would be more than happy to make you a
beautiful copper spoon to dig your head out of the sand.


#7

Hi Leonid,

I have to beg to differ. (You knew I was going to do that, didn’t
you?)

If you look at the archaeological record, you’ll see that the vast
majority of jewelry made in most times and places was of base metals
of various sorts. What’s skewing your perception is that base metals
don’t survive very well, and the survivors tend to look like lumps of
green crud, while precious metal survivors look pretty good. The
precious metal stuff tends to be better made as well. (having cost so
much more originally.) But there were always more bronze, lead, tin
or iron brooches than there ever were in gold. It’s just that nobody
bothers to put the tin ones into books.

Think about it this way: for every Lamborghini on the road, there
are 50,000 Fords. For every Faberge egg, there are umpteen thousand
bits of cheap costume jewelry.

Looked at another way, for every king who could afford regalia like
the Sutton Hoo treasure, there were entire kingdoms of people who
were doing well just to afford shoes and tonight’s dinner. They were
a much bigger market than the king would ever be, so the majority of
what was made was made to fit their budget. (or lack thereof.)

Regards,
Brian.


#8

OK lol

You have a pain in your head ask a heartsurgeon what is wrong with
you its all about your heart, chiropractor you need realigned,
neurosurgeon must scan for tumors, family practioner hands you two
aspirin call me in 2 weeks if its no better

goldsmith people want to wear gold, silversmith people want to wear
silver, metalsmith people want to wear artisan jewelry made from
different metals and alloys

ME: people want to wear artisan jewelry made that they like that
doesn’t turn their skin green


#9
There has been a tendency to try to replace precious metals like
gold and platinum with supposedly "equal" substitutes. ... how
ridiculous this idea is to replace gold with copper. 

Leonid, I don’t know that anyone thinks that silver and base metals
are “equal” substitutes or replacements for gold. They are simply
different (and vastly more affordable).

... consider that gold has been around for thousands of years. 

True, but so have all the other (potential) jewelry metals, as Beth
Wicker pointed out. In ancient Mesopotamia, the earliest jewelry
metal was copper. Gold is a relative late-comer (it occurs earlier
in the Varna cemetery in Bulgaria, and there are gold and electrum
ring ingots from the Nahal Qana cave in Israel – these are all from
the 4th millennium BC). Sheet-metal copper beads and other copper
jewelry, dating to the 6th and 5th millennia BC, have been found at
Tell Es-Sawwan and Yarim Tepe (n. Iraq) and at Ali Kosh, Sialk, and
Tal-i Iblis in w. Iran. (The perforated “copper bead” from Zawi
Chemi, n. Iraq, dated to the 9th millennium BC, has been found to be
copper mineral, not metallic copper.)

Lead vessels were considered to be appropriate grave goods around
the beginning of the 3rd millennium, at Khafajah, Ur, Susa, and Anau
(some lead jewelry was found at the latter), but not after that.

Around 2600 BC, cuneiform texts use copper as the standard of value,
though by about 2500 BC, silver replaced copper in that role.

In any case, your argument from “history” is not convincing. As I
have said before, I like larger pieces of jewelry that I can wear
every day, under almost any circumstance. I am not interested in
having or making high-end jewelry. I do not go places that warrant
fancy jewelry. I also don’t want to have to keep my jewelry in a
safe-deposit box (or the like). I want decent design – this is why I
love Alexander Calder’s jewelry, most of which is made of base metal.
Not everyone wants gold jewelry or to be a goldsmith. The differences
among metalworkers and their styles is one of the things that makes
life so much fun.

Judy Bjorkman


#10

So have we officially declared that the terms goldsmith, silversmith
and metalsmith now refer to the types of metal used? Thought
goldsmithing was jewelry, silversmithing was hollowware and
metalsmithing was a catch all?


#11
The problem is that we do not work for museums. We work for
people, and people like to wear gold. Jewellery out of other than
gold materials appear from time to time, and disappear. There is
only one metal who have endured for thousands of years, and this
metal is gold. 

Well, obviously this is not true as:

  1. these other materials exist and are in exhibits in museums and in
    private collections of jewelry that is thousands of years old

  2. working for museums is not the issue - your statement was that
    these other materials did not last, that gold was the only material
    that lasted. This is patently false. Why you would insist on
    repeating a provably false statement I don’t understand.

  3. You do not understand the difference between a statement of fact,
    and a statement of opinion, and that between the opinions of some
    people, and the opinions of all people. These are vastly different
    things.

So your statement: “people like to wear gold” is presented as a
fact, when it is actually an opinion. It is provably an incorrect
"fact", as I sit here wearing - by choice - silver, and selling to
those who, like me, either prefer silver, or wear a range of metals
and materials. Most of my customers in fact wear and buy a range of
materials, and I think it can be reasonably assumed they only buy
what they “like”.

There is only one metal who have endured for thousands of years,
and this metal is gold." 

And this in response to my post suggesting you look, for only one
example, at the British Museum online site which features jewelry
that is thousands of years old in iron, copper and silver. Thus
proving your statement is false.

Clarify in your mind and in your writing the difference between your
opinion and facts - they are NOT the same!

If you were one of my college students you would be getting very
poor grades for not being able to keep these two clear!

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio
http://www.bethwicker.com


#12

I hope that everybody, who contributed to this discussion, would not
mind If I write a general response, instead of several individual
ones.

A lot of beautiful things have been created from various materials,
throughout the centuries. Nobody is going to deny that. It is not
what all this is about.

The message of the original post, that I responded to, was that gold
is dead, and here is this new metal, aka copper. This is totally
nonsensical proposition, which is not supported either by logic, or
by experience.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#13
ME: people want to wear artisan jewelry made that they like that
doesn't turn their skin green 

How about rubber jewellery(?) or, for the more adventurous, how
about leather jewellery? :smiley:

Jewellery is what people want it to be, it doesn’t matter what it’s
made from, it’s art, and “art is what I say it is” (a famous quote).

Basically “art is”, and jewellery being art… “jewellery is”.

Regards Charles A.


#14
Yep I'm talking about you Surpin. Maybe you should try to actually
read the post for what it was intended and not make the post what
ever you decide it should be about. 

I always read very carefully. The implication of your expression, (I
am paraphrasing) about been an oaf because of working with gold and
platinum, is quite clear. For my part, I am staying away from name
calling, so I just pointed out the flaws in your thesis, which are
many.

As far as Tiffany and Bulgari go, i forgot that they are the only
places the not so super rich shop, oh wait i just remembered the
not so super rich shop at mom and pops, and little boutique's in
strip malls and historic sections like down on main street,every
town has an old main street, but alas and unfortunitaly the not so
super rich people may shop at a mall store. Point being for us
middle to lower income people the price of gold and plat. does
impact the sale of jewelery and that's why a lot of stores are
stocking the cases with silver. Open up a industry magazine and you
will see advertising that says "silver the new gold". 

I am glad that you brought it up. Here is the uncomfortable truth.
it does not matter how much disdain you will inject into discussion,
it is only those who shop at Tiffany, and Bulgary, and other
establishments of similar stature, who can afford and appreciate the
level of skills and years of training that are required of goldsmith.

It does not even matter, if price of gold with triple from current
level, it will still represent an insignificant part of the total
bill. That is what you, and other industry types are missing.

Goldsmith does not sell metal, he/she sells craftsmanship. Metal
represents only a background for a display of goldsmith’s skills,
and it must be expensive.

One does not serve refined cuisine on cheap porcelain. If we would be
talking about an orchestra - a goldsmith is a conductor,
craftsmanship is the first violin, and metal and stones are simply
background singers.

So Leonid if you want i would be more than happy to make you a
beautiful copper spoon to dig your head out of the sand. 

In consideration of everything said above, I hope that you would not
feel to badly, if I decline you offer.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#15

Nobody is trying to REPLACE gold with copper…but there are many
skilled artisans and gifted designers who can no longer afford to be
sole entrepreneurs with the price of gold continuing to be beyond
their reach (and that of many of their newly disenfranchised
customers). : It’s bad enough that a percentage of former customers
can no longer live in the style to which they had been
accustomed… But should they be scorned because the fashionable
jewelry now on the market is made of a lesser metal? Their choice is
not ridiculous,. It’s pragmatic.


#16
So have we officially declared that the terms goldsmith,
silversmith and metalsmith now refer to the types of metal used? 

Just use the term “Jewellery Artist” :wink: CIA


#17

leonid,

I don’t have a problem with gold. gold is primarily how i make my
living. My problem is that you apparently have some sort of weird
gripe and insert that gripe in some random thread, And this time it
happens to be mine. Show me where i said “gold is dead”. I never was
really picking on any metal. re read my posts, slowly this time and
see if you don’t see real message. Specifically the original, all i
said was i was playing with new things, some people get tired of
eating the same sandwich every day. My business demands that i eat
the same sandwich everyday as my clients typically demand. Other
metals are fun too and i like the idea i can make a hollow copper
bangle for fun without breaking my kids college fund. As for the
tarnish, its just for fun, if i really cared that much i would plate
the dickens out of it.

On a side note, the whole what do i want to call myself thing (at
least for me) is silly, goldsmith, silversmith, metalsmith, this
seams to only really matter to a select few sticklers on the
subject. Don’t get me wrong they are all very good words from a
marketing stand point they look good on a website or facebook page. I
just don’t think the general public really gets it anyway, and notice
i said the general public. I do believe there are a discerning few
that may actually seek out specifically one of the above words. I
dabble in a little bit of every thing but my clients just simply call
me the jeweler. it just seems that these days allot of us smaller
guys and gals do a little bit of everything now even though we
started down a very specific path. Personally i guess you could call
me what ever you want, I’m just lucky i fell into this occupation in
stead of some other less appealing occupations. But at the same time
if i went to school and spent a significant wade of cash on my
education i might want to be specifically called (insert label here).

Well that’s all from me, since my original post apparently went the
way of the funny farm i guess ill post again in another couple of
years. Take care y,all.


#18

Leonid,

I’m sure you’re excellent at what you do. Quite sure. But I do wish
you would stop classifying your opinions as fact.

Copper has not only been used for fine quality work throughout
history, it’s actually fun to work with for some of us.

Gold/platinum is not the only metal worth bothering with. In fact,
many of my clients comment that they like the warmth and tonal
depth, and the approachability of copper over gold and silver. Like
ALL ornamentation, it’s all a matter of opinion.

There are no absolutes in the world of art/design.

Please consider the idea that yours is not the only valid opinion,

Lindsay Legler
Dreaming Dragon Designs


#19
it does not matter how much disdain you will inject into
discussion, it is only those who shop at Tiffany, and Bulgary, and
other establishments of similar stature, who can afford and
appreciate the level of skills and years of training that are
required of goldsmith. 

Wow Leonid - you really outdid yourself with this one!

You have quite thoroughly put most of those on this list, and in the
world as a whole, down as being ignorant and incapable of
appreciating fine smithing. Thanks - not!!! Sure wish I could
afford to shop at Tiffany and Bulgary - but never have and unless I
hit the lottery never will. Explain to me please how hitting the
lottery, which would enable me to shop there, will magically endow
me with an appreciation for and understanding of fine art and craft
that I did not possess the minute before I hit the lottery? Or fine
anything for that matter?

So sorry, but taste, knowledge, understanding, enjoyment - none of
this are tied to income. They are tied to knowledge, to learning, to
experience - most of which, thankfully, is available without
requiring the level of income necessary to shop at Tiffany or
Bulgary!

I grew up dirt poor, and we visited museums regularly - they were
free! Studied hard in public school - also free! No money required,
thank goodness! I teach at a technical college, and well over 90% of
my students are dirt poor on public grants - that does NOT mean I
can’t teach them art appreciation! Thank goodness - if only rich
students could learn art appreciation I would be out of a job!

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio
http://www.bethwicker.com


#20

Hi Cate,

I’ve been having that conversation for quite a while. You and I are
correct. I believe the uninformed think otherwise. I am both a
goldsmith and a silversmith (hollowware).

Jennifer Friedman
Ventura, CA