Copper in the Arts

October 2013

Modern Rustic Meets the Jewelry of

By Jennifer Hetrick

Rays of the Sun earringsIn these Rays of the Sun earrings, Shannon LeVart appreciates how the copper hoop swings out from her cheek.

As a single mom supporting her family through the jewelry she has been creating since 2006, Shannon LeVart is proud to have carved a unique niche with what she calls the modern rustic persuasion of her artistic endeavors.LeVart's journey into jewelry began in 1996, when she was hired to work in a bead shop. She went on to receive her jewelry technician certification, and soon opened up and her own Etsy store.

“When I was 15-years-old, a good friend gave me a seed bead necklace that looked like Jim Morrison’s on the cover of The Doors’ first album,” she says about early inspirations in her life. “I loved that necklace so much that I took it apart to see how it was put together. I loved restringing it, and I have been collecting beads since then.”

Her Etsy shop features her own work, largely geared toward an audience of fellow jewelry designers who buy components from her like clockwork, but she also stocks jewelry pieces from fellow artists working in similar and sometimes varying media compared to her own—keeping the selection plentiful for her buyers.

Her lineup regularly includes jewelry often inspired at least partly by ancient styles in one glimmer or another: wrist cuffs, earrings, rings, necklaces, links, beads, clasps, headpins and chains and other components are what LeVart finds herself creating.

“Sometimes, just recreating something seen in the mainstream can have a completely unique look if hand-forged from copper or brass,” she says.

But shaping rings for the fingers of the women she hasn’t met is a lot of what tugs at her heartstrings most prominently as she designs and finishes her pieces.

“While necklaces allow me to get really creative, earrings are consistent sellers, but I personally love to make, wear and give rings,” she says. “I love to watch people’s hands as they gesture while talking, and it is a challenge to me to use the finger as a tiny canvas for personal expression.”

Hoop earringsThese hoop earrings carry a floral imprint with peacock blue copper color hints.

And history-rich tools play a part in her work, too.

“I started banging scraps of brass against an old rusty railroad spike with a flat head hammer I found in my grandpa’s tool box,” she says about her earlier days in jewelry-making, as she discovered the techniques that suited her heart so well.

She experimented a great deal with patina treatments and learned a considerable amount about best approaches with applications when she discovered the work of sculptor Ron Young.

“Now I have a fully stocked patina table with just about every color under the sun,” she reflects.

“While I understand that collectors do not value copper as much as the precious metals, I personally think it is a beautiful metal,” she says. “It bends without breaking, and it takes strikes from different hammers well.”

And choosing these metals for her work appears to be a wise choice for tying her artistic labors into the hand-crafted jewelry market online; in seven years of business, LeVart has sold to customers on Etsy in all of the 50 states.

“Both pure copper and raw brass are affordable and take patina treatments really well,” she says. “I can turn an inexpensive piece of copper or brass into a beautiful, unique, colorful piece of jewelry that women enjoy wearing.”

Resources:, Innsbrook, MO

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