Metal Branch Basket
Metalsmith Victoria Moran Caluneo from Mill Neck, N.Y., loves nature, and it shows in her beautiful vessels.
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Along with her husband, Mark, Victoria Moran Caluneo of Mill Neck, N.Y., combines a love of nature with a love of metalsmithing to create vessels made from common metal materials. The result is a distinctive basket that amazes all when they discover it is made from electrical wire and not nature’s own tree branches.
Materials and Tools:
about 20 18" lengths of 8-,10-, 12-gauge copper electrical wire
straight edge hammer
black and green patina
1. Using a straight-edge hammer, hit the wire at perpendicular angles to create the bark texture. Continue hammering until the entire wire is covered, turning the wire as you hammer, so that the texture covers the entire surface. Texture approximately 20 sticks of each gauge wire for a medium sized basket.
2. To make the leaves: Hammer texture copper sheet. Cut out rectangles. Use serrated scissors to cut a leaf shape out of each rectangle. Scribe the vein lines on the surface of the metal.
3. Solder a stem on to the cut leaf. Prepare the end of the leaf stem with brazing solder to attach to the basket.
4. Starting with the largest gauge wire, cut sections and lay them out on a soldering block. Add wire, working out to the smallest gauge wire. Braise the wire at each intersection.
5. Once soldered, start to form the basket by bending the wires and weaving the ends together. Once the basket is formed, additional wires can be added if needed to fill out the shape.
6. Braise the leaves onto the basket. Patina the basket with black and green to give a natural look, and seal with a clear enamel spray.
Niel Hora from Apex, N.C., creates a beautiful press from a box using clay and a plaster mold.