Versatile, Malleable and Beautiful: Copper has Inspired Artists for Centuries
Thanks to its instantly-recognisable beauty and extraordinary versatility, copper has been an inspiration and aid to artists for centuries.
With a colour palette that will naturally change over time when exposed to the elements (from its gleaming new form, through rich browns to the vivid green patina of vintage copper) it can be advanced to and held at any stage of its development using a variety of treatments and techniques. Rainbow effects and a wide range of textures can also be achieved with the application of different chemical recipes.
Alloying with other metals, copper forms more staples of the art world, such as bronze and brass. A variety of resources are available to inspire artists, and assist them with achieving their desired shape, colour and form.
British artist, Sussan White-Oakes, explains how she works with copper to make a pangolin sculpture.
Adaesi Ukairo with her finished artwork at Sheffield General Hospital, UK.
Q1 How can bronze works of art be protected from corrosion if they are situated outdoors?
Either by the use of lacquers, wax polishing, or both.
Q2 I am a jewellery designer interested in using brass wire which has a white colour and good corrosion resistance, what should I use?
Use nickel-silver wire CuNi10Zn27 (CW401J). This is used in dental applications, model making and for jewellery.
Q3 What type of bronze is used for modern works of art?
Bronze has been used for centuries to create statues, and is still the first choice for modern, striking works of art. The most widely-used alloys for such objects are leaded gunmetals, such as CC492K and CC491K.
This US website explores the latest creations of artists working with copper and its alloys.