The infinite recyclability of copper (was Pittsburg Library’s roof)

Janet Lewis installs copper sculptures (Credit: Janet Lewis)

Janet Lewis installs copper sculptures (Credit: Janet Lewis)

In my weekly trawl of copper stories, I came across this article on the new art adorning Pittsburg Public Library. Metal smith Janet Lewis, herself a previous reference librarian, now metalworker, reused the old copper from the library‘s roof to create a series of 14 sculptures, entitled ‘Legacy’ for the as part of the library’s refurbishment.

Inspired by the shapes and patterns Lewis saw during a visit to Beijing’s imperial Forbidden City, she spent over 500 hours bringing out the metal’s natural shapes and patterns, working with the clean metal found between the lead solder and caulking used in the construction of the original roof. A range of photos of the works can be seen on Pittsburg Public Library’s facebook page. Janet Lewis’ other work also involves reusing found and natural materials. Continue reading

Traditional copper and brass working in Italy

Cesare and Iolanda Mazzetti, Bottega del Rame

Bottega del Rame, Montepulciano (Credit: Rinomata Rameria Mazzetti)

While searching for interesting sites that talk about copper history, I came across the intriguing website of the Bottega del Rame in the Montepulciano region in central Italy. The workshop is owned and run by Cesare and Iolanda Mazzetti who inherited the business from their ancestors and now continue a long family tradition in copper crafting. I was particularly drawn to reading about the Bottega because copper as art and craft is not particularly fashionable, nor well known outside ornamental rusticalia and perhaps the niche modern jewellery markets, many examples of which you can see in the Beautiful Copper Group on Flickr. Since the nineteenth century, the Bottega has produced copper objects by recycling old ones. Cesare’s grandfather was crafting copper while his grandmother went to the markets to sell it in Chianciano, Pienza, Petraio, and Torrita. They go on to say:

In 1903 my father was a young boy and my grandmother sent him to learn the “fine” work from a master coppersmith named “Ghiotto”. He learned with passion to craft jugs, pots, pans, tableware, artistic plates. My grandmother paid 10 soldos a week to the master coppersmith to teach him the “fine” work.

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