My goal as a jewelry designer is to create wearable art for the adventurous woman - one who might like to express her individuality through the pieces she chooses to wear. For thousands of years the medium of choice for making such fashion statements has been the primal metal, copper, and its alloy, bronze, combined with semi-precious stones for a little sparkle.
Metals suitable for wearable art must be malleable so that they can be sculpted, yet brittle enough to hold a texture. They must accept a patina, but without reacting chemically with water. As a bonus, they are not prohibitively expensive like the precious metals group. Those of us who are technically inclined will be interested to know that these metals appear as a group on the periodic table within a family possessing a single s-orbital electron above the central electron cloud. For those not so inclined, this simply means that these metals do not rust away. Instead of reacting with water, copper reacts with oxygen to form a thin verdigris layer that protects the metal against further oxidation. Think of the beautiful natural hues of the Statue of Liberty.
Throughout history craftsmen have labored to develop the esthetic and functional properties of copper and it's many alloys into handcrafted jewelry. Harder than either gold or silver, copper is an ideal material for wearable art. It's alloy, bronze, is stronger than iron, remaining ductile and resonant even while it resists corrosion and fatigue. The bronze used for Oxalis and Ox Art Jewelry is a true bronze, consisting of 89% copper and 11% tin (not the brass form seen in commercial jewelry).
In my studio the creation of artisan jewelry from primal metals begins with original sketchbook designs that are sculpted and textured into works of art using copper and bronze clay. These pieces obtain their natural patinas either from the firing cycle or during subsequent reactions in the presence of oxides, ammonia, sulfur and chlorine. These patinas then acquire their own unique 'living finish' over time, exhibiting warm hues with azure highlights (expecially where most often touched) evolving into deeply personalized heirloom possessions.
What else could the maker of artisan jewelry possibly ask for? If only it killed germs!*
*On February 29,2008, the EPA registered copper and 275 of its alloys containing at least 65% copper content as anti-microbial materials effective against staphylococcus and e-coli. Present in blood, muscle, and bone, copper is not just essential to life - Oxalis copper jewelart makes copper essential to living the good life!