Copper in the Arts

September 2012

Gilded Days: Antique Sheet Music Finetuned by Copper

By Jennifer Hetrick

Copper plated brass bracelet This copper plated brass bracelet featuring the word "Birds" on vintage sheet music mingles the whimsical ways of Tess Fedore's style and her unique materials.

Photograph courtesy of Tess Fedore

Tess Fedore's love of song shines quite literally through the copper and bronze plated jewelry she crafts, with small cuts of antique sheet music tucked under half-globes of glass.

Living in Quincy, MA in Norfolk County, Fedore grew up around the Boston area and is known to frequent antique shops in search of the paper materials for her jewelry. This includes necklaces, bracelets brooches, earrings, but also cuff links, tie clips and the occasional ring.

Originally starting out with decoupage work, she experimenting with antique sheet music, making use of the tiny scraps of leftover pieces of paper marking years of instrumental history.

Her childhood interest of working with bead sets led Fedore to transition her old curiosity to jewelry in a more mature form and a captivatingly vintage-swept style. Her successful expression of talents beams of appreciation for classic yet romantically-geared accessories.

In 2010, Fedore opened her Etsy shop, which today operates under the moniker Gilded Days.

The often antique appearance of copper stirs at Fedore's senses very fittingly with the pendant frames, chains, jump rings and clasps she fastens together in her final pieces.

"It's not a static material-the patinas are always changing," she says. "And it reminds me of the old buildings in Boston and the copper roofs and awnings that have all become green with that turn-of-the-century look I really love."

"It's just a warm, pretty color that really sets the sheet music off well," she says.

Copper plated necklace. Copper plated necklaces incorporating copper wire-wrapped beads are something Tess Fedore is delving into more recently in her work.

Photograph courtesy of Tess Fedore

Recently having experimented with wire-wrapping copper, Fedore appreciates that it's soft and forgiving.

"I love the gold tones of bronze and it's mellow yet classic look," she adds.

A copper plated brass bracelet Fedore recently created, featuring the word "Birds," is from a book by composer Sigmund Romberg, whom she hadn't heard of until a collection of his songs met her fingertips. The old font has its own enticing lure to the eyes, too.

While she works with antique sheet music from all sorts of composers, she's noticed that the book of Romberg's works has curious word pairings and beautiful lyrics that turn out to be great accents in her necklaces and bracelets.

"It just combines everything I love," Fedore says in describing her academic background in archeology and her deep affection for music juxtaposing well through her jewelry-making.

Last autumn, she noticed that about one out of every three of her pieces sold shipped to either Australia or New Zealand, as she's learned that more people there have a lot of admiration for hand-made culture, compared to the U.S.

While most of her sales span across the U.S., she's sent jewelry overseas to Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, England, Japan and also nearby Canada and Mexico.

During the early Sundays of autumn, Fedore is a part of the SoWa Open Market in Boston. Her jewelry is also featured at area boutiques around the city from time to time.

Hearing the stories of those who find meaning in the little sets of words she snips caringly with scissors and incorporates into her jewelry is a lot of what Fedore finds most special about what she does.

"Touching something that somebody touched 100 years ago and making a connection with a piece of material" is what she enjoys most about the whimsical nature of working with preserved sheet music and the light hint of copper and bronze.


Gilded Days, Quincy, MA, (617) 678-3577

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