I love color, and I love the changing of the seasons. It’s one of the things that I cherish living in North West Ohio. Our seasons are beautiful, and they are all different.
Sure, I joke that we have our four-seasons… Winter, Still Winter, Orange Barrel Mating Season, and Almost Winter. However, that’s not all snow and orange barrels. Our winters are indeed long and cold, and our summers are filled with frustrating road constructions… but the FALL!
Fall in Ohio is particularly beautiful. The steamy days and sultry nights of summer shift into crisp blue skies, chilly evenings with bonfires, and a breathtaking display of color as the trees shed their summer foliage for the beautiful hues of autumn.
If it weren’t the fact that it’s truly backyard fire season (which I adore), or that I have a soft spot in my belly for warm apple cider and crispy donuts from the local orchard, the colorful leaves alone would make this one of my favorite seasons.
Truly, if you haven’t experience fall in Ohio, you are really missing something spectacular.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that year after year I am inspired by the beauty of Fall.
One year, in particular, I was sitting on a bench at a local park admiring the beautiful trees when I had a yearning so deep, it was almost physically painful. Soon the lovely shades of gold, red, bronze, and orange would fade to brown and descend to the earth as winter took hold again.
The thought made me a little teary, to be honest. I just wanted the season to last forever. I wanted to capture all of the beautiful colors and hold them against me, cherishing the season’s lovely shades for eternity.
As I watched the leaves of a vibrant orange maple sway in the breeze, I thought “Wow, in this light that tree looks like it is made of copper.”
And it struck me. That tree looks like copper! I have copper…
You see, copper is a unique metal. It has a beautiful earth tone, and is said to resonate with specific vibrations to help one gain spiritual enlightenment and aid in certain afflictions. But more than that, when you heat it up it turns into different colors.
I couldn’t wait to get back to my studio, so I packed up my things and ran back with a mind full of fall foliage, and flames.
Sitting at my workbench, I started moving around bits and pieces of metal and crystals looking for that perfect combination of autumn colors. Despite their glittering beauty, none of the crystals quite lived up to my inspiration. They just didn’t do the fall foliage justice. So I settled on a simple all copper design.
Simple is what I thought. Little did I know how complex the process would turn out, and how much I would fall in love with it.
With my material selected and a basic design in mind, I picked up my soldering torch and got started.
It took me a couple (hundred) tries to get the technique right. First I didn’t apply enough heat, then I applied too much. I swung from one extreme to the next, attempting to tightly control the process and force nature’s hand.
I became frustrated. I cussed, and I threw things. I walked away and came back time and time again. I drank a whole bottle of wine while angrily staring at my torch and my copper. I almost gave up forever.
Then, it dawned on me. Nature isn’t meant to be controlled. Even mimicking nature means submitting to something profound, to letting go. So I relaxed, let my instincts guide me, and tried again.
Slowly colors appeared and faded away only to appear again. A rhythm started to form. Heat, cool, heat, cool, heat, cool, and heat again until finally bold splashes of color formed and stuck. I could have cried, and I nearly did.
After hundreds of attempts, it took submitting my will and hands to nature, allowing the elements to form something wonderful and lasting.
Now that I had gorgeous colors washing across the coppery surface of my work, I needed to complete the design. Something this heavenly deserved a celestial focal, so I decided on a goddess knot! Weaving together the three large rings into the Mobius-like shape, twisting and tumbling over itself, just seemed right. A bit of matching chain, and the collar was whole.
I sat at my workbench admiring the new design. The colors were captivating, the earthly glitter of the natural copper was perfect. However, the more I looked at it, the less I saw leaves and the more I saw something fiery, fierce, and passionate. Something that rose out of the ashes of frustration, anger, and pain to become something new, strong, and gorgeous. I saw a phoenix; a feathered goddess.
That is what I would call it, Feather Goddess.
But I wasn’t finished. If you know anything about pure copper, it tarnishes with an unkind word, and since I spent weeks cursing like a sailor at it, I was a bit shocked it wasn’t black already. I didn’t want tarnish dulling the glorious wash of jewel tones, so it needed a protective coating.
Brush, dry, brush, dry, and then a 5-day wait to ensure the coating hardened.
Did I say I’m bad at being patient along with having the mouth of a sailor? Well, I am. I must have checked on that first collar about 400 times. Is it dry yet? 5 minutes later… is it dry yet? 5 minutes later… you get the picture.
Now, despite nature’s hand in the process (and let me tell you, there are days when Nature gets bitchy and nothing works out), I can produce one of these lovely submissive collars in the short span of 5 days.
That’s right. Just 5 days.
Time-consuming? Yes. Very.
A labor of fierce, passionate love? Always, and worth every second to see them make someone feel sexy, strong, and ready to take on the world. Just like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a feathered goddess was reborn.
Want to watch the process? Check out this time-lapse video.