Copper working is an old artistic craft, connected with the processing of wrought copper. Also known as coppersmith’s trade it creates various items, adornments and dishes used in the popular customs and the daily routine of the Bulgarians. Most common articles are goblets, pitchers, pans, pots, coffee-pots, jugs, ladles a.o.
The oldest technique utilized by Bulgarian masters is the creation of the desired form by hammering out metal sheets. For durability and luster the articles are tinned.
Another technique is the casting in forms that have been determined in advance according to the purpose of the article. Turners’ techniques are used for the completion of the items. The key purpose of turning is the elimination of unevenness or for additional decoration through implementation of girdles and cutouts.
One of the more frequently used techniques for decorative ornamentation is engraving. It occurs via nippers and acids. The advantage of nippers is that the item is made by hand, which provides the opportunity for more detailed artistic effects. Figurative compositions being more complicated are often applied via acids or wax. This technique leads to a deterioration of the artistic impact, because of the specifics of machine work.
As feathers or semicircles, masters decorate the parts on the peripheries of the items by use of the technique cutting. In this manner have been ornamented items such as night-lights, lids a.o.
The application used during the late Bulgarian Renaissance is the technique of nailing decorative elements to the base of the copper items, f.i. rims, pendants a.o. This technique is primarily used for decorative ornamentation of dishes, jewelry and church accessories, imparting more solemnity for festivities such as weddings.
Yet another popular technique for decoration is hammering, achieving very plastic ornamentation. Because of the rather primitive instruments that were used – hammers, pliers, skins a.o. the items had a simpler shape. The most common geometric shapes are circles, rectangles, squares a.o.
It is an interesting fact that items with figurative composition are most often a mixture between engraving and hammering. This technique is peculiar to the decoration of church accessories.
The harmonious shape, risen to perfection, is famous in the art of Bulgarian masters. The rhythm of our folk tradition is evident in the make of the copper items.
The most popular and demanded copper items at present are coffee- and rakia-pots, jugs and cauldrons.