I have a unique enjoyment of copper. I love copper. I love how it looks when it’s polished. I love how copper wears slowly darkening with time. The same can be said for bronze and brass. If this hobby ever stops becoming an economic drain however I need to start selling! Could I sell bronze copper and brass creations or is there not a market for them? If there is, how shall I pander to it? Who has had success working with bronze or brass? How do you disclose common problems (fingers turning green, tarnish etc) to customers?
I sell copper and brass craft jewellery. I have a friend who specializes in copper. He clear coats the insides of his. But for people who insist it helps their arthritis pain he has some that it plain.
I am not sure pander is the word you want. But marketing a product to a clientel is something else again. I make it, display it at art shows, and people buy it or they don’t. My wife wears it which helps. I try to make it unique and not like my Sterling jewelry. In some ways the copper and brass are more art jewelry than my silver.
It takes the same amount of work to make a cuff bracelet in copper as it does in silver. If you do a mark up on the cost of your copper in the same way you do your silver and then add in your labor and other expenses you are close to selling just for the labor.
You have to charge for the art.
Your enjoyment isn’t really that unique. A lot of people work in copper. You shouldn’t let being able to sell something be your only criteria for working in it. It you like working with copper, or any material, work with it. Your enthusiasm will show in both your work and how you present it to others, possibly resulting in sales. Like my brother, I use copper to try out new designs and techniques. Many times the copper piece sells before the silver piece that it was the model for. I buy large 12X12 pieces of 18 gauge sheet and then cut it into whatever shape I need and roll it or forge it to the final shape. I also buy 8 - 4 gauge wire at Lowes and use this for models and even pieces that I sell. I have a series of large heavily forged, textured and otherwise manipulated cuffs on my website that I do when I just need to be very physical with a piece of metal. They sell in the right market for $50 - $80 each. It takes the right market and a store that is willing to promote them. They do tarnish and you need to let your customers know this. I say that you can bring it back to be polished whenever you want me to, that is part of the deal. I find that a quick tumble in stainless steel shot will clean it up. Rinse well in water, dry and then apply Renaissance Wax. Do the same thing on your polishing wheel, but make sure to get it clean. I don’t work in brass or bronze, but I am sure that the above will apply to them too. They are all beautiful metals. Have fun, it will show in your work…Rob
At this stage in just starting my career, I’ll pander to any market to make my first few sales thank you for your insights
I’ve seen lot of art jewelry fabricated in bronze, especially anticlastic pieces. (Nancy Linkin and Michael Goode are two of the best known practitioners.) Scroll through sites like Pinterest and Artful Home—you will find high-value jewelry in bronze.
Metalsmith Megan Auman has created an entire line of statement jewelry in brass and steel with occasional accents of gold or silver; her jewelry is in high demand. She admits that the reason her jewelry is considered a luxury item is because she chooses to market it as a luxury item.
How you choose to present and to price you work will shape the perceived value of your work. Are you proud of your work? If yes, price it accordingly. Then work on the narrative that justifies your prices. When you explain the work and time that goes into your jewelry, buyers will respond.