A Visit to the Newlyn Copper Works

On Thursday, 10 of us visited Mike Johnson’s Copper Works in Newlyn.

Tucked away not far from Newlyn Harbour is Mike’s fascinating studio. The business was established in 2005, appropriately in the same workshop space as the original copper works set up in 1890!


Mike talked to us about copper’s important role in Newlyn’s artistic heritage, along with painting, pottery and textiles. Unfortunately, many of the skills, tools and facilities associated with a coppersmith’s workshop have been lost over the years. Mike and his colleage Shelley are now working to revive this wonderful craft.


The Copper Works has created pieces for Hampton Court Flower Show, Harrod’s, Claridge’s and, recently, Eton College. The project at Eton is an acroterion (a large roof ornament) at the College’s new lecture theatre, and has received quite a bit of press lately. Mike has also done work for film – the copper-studded belts worn by Johnny Depp et al in the Pirates of the Caribbean films were created in the Newlyn workshop!

06Mike showed us some of his smaller pieces – beautiful copper leaves, little dishes, etc. – as well as some more sizeable projects – the beginnings of a water feature for a recent private commission.


We all left the workshop with an appreciation for the beauty of copper and a renewed respect for the skill and artistry of the coppersmith. And Val already has her ‘workshop organiser’ hat on and is planning to arrange some hands-on copper work for us!

Thank you so much to Kathy for setting up this wonderful day. You can some more photos here.


Take a Town: Newlyn

For those of you who’ll be going to CFWI’s Take a Town event next Friday or Saturday, here’s a sneak preview of the Newlyn Archive exhibit which will make up part of the day.

It sounds as though it’ll give us a fantastic look into Newlyn’s relationship with the sea over the years.