Skip & Racheal Mathews – Copper Colorists
Both Skip and Racheal Mathews have been gifted with a passion for art and the faith to TRUST God to express Himself through their art. Their medium of choice is flame painting copper. They recognize that only God could have knit them together to create such a unique combination of artistry with copper.
Skip and Racheal studied fine arts at the University of Arizona in the late 60’s and early 70’s, and yet they never met there. Racheal’s focus was drawing and painting on canvas while Skip’s major was pottery and sculpture in metal. After college, Racheal continued to develop as a fine artist, selling many of her works and spending 16 years teaching those skills. Skip on the other hand began concentrating on copper and eventually became known as “the father of flame painting”.
Skip’s love for copper started in high school where his teacher praised his ability to hammer and raise a nice bowl out of copper. He began working copper as a business right out of college because of that love for this medium and because the start up cost was in his budget. First he formed a business creating and selling copper clad candles called “Art to Burn”. During that time, he found that selling direct to the public fit his personality the best. After the oil shortage in the middle 70’s, the cost of paraffin skyrocketed and he moved on to copper sculptures, fountains, lamps and fusion jewelry, some of which was shown at the Phoenix Art Museum and the El Paso Museum of Fine Arts. It was in 1981 that Skip began developing his unique method of flame painting. During his first 15 years as a coppersmith, he had watched the colors form around his solder marks and that led to his decision to discipline himself for 10 years to do nothing but butterflies for the wall. He made over 15,000 of them in a row, thus becoming the first to learn how to separate the natural colors one gets when heating copper into 15 distinct colors and get intentional patterns rather than happy accidents. It was then that he went from being a coppersmith who colored copper with a flame to being referred to as a “flame painter”. An article was written about his work in Sunshine Artists Magazine.
In 1996, Skip married his best friend and fellow artist, Racheal. They settled in Branson, Missouri and started a business at the Engler Block called “A Couple of Artists”. After several wonderful years there, they opened their own shop at Silver Dollar City, an 1800’s theme park in Branson. It was at SDC in 2000 that Racheal finally let Skip put a torch in her hands. She learned this difficult skill right in front of interested guests at the park. Painting copper with a flame has become her medium of choice. In 2005, they had an instructional video produced. A year later, Skip and Racheal moved to an indoor venue, the Branson Mill Craft Village, where their drawing tool and their coloring tool – the flame from a torch – was protected from the elements and they could create more important larger works of art. In 2007, several magazine articles were written about them and their exciting art form. One was in the RCI Magazine and another was in the Rural Missouri Magazine. They also began showing and selling their work in shows around the country till in 2009 they moved to their home studio and doing art and craft shows became their main source of income for more three years.
Since doing road shows all year long is so physically grueling and they are now in their 60”s, this duo has been able to reduce their number of shows on the road by settling in Mountain View, Arkansas in 2012 to open a shop at the unique Ozark Folk Center State Park’s Craft Village. They enjoy interpreting for the past coppersmiths who colored copper with heat in 1914, and they demonstrate their own method of flame painting today. They started teaching this awesome and exciting art form in 2009 at the Arkansas Craft School there in Mountain View, and are now teaching at the Craft Village. Together they make a wide variety of pins, jewelry, wall décor and free standing vases, plates and bowls. Skip displays an exciting flare for the abstract and innovative 3D effects while Racheal creates intense color combinations with a particular gift for symmetry. Skip and Racheal are committed to being faithful with their gifts as well as building bridges to those who desire to understand, appreciate and even learn this wonderful art form.
!!We send our blessings with our product!!