Versatile Bronze Bars and Copper Sheets: From Crafts to Industries

As harrowing as the Iraq war was, it left behind images of bravery and solidarity among America’s finest, including one captured by embedded photographer Lucian Read. This picture shows Marine 1st Sargent Brad Kasal battered yet remaining steadfast amid the battle in Fallouja, being assisted by fellow soldiers Lance Corporals Chris Marquez and Dane Schaffer to safety.

As reported by Tony Perry of the LA Times, the now iconic image has recently been immortalized into a bronze sculpture titled “No Man Left Behind” by Wyoming sculptor John Phelps, and unveiled outside the Wounded Warrior West site in Camp Pendleton.


At a brief but emotional unveiling ceremony last week, John Phelps, 65, who served in Vietnam as a Marine, said he was drawn to the Read picture by the fact that Kasal, although wounded and bleeding, was still holding a pistol and a knife, ready to continue the fight

Bronze has been one of the go-to metals by artisans in creating sculptures and statues. This is largely due to the fact that bronze can be tempered to any shape while retaining its durability and strength. Unlike other metals, heated bronze bars expand very slowly, making them ideal for sculpting and retaining fine details. When the metal hardens, the details become more pronounced and permanent.

Another favorite metal by artists and craft makers is copper, of which bronze is an alloy. A trusted copper sheet supplier like Rotax Metals offers this material in various thickness, which makes it ideal in many arts and crafts applications, from something as solid as sculptures, to flatter art pieces like wall decors. Copper and bronze are also used in mixed media artworks.

One characteristic that makes copper and bronze attractive to artists is patination, which changes their color over time to achieve an antiqued look. While patination happens naturally, the process is hastened up by some artists with the use of acids and similar chemicals.

The versatility of copper and its alloys, including bronze, makes them highly sought after materials in various applications outside of the arts, including in architecture, fixtures, and fittings. They are can also be found in industrial uses, such as bearings, electronic connectors, and casting or molding of various products.

(Source: ‘No Man Left Behind’ sculpture unveiled at Camp Pendleton, LA Times, November 16, 2014)

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