Copper has remarkable
properties and sensuous beauty, and so has been valued and worked
by mankind for nearly 10,000 years. Civilizations in the areas
of the world that are now China, Egypt, Greece, Iraq and the Sumerian
cities all have early evidence of using copper.
has served in functional, ritual and aesthetic roles - in tools,
weaponry, items of worship, jewelry and the decorative arts. Since
peoples' first efforts to create objects that represent beauty, power,
and a connection to the earth, copper has been a favorite material.
Copper's relatives in the periodic table
are silver and gold. Like them, it is highly malleable (able to be
worked into different forms), highly ductile (conductive of heat
and electricity) and is renowned for its beauty, with its
lustrous reddish gold hue and tendency to patinate to
a number of colors, and turn colors when heated.
Today the millions miles of copper wire
on our planet form a network that transmits much of the energy and
knowledge of civilization. Copper pipe and tubing carry much of our
water. On a more basic level, we still respond to its attractive
and oddly changeable appearance.
Copper is an essential nutrient to all
high plants and animals. In animals, including humans, it is found
primarily in the bloodstream, as a co-factor in various enzymes,
and in copper-based pigments.
Copper is germicidal, via the oligodynamic effect. For example, brass doorknobs disinfect themselves of many
bacteria within eight hours. This effect is useful in many applications.
There are many copper alloys, with
important historical and contemporary uses. Speculum metal and bronze
are alloys of copper and tin. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc.
Monel metal, also called cupronickel, is an alloy of copper and nickel.
While the metal "bronze" usually
refers to copper-tin alloys, it also is a generic term for any alloy
of copper, such as aluminium bronze, silicon bronze, and manganese
Copper is a chemical element in the
periodic table. It has the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. Copper
occupies the same family of the periodic table as silver and gold
since they each have one s-orbital electron on top of a filled electron
shell. This similarity in electron structure makes them similar in
Copper is a diminishing resource. According
23, 2007) our world has an estimated 61 years supply of copper left.
Studio, years of working with copper have brought
us an awed respect for, and joy in working with, this extraordinary
metal of the earth.