As an element copper has been used for millennia as a useful tool for creating bronze implements before we got to grips with iron. Copper has always been an expensive comodity. I remember being at an exhibit at Expo 2000 where a large block of recycled copper sat in the middle of the room with an explaination that the block could have traces back to the egyptians in 2000BC, where copper was being smelted and re-smelted each time a new use is found for an object, thus showing its importance and value.
This resonated and as in so much of my work I try to re-use and recycle and I do love visiting recycling facilities to see the different objects which come in only to return to melted down copper for a new life in what might be a copper reincarnation. Just now we are using various pipes for copper and brass for a large chandelier in a private house on the North Dublin Coast, just one story for this versatile element.
We do like copper due to its colour and tone but its different finishes from patination, torching, annealing and darkening from verdigris to just dark brown. The fact that copper is a huge conductor lends itself to electrical elements and all of our wires and telecommunications and has helped modernise our society through electricity, a momentous momement in itself even if it is sometimes upstaged by optic fibre or gold but as a workhorse copper and its alloys are really the things that keep things moving.
Brass which is an alloy of copper and zinc offers great decorative possibilities and the ease of machining that copper can faulter upon in the workshop. But in terms of alloys I think bronze is my favourite due to its permanence in the elements and the ease of machining and casting along with the salmon lustre in its natural state and its sense of luxury. The difficulty of keeping copper from tarnshing can also be addressed with lacquers or microcrystaline waxes but ultimately gold or chrome or nickel over copper can provide the ultimate protection.
In days of Covid and its particulars I was heartened to learn that compared to stainless steel, copper and presumably brass and bronze have just a 4 hour retention of covid spread threat compared to up to 72 hours or 18 times that of stainless steel (according to www.hse.ie) thus making a plausible argument for more copper based door handles and equipment. I had always made an inverse connection to stainless as the more clinically clean metal but not so.
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Some of our products are available within 10 days if in stock. Generally orders are between 4 - 6 weeks for items requiring manufacture. Larger items and larger orders may 8 -10 weeks.
Shane Holland Design Workshops
Duleek Business Park,
Duleek, Co. Meath,
00 353 (0)41 988 2220
UK no 0203 0120491