Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Story Behind The Art: Coffee or Tea? Part 3

Coffee or Tea?
 Happiness consists in activity. It is running steam, not a stagnant pool.
—John Mason Good

From the beginning, my vision of this mosaic included steam coming from both the teapot (coffee pot?) and the mug. Originally I envisioned using broken crockery pieces, probably mostly narrow rectangles, arranged to suggest the motion of curling steam. Once I saw the color scheme, though, I knew the steam had to be copper. The copper quest was on!

First stop was my local hardware store. (A real, old-fashioned hardware store! One of the coolest places on Earth, by the way.) They sell copper tubing by the foot, but the thinnest tubing is ¼” thick – too big for this application. Next stop was Home Depot. They sell all different kinds of wire by the foot, including a few different thicknesses of copper wire. The thickest wire, that might have been a good size for this project, was so stiff I didn't have the strength in my hands to bend it. I can only imagine what kinds of tools – a vise? maybe a blowtorch? – I would have needed to shape it into curves. Not happening. What to do?

Dad saved the day! My parents happened to be passing through the house when I had a schematic drawing of the project laid out on the table. I was telling them about the project and my copper dilemma when dad said, “You know, Kelli, an oil pressure gauge repair kit might be just the thing you need.” Off I went to the auto parts store. An oil pressure gauge repair kit, by the way, comes with 1/8” copper tubing that a) is the perfect size for this mosaic, and b) because it’s a tube and not solid, it’s malleable and didn't require special tools or the strength of a bodybuilder to shape it.
If, like me, you've never needed to purchase an oil pressure gauge repair kit before, 
this is what one looks like!
1/8" copper tubing curls beautifully.
Voila! My mosaic has lovely, curved, copper steam. And, I have leftover copper tubing for another project!

There you have The Story Behind The Mosaic. So what do you think, is it coffee or is it tea?


  1. I would suggest you to tell people where they can buy it. But If you tell them it is on Etsy...I might not ever see it in person! :D