May 18th, 2021 Newsletter

May 18th, 2021 Newsletter

Artisanti E-Newsletter...Artisan Spotlight...Vote For Us: Best of the Valley...A Closer Look at Verdigris

E-Newsletter of Cosanti Originals

Artful, One-of-a-Kind Gifts

Handmade Decor Pieces

and So Much More


May 18, 2021 Volume 10

The Life of a Teacher

From Math Teacher to Artisan, Jeff Has Been Teaching His Entire Life

Jeff Hildebrandt is a natural teacher. To listen to him explain the process of casting bronze windbells to a captive audience of visitors to Cosanti is to be “edu-tained.” Jeff has a gift for making the mundane interesting, and the interesting exciting. And it’s no wonder. He spent his career as a teacher, mostly 8th grade math.


It was the combination of a move to the Valley in the summer of 2001, before starting a new teaching job, and finding himself with time to explore his new city, which led Jeff to visit Cosanti, a place he’d once covered while teaching a unit on Arizona History to his students. Jeff was fascinated by Cosanti and began working at Cosanti part-time that summer and continued off and on over the next 15 years.


When it came time to retire from his lengthy career in education four years ago, Jeff returned to Cosanti full-time and rejoined his friends and fellow artisans in the foundry. 

Each Cosanti windbell is created by a different artist with a style all their own. Drawing on nature, geometry, or their own imagination to inspire their creativity and influence the detailed designs and patterns, after a while, every artist becomes known for a particular motif or style.


Explains Jeff, “I honor geometry in my art, and it fits me! I have heard it for years, ‘oh, you’re a math teacher? You must be boring.’ but I’ve embraced that as an artisan.” Says Jeff, laughingly, “I have dubbed myself the 'Boring Artisan of Cosanti Originals'.”


For anyone who knows Jeff, “boring” is not a word that easily comes to mind. He has written and self-published three books that are among the collection of the Library of Congress, he loves spending time riding and caring for his horse, Romeo, and he makes fun, off-the-wall monster movies with his friend and fellow foundry artisan, Larry.

Says Jeff, “Working here, at this hidden treasure in the desert with a bunch of incredibly talented people: that is my favorite part. I could be doing something really un-creative, like drilling holes, and assembling bell parts for hours, but I’m still in a magical place with incredible people.”


Looking around him, taking in the scene he just described, Jeff says, “I look forward to showing up every day. I really do. I am so grateful to be here doing what I’m doing.” And with all the heart and soul Jeff puts into the artful bells he makes, well, there's nothing boring about that. 








Photo credits: Jessica Jameson Photo

Is your inner artist looking for a cool and creative side hustle? Or maybe, like Jeff, you want to try something entirely different in the second act of your career?


Well, look no further than a foundry position with Cosanti Originals in Paradise Valley, AZ! Work flexible hours outside with a tight team of skilled artisans, stretch the limits of your creativity, and learn by doing, making the Arizona windbells prized around the world for their enduring beauty and craftsmanship.


Email your resume and cover letter to us here ( In the subject line, be sure to include your name and the word "foundry."

Don't Forget to Vote for Cosanti Originals!

Phoenix Magazine's "Best of the Valley" Awards are here!

Thank you to everyone who nominated Cosanti Originals for Phoenix Magazine's 2021 Best of the Valley Awards and helped us make it onto the coveted Reader's Choice ballot!


Now through May 21st, cast your vote for Cosanti Originals in the category of "Shopping: Best Outdoor Decor." We think you'll agree that "Best in the Valley Winner" has a nice ring to it!

Cast Your Vote for Cosanti Originals

Photo credit: Jessica Jameson Photo

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Let's Agree to Verdigris

The History and Science Behind our Popular Bell Finish

Few symbols of America are as recognizable as the draped figure of Lady Liberty, rising 305 feet from the Hudson to the top of her raised torch held aloft, stately and solemn in her distinctive greenish, greyish blue. This unique color is so much a part of her identity, you may be surprised to know that the Statue of Liberty didn't always look this way. 


A gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, the Statue of Liberty arrived on our shores on June 19, 1885 a brilliant reddish copper. Over more than a century, her surface darkened to a warm earth tone that gradually became the iconic weathered shade we see today: verdigris.


Verdigris is the green or bluish patina formed on copper surfaces when exposed to oxygen. It is the result of a chemical reaction between copper (the base metal) and surrounding elements. Alloys with copper as a significant component, like the brass that our windbell fins are made from (roughly 2-1 parts copper to zinc) or the bronze (roughly 4-1 parts copper to tin) of our bells themselves, may also form verdigris. 


Unlike other types of corrosion, say, rust on iron or tarnish on silver, verdigris can be beneficial to the host metal. Verdigris forms a thin but protective layer across the metallic surface – shielding the unreacted metal underneath from further degradation. It’s oxidation that prevents more oxidation. Today, after more than a century of exposure to the elements, the verdigris on the Statue of Liberty is evenly dispersed over its entire surface in a layer barely the depth of two sheets of paper. This thin layer of verdigris seals the original copper below from further decay.

Green of Greece

The word verdigris entered the lexicon in the 14th century, coming from the Middle English vertegrez, which itself was pulled from the Old French verte grez, an alteration of vert-de-Grèce. This “green of Greece” was a pigment emblematic of the Greek islands at the time, the paintings and bronze objects of which were highly valued. The modern French spelling of the word is vert-de-gris, or literally, “green of grey.”


For centuries, verdigris was the most brilliant green readily available to painters. While it would happen naturally to bronze objects in nature, painters would manufacture the chemical reaction, mix it with binding agents, and then apply the blue-green hue to canvas. Masterpieces by Jan van Eyck, Raphael, and El Greco provide examples of verdigris in use during the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. Knowing our bell enthusiasts and collectors don't have the patience to wait decades for their windbell to beautifully achieve a verdigris patina, at Cosanti Originals we induce the effect in much the same way as the Renaissance masters: with a dip into a chemical bath to produce the finish we call "patina."

It’s hard to define verdigris as a color. Verdigris is not one precise shade. Rather, it’s a dynamic, evolving state – a color made from change.


Transparent in its complexion, you look into verdigris, not at it. Perhaps that’s why it adds such depth of interest to a bell, which has no flat surface. The color invites you in and beckons you to look and listen to beauty.




Source:, Wikipedia

Photo credit: Jessica Jameson

Artisanti Editor & Creative Director: Kelly Bird

Contributing Writer: Chloe Sykes

Graphic Designer: Jesca Wales

Header photo credit: David Blakeman

Footer photo credit: Jessica Jameson Photo