For my upcycling project, I have planned to make a wire sculpture from upcycled copper wire. I explored several different ideas, including wire-wrap jewelry, or other wire-wrap decorations. For example, the two photos below represent the exploration phase of the project for me. I had no clear ideas in mind, and instead was just using the medium in different ways to see what I could do with it (as well as some recycled jewelry). I used insulated copper wire, which I stripped before hand, and coated copper wire. I liked the coated copper wire because of its red tint, and since I had a lot of it laying around. However, I was unsure at this point how the red color would play into the final product.
When I started to consider different options of subjects to sculpture, I knew I wanted to make it organic. In particular, a leaf or plant of some sort, was the most inspiring for me. Because of this, I decided to do a gingko leaf. I love the shape of these leaves, and I thought that they would translate beautifully to a copper wire medium. I am also inspired by these leaves, because they are often found in Japanese decorative art which I find to be very beautiful. I have been looking for a project to integrate these leaves into, so this seems like the perfect opportunity.
When I googled them, I found this sculpture below, which further inspired me.
From this, I tried to use the materials that I had to make something similar, but in a style that I preferred. Rather than a large sculpture of loose leaves, I chose to do a branch of gingko leaves. Through a number of iterations, I landed at the style below.
I was unhappy with this result, because I didn’t like the red color, and the shape of the veins on the leaves. I wanted them to be straighter, similar to a real gingko leaf, but found that they often curved and overlapped with each other. I also found the red color to be misleading, and felt that it was harder to understand the intention of the sculpture as a result. I tried several different methods of wrapping the wire, and found that one long coated wire was very difficult to work with. Because of this, I decided to switch mediums, and went with stereo wire instead. This allowed me to use the pre-clumped wires, and fan them out, rather than using a single wire.
From this, I was able to create the desired shape. In order to adhere the wires to the base, I soldered them. While I had hoped to keep the sculpture purely made of copper (and copper-colored), I didn’t mind the silver color of the solder paired with the copper. Finally, I wrapped the stripped copper wire around a thicker copper base, to represent the branch.
I plan to continue this pattern to make an entire branch of leaves. These will be framed in an upcycled frame, and hung.