Most of the materials I use are recycled, some coming from industrial and construction waste.
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I use copper pipe and electrical wire for most of my designs. I source my pipe from plumbers and homeowners, my electrical wire from electricians and sometimes the scrap yard.
The process from scrap pipe to jewelry is a long one. First I measure and cut the pipe, heat it with a torch to soften the metal, and crush it with a ten ton press. That gives me strips of copper sheet. I heat it again with the torch because getting crushed made the metal harden, and heat softens it. At this point the copper sheet is dirty and the inside is full of minerals from the drinking water, so I soak it in vinegar to dissolve that calcium, and give the sheet a good scrub to clean it. It can go anywhere from there.
Electrical wire is an easier process. I use a handy crank wire stripper to quickly remove any insulation around the wire, then i use a thick polishing cloth to remove any tarnish and straighten the wire at the same time. Sometimes it may need an additional vinegar soak depending on how dirty it is.
The brass I use comes from broken drum cymbals. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. More copper in the alloy produces a metal with more red, called red brass. More zinc than copper results in a more yellow metal called yellow brass. I use both metals depending on what kind of cymbals I am able to source from drummers. To use the cymbals, I just have to cut it into whatever shape i want. It does take a lot of effort because dang that metal is hard.
I buy my Sterling silver in wire form from Rio Grande. That way I have the freedom to make my own ear wires and I can ensure they are nickel free. I buy from them because their silver is recycled and made in the USA.