Making a Splash with Copper in Home Decor

We’ve all seen those design magazines: glossy, dramatic shots of celebrity homes, yards of filmy, billowing curtains flowing about a perfect room. Clever tables and chairs are arranged just so; luxe finishes so intensive in labor and materials the production time is measured in years. Striking, original modern art line the textured walls, with floors so highly buffed they appear liquid. Spectacular, yes. Practical? Who has time to maintain paradise?

As in beauty, originality and creativity is in the eye of the beholder. With a move towards less opulent materials, and warmer, more personal tones becoming the new maxim, we’re hot for the natural glow and soft sheen of wall-hung copper.

Amoebic shapes and bright, metallic colors are a hallmark of a copper splash.
Copper splash, made locally for the Pickle Barrel Trading Post in Globe, Arizona

A ‘copper splash’ is literally as it sounds: molten copper is ‘splashed’ onto a stainless steel table, then doused with cold water and allowed to cool. The surface is uneven, and the thinner areas will sometimes show burst bubbles and an almost lacelike surface in small sections of the expanse. The piece is then scoured with a blowtorch, which maximizes the coloration of various areas of the surface with striations and swirls of bright purple and magenta. This unusual coloring is due to the amount of heat and the thickness of the copper, and adds to the overall effect of a ‘living’ piece of art. Point of interest: the blue color in the finished product is caused by humidity in the air on the day the copper was splashed. Splashed copper wall art is created in different sizes, from palm-sized pieces up to sections which work well over couch or console. No two are ever the same.

Wall mounted copper splashes can be a bright spot on a dull wall.
The copper splash will collect and reflect light with a dazzling show of colors.

When ready to hang, it’s easy to affix onto a secure wall, using decorative nails or screws. A clever twist is to screw a 1X2 or 2X4 into the wall first, then hanging the copper splash onto that. This effectively creates a highly dramatic ‘pop’ on an otherwise static, stationary surface. Ancillary light, or discreetly placed spots, will further the effect.

Each copper splash is a unique, one of a kind creation.
A copper splash can suggest any shape; the tendrils, negative space, and bubbling make each piece unique.

Splashes feature a traditional copper color, though swaths of gold hue, along with metallic blue and occasionally, electric green, is visible. Patterns emerge in tone-on-tone backgrounds; tentacles reach outwards, and negative space within add to the illusion of shapes which can look like anything from elephants to mapped terrain.

When cleaning your copper wall art, simply dust or wipe. There’s no need to polish, as the colors are ‘locked’ in during the heat process, though colors will fade slightly with time.

Copper splash tree, a recognizable form in the metal medium.
Copper splash ‘trees’ are popular with out of town visitors at the Pickle Barrel Trading Post in Globe, Arizona.

Hung on plain wallboard or antiqued, plastered surfaces, attached to vintage wood paneling or placed on warm, multicolored brick, copper splashes lend a welcome glow, a subtle radiance which goes a long way to a more personal, individualized home or office space.

By Darin Lowery / Photos by Jim Lindstrom

The Pickle Barrel Trading Post in Globe, Arizona (home of the Copper Corridor) has a constantly changing, thoughtfully curated selection of copper splashes and copper wall art which are created locally. These can be selected and wrapped while you wait. Visit us on Facebook and Instagram to see new arrivals!