We Heart Handmade: Copper & Pine
Working at a vet clinic, Jessica Solta had the difficult but necessary job of dealing with euthanasia appointments. In an effort to help people honour and remember their pets, she began experimenting with hand-made pendants using her dog’s fur and some old copper pipe. Over time, her designs evolved and she began using other naturally-sourced materials, from pebbles and pine cones to bark and moss. Copper & Pine was born.
In the latest edition of We Heart Handmade, Jessica shares the joys and challenges of being a maker. Meet her below.
What’s the story behind your shop’s name?
The name Copper & Pine actually doesn’t come from the copper element I use in my jewelry. The whole idea started with making pieces containing cremation ashes and pet fur, so it’s actually a mention to my first pet, a yellow lab named Copper. When I started experimenting with the nature side, it was winter in Winnipeg, where there isn’t an abundance of new plants growing, so I was using pieces of our Christmas tree and the pine trees from my parents’ front yard to make my prototypes. The name Copper & Pine was born.
What’s the most difficult part about what you make?
Probably the cutting and sanding of copper pipe. Cutting can be tricky to get the exact measurement, and all of the sanding is quite labour intensive. Throughout the process, I sand every little bit at least three times, and because the edging is so small, it can be very difficult.
What do you love most about what you make and being a maker?
Being a maker has been amazing. I’ve absolutely loved being able to go out there and proudly display what I’ve made and say that I made this. It’s an item that exists because of me. Meeting other makers and seeing this huge community that I didn’t realize even existed has been one of my favourite things about this.
I think my favourite pieces to make lately have been pebble pendants. All the tiny stones are ones that my kids and I have found together. Perfect little stones I would have never even noticed before I started doing this. Not only do I love the final result, I really love that it’s made me slow down and start seeing those little things again.
How does your product connect with your customer/community?
With my custom pieces, I feel like I’m just helping that person treasure a memory. They decide they want something like sand from their sentimental beach to be able to keep with them, and I’m just that connection that helps make that happen. My nature pieces though, are all strictly little pieces of Manitoba nature that I’ve found. Whether its driftwood from Grand Beach, or a wildflower from a park, every single one is a connection to this amazing province. There have been so many that I’ve sent out to people who lived here at some point and want to have a piece of home.
We Heart Handmade is a weekly profile featuring the best artisans Manitoba has to offer. For more on Copper & Pine and the local makers’ scene, visit www.madehereforyou.com.