Copper Tritscheller, a self-taught sculptor, did not originally pursue a career in art. Instead, she spent 21 years raising children and building a successful sales company in Connecticut. Her artistic side showed itself in various ways over the years; she architected her home, designed her own furniture and even created a children’s craft line.
It wasn’t until she met a local sculptor in 2000, that she was formally introduced to the art world. In 2002 she sold her company, invested in the artist and spent the next eight years running his business. But Copper wasn’t content to just sit in the office. With her keen eye for color, she excelled as a patinator and quickly became responsible for all the patinations.
Running the company kept Copper on the end product side of the business; finishing bronze pieces, setting up installations and working with galleries. But, what she really wanted was to get her hands on some clay. This realization was both exciting and daunting, as she had no idea where or how to start.
Copper looks back at her first forays into sculpting as a comedy of errors, pieces collapsed under weight, they got too soft to hold form, appendages fell off…and off…and off. She never gave up though; she learned to make armatures, made room for sculpture in her fridge and just kept creating.
Drawn to what she considers the “misunderstood” animal, much of Coppers work centers around burros and bats. “As a pack animal, the burro has been the backbone in building most civilizations. By carrying loads greater than themselves, they made moving, building and creating possible. They’re amazing yet we’ve reduced them to a stereotype. The bats pollination efforts are responsible for most of the fruit we eat today. They help control the bug population. In return, we’re rapidly destroying their natural habitats and have branded them all as rabies carriers. We owe these animals our thanks and respect.” Copper approaches her subjects from all angles, playing on them both as animals, as well as morphing them with human figures. She is constantly pushing the barrier between animal and human.
Her recent collections are “Magpies”. To human civilizations, though magpies might not be as important as those animals listed above, Copper still tries to voice for them in order to reverse their stereotype that can be easily linked with the negative image of fierceness or jewelry thieves in western culture. She believes in China, magpies symbolize luck and happiness because they have self-confidence and are smart enough to recognize their self-reflection. Their self-recognition enables them to understand life and death, and has even evolved the behavior of collecting straws for their dead companies as a funeral.
In 2011 Copper moved to Thailand and became a full-time artist. Her body of work continues to grow and can be found in galleries in the US, China and Taiwan. Modest about her accomplishments, Copper claims most days feel no different from the first. “Things still fall apart, the clay is always too soft, and I have no room in my fridge for food! But I wouldn’t change my journey for anything.”