Featured Artisans ~ UniQue Treasures ~ Janet and Connie

By Janet Colvin (UniQueTreasures) on May 10, 2010

In the Featured Artisan Articles, I usually bring you other artists whose work I feel you all will appreciate. This time I'd like to share a little about Connie and I and the copper sculptures we have created. I hope you enjoy seeing how our craft has progressed over the past few years. If you would like to be a Featured Artisan, please let me know. I love to show off our Cubits' Artists.

Music is Optional
Click here to play
Little River Band - It's a Long Way There
as you read this article.

 

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My sister, Connie (maidentheshade) and I create Garden Nymphs, Skeeters, Dragonflies, Praying Mantis, among other things.

Connie's been creating copper sculptures for her yard (and mine) for several years.  She made everything from lizards to angels.  They were awesome sculptures, but as Connie would be the first to tell you, they were quite crude.
She did pretty good for using leftover parts from her ex-husband's AC work truck and his old acetylene torch.  These sculptures are still a part of Connie's back yard decor.

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I have a great selection of beads and gemstones from when I was making jewelry.  These really come in handy for accessorizing the sculptures.

 

 

I began to learn the process of working with the copper when we began making our sculptures. I started beading jewelry several years ago and really enjoyed creating the jewelry and accessories for the Nymphs and other sculptures. We have tried our best to create each sculptures with "personality" with beading details, etc. and even named them accordingly.

 I've wire wrapped jewelry for myself over the years. It's a lot different, yet basically the same, making things so small to fit the sculptures.  We are constantly searching for beads with bigger holes because the smaller copper wire will deteriorate over time and break.

 


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I can't describe the appreciation I have for being able to take pieces of copper and help to turn them into works of art. There's a lot of oohing and aahing as each detail is added to the piece. We used several photos of actual mosquitos posted on Dave's Garden as a reference on trying to be "accurate" on the skeeters we made. Each sculpture is uniquely different because each one is a trial and error process as our knowledge increases.


 

No chemicals are used by us to create the colors on our sculptures.  The irridescent colors are created by "torching" the wings, etc. when we are finished. It's not an easy process at all. The mix of oxygen and acetylene has to be just right and the size of the flame has a lot to do with it, as well. We do a whole lot of oohing and aahing while we are trying to get the colors to appear. I asked Connie if the colors would remain after the sculpture began it's patina process (over time) and sadly, she said probably not. Only time will actually tell. But Doggone it, we'll enjoy the colors while they *ARE* there. :-)  We coat our sculptures with a product called Everbrite to protect the copper from outside elements but haven't had long enough to really test it out yet.


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2010-04-30/UniQueTreasures/1b7f69 Connie and I both feel that we've progressed in our craft. When we started making the mosquitos, my husband said we should use more copper and not so many beads. Phewey! What does he know!!! Looking back at the original garden nymphs, we can definitely see just how far we've come along.
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Having done kinetic sculptures now, we truly do feel that the sky is the limit. Using a variety of beads helps to add motion to the sculptures. Connie and I have always been fascinated with "mobile" art. Our imaginations are both pretty vivid, and that makes it easier to come up with unique sculptures.

One thing that has helped tremendously is that we've been given free reign to let our imaginations go. Therefore we aren't trying to meet anyone's expectations by having to try to "see" exactly what the customer is imagining. 


Some of our sculptures
(Click on the links to see more photos of these sculptures) 

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Victor's Dragonfly and Praying Mantis

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Cath's Mermaid

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Balvenie (Robert Dokka) and Penelope
Balvenie asked us to create a sculpture that would hang from
the arbor moon gate that he'd built himself.

Balvenie was a very talented woodworker that we met
on davesgarden.com in the Artisans Forum.

He asked if we'd be willing to "document" the creation with photos
so that other artisans might see
what all was involved
in creating a sculpture from copper.

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Ostrich Planter Topiary

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Linda's Garden Nymph

Connie and I have a lot of fun coming up with ideas and trying new things. It's neat to see one of us get an idea and I'm sure it would be comical to others to see the expressions on our faces as our imaginations run amok.   See more of our Copper Sculptures.

Connie has always had the God given talent to visualize things that us normal folks just weren't given. Even as a child I remember one of her science projects where she made this humongous fly sculpture (probably about 18 inches, but remember I was a kid, so I may be wrong about that). I don't remember what he was made of except that it was of a soft bumpy sticky substance. It reminded me of something we call Pookendooey (think the tacky stuff that teachers use to put up stuff on bulletin boards with). He was the coolest thing I'd ever seen.

Connie paints, sews, and does just about any other thing she sets her mind to do.  It seems that nothing is impossible for her. If she doesn't know how to do something, she will pick people's brains, or search the internet until she figures it out.  In addition to that, she's a pure pleasure to work with.  She never belittles an idea, but if she feels it's not going to work, she will explain why not.

It's especially nice being able to enjoy what we are doing. That makes it seem less like work, and more like play! :-)  We've enjoyed making the sculptures so much. It's a "me" time for the both of us, rather than being a "laboring" kind of thing. We both learn something every time we create a new sculpture.  We both love researching on the internet to be sure we get things right.  Things like musculature, and other details that might be overlooked otherwise. 

Best thing of all is being able to work together.  Connie and I compliment each other so well.  She's all about the logistics of the sculptures, whereas I'm all about the "bling".  Working together, we add the best of both worlds to each sculpture we create.

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We couldn't find pretty enough chains to hang Penelope from
so I wire wrapped them myself using clear seed beads.

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Connie draws out the pattern for Penelope's dress. 
Once the paper pattern is cut out, it will be transferred to Copper.

2010-04-30/UniQueTreasures/a0c930Once the pattern is cut from copper,
we take turns hammering some curves into the dress.

2010-04-30/UniQueTreasures/24b6d2Connie created the chain that Penelope hangs from one link at a time. 
She welded each individual link to make sure it would never give out.

I'm proud to say that so far, all of our customers have been pleased as punch with the sculptures we've created. Each of our sculptures is custom created and designed with detail in mind. We don't have any set pricing list, because each one is pretty much unique (no pun intended there). We are pretty open to ideas though and would be happy to hear any special requests.  If anyone is interested in having a sculpture created, please just send a cmail to UniQue Treasures and we will give you an estimate on the cost.

I hope you've enjoyed reading more about Connie and I.  Your comments are always welcome here.

You can see more articles about our sculptures in the Artisan's Nook.  We are currently working on a Coleus Mama Sculpture for Alice in Sweden.  You can see more of this sculpture in the Nook.

We encourage you to stop by the Artisan's Nook and post some of your own work.  Don't be bashful.  There are lots of different studios to post your work in.  If you don't see what you do, let me know and I'll find a place for you to post your work.  Everyone loves to see how creative they can be.  We love featuring artists of all mediums.  Perhaps you'll be the next Featured Artisan!

 

 


Related articles:
Artisan's Nook, Copper Garden Art, Copper Mermaid, Copper Sculptures, Dragonflies, Featured Artisan, Garden Nymphs, Ostrich Topiary Planter, Penelope and the Elusive Butterfly, Praying Mantis, Skeeters, UniQue Treasures

About Janet Colvin
I love unique and unusual things. Connie and I create Copper Sculptures from new and recycled materials. I love thrift shopping and love a good bargain.

I'm married to a great guy, with 2 beautiful daughters and 4 incredible grandchildren and we live in Southeast Texas.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
Excellent, Janet and Connie! nap May 11, 2010 6:31 PM 14
Wonderful kaglic May 11, 2010 6:00 PM 1

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