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Front Page » April 1, 2004 » Arts Showcase & Business Jo... » Copper Connections
Published 3,836 days ago

Copper Connections


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By KEN LARSON
Sun Advocate publisher

"One man's junk is can serve as the ingrediants for another man's masterpiece"

Shane Brown adjusts the tree on his copper farm creation.

Creating beautiful art pieces out of scrap metal is a hobby that has become a way of life for Shane Brown.

Brown, who is the plant operation manager in charge of maintenance at Castle Country Care Center, has found a way of relaxing and at the same time create beautiful masterpieces for his family and friends.

When mechanics think of scrap copper that comes out of old motors or battery cables they often think of discarding it as waste, but what is one man's waste serves as the ingredients for another man's masterpiece.

Brown takes the scrap pieces of cable and begins the tedious process of twisting together each strand. He twists and twists until he has formed a tree. He twists some more and begins to create a barn and then a house and after about a year of twisting, while watching television or just relaxing he has created a beautiful farmstead, set on top of a sandstone rock found in his flower garden. And all this from tiny strands of copper wire. The farmstead, complete with a windmill, tractor, outhouse, and every detail right down to furniture inside the house, stairway to the second floor, a battery in the tractor and a rope holding on to the pail inside the well.

A chandelier with a pearl from his wife, Jackie's pearl earrings, hanging in the dining room and the little tractors and vehicles have motors as they sit in driveways in front of the shop and on the roads that lead to the barn and field. The carburetor on the truck is made from tin.

What appears to be water is a oval shaped mirror and next to it is a stream and bridge. A unique water wagon is parked next to the blacksmith shop.

The large rock that he chose to use as a foundation for the farmstead is a shale found in his garden. It is higher on one side which gives the feeling that the house and barn are on a hillside and as one's eyes follow the road down the hill it leads to a field, bunkhouse and blacksmith shop.

Patient hands at work. Shane Brown carefully connects the unique tree made entirely of twisted copper to the rock base of the farm setting.

It's a hobby that has developed over 20 years and the project is created while he relaxes and watches TV. "I always have a project sitting by my chair," says Brown.

"After a long day at work I need something to take my mind off work and relieve the stress," he says, who admits that he has learned to be patient with hours of twisting copper.

"I got started a long time ago when I saw a tree made out of copper in a store and I felt they wanted too much money, so I began experimenting with copper wire I found around the place. The next thing I knew I was collecting copper wire and sandstone rocks," he explains.

He made his mother a scene that resembles a gold mine and has several variations of farms. This particular scene was made for his daughter, Teri Branson, as a birthday gift. Since she works at the Balance Rock Cafe in Helper the piece is displayed there, alone with many of the other unique items and antiques.

His daughter-in-law, Dolly Kessler, is now hooked on the techniques. "She is very creative and has a lot of patience and started by building houses and a windmill."

One day his wife, Jackie, will get one of his pieces but so far all his creations have gone to other people for celebrations like Christmas, birthdays or anniversaries.

Twisting copper wire and creating beautiful masterpieces not only serves Brown as a way to relax but it produces unique and interesting gifts.


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