Copper is a natural metal found in rocks and the Earth’s crust, but it’s also found in our own bodies and is an essential mineral to human health. Studies have shown that, when extra copper is absorbed through the skin, it may help the growth and reproduction of healthy joints. Armed with this knowledge, Lou Horton started a business creating copper art jewelry, a hobby that turned into art that turned into work that would become her lifelong path.
As Horton was starting her business, Lou Horton Sculpture, and selling her jewelry online and at pop-up markets, Horton’s aunt asked for a copper cuff bracelet to help her carpal tunnel syndrome. The request coincided with Horton’s decision to quit the life of working a full-time job and creating art on the side to transitioning to working as a full-time artist and creating her own jewelry.
“I make things, I make the same things over and over and am happiest when I’m producing inventory,” Horton says. “I had run out of excuses, there was nothing else I needed to start my own art business.” Through her website, Etsy page and pop-up shops, Horton’s business started booming—her jewelry spoke for itself. Everything that Horton creates and sells is copper-based and wearable.
The things that most people would lose patience over, Horton enjoys, she says.
“I love that I can fit my entire booth and all my products in my small car. I love buying holiday decorations and props for my booth. I love having my own little store for a day.”
Horton says her favorite way to sell is at pop-up markets and fairs, especially if the event requires a costume. Being passionate about her work is one thing she has found critical in influencing her success. And it’s not only her own passion, but also that of the people around her, and their passion for art, that has motivated her to get to where she is now. By connecting to the local art community, Horton was able to break away from her usual introverted tendencies to introduce herself to other artists and to the people that would appreciate her work and persuade her to sell.
Horton makes her creations in a shared studio space downtown. This way, she also has access to people and places that help influence her work. “I imagine the end user of my jewelry and how he or she would wear it, what events and social functions they might wear it to, and how it will make them feel when they wear it,” Horton says.
All of her jewelry is stamped with her name and is made of copper that Horton personally thinks is beautiful. She encourages people viewing her art to remember that copper is the only orange metal, which makes it unique. Within the copper are black, brown, red, blue and green undertones. Horton then hammers and molds the copper into wearable art.
Her most popular design is a cuff available for men and women called the Zinger, a thin, flat wire cuff with design stamps. The second most popular seller is the Fern Cuff, which is ruffled to look like what Horton describes as sea grass.
Lou Horton Sculpture embodies Horton’s passion in every piece that’s made. The jewelry is more art than accessory, and the artist is more motivated by creativity than by sales and profits.
“I want to make things that people truly love,” she says. “I didn’t want to make anything that would clutter up people’s homes, or sit around getting dusty. For a long time, I resisted becoming a full-time artist because I worried that nobody needed art. But this isn’t true. People have made art since before we developed farming, or cities, or civilization as we know it. Sometimes the only things we have of a lost civilization is the jewelry and artifacts they buried with their dead. Jewelry is incredibly personal and meaningful to the wearer. People just need art and adornments in their lives.”
Shop Lou Horton Sculpture on Etsy, or visit louhortonsculpture.com