I’ve always been fascinated by brass. When it’s polished it gleams like gold, and even though it can tarnish, it has a hardness beyond gold that gives it a more powerful feeling for me.
Even though Susan Cooper chose gold for the sign of fire in The Dark Is Rising Sequence, in my mind brass is the perfect substance to symbolize the element of fire: the warm gleaming tone invites and welcomes flame in candlesticks and evokes it in jewelry. And the tone of brass instruments: bright, warm or hot.
When I was a teenager I had a favorite brass candlestick: a thick, deep cup that held a thick white candle. I remember the night I watched in fascination as the candle burned down to heat the brass, melting the wax until the wick floated in a pool of clear melted wax inside this hot bright metal.
It’s fitting that at least one alcohol stove, the Trangia Spirit Burner, is made of brass. One of these days I’d like to get one and compare it to Mechanic Mike’s Side Jet Alcohol Stove, which I bought this summer.
I sell on ebay too, and I recently started offering some interesting brass bracelets. Some of them are elegant, some of them are downright badass, or at least I think so. The nice thing about them is that they’re made by artisans in South Africa, so by offering then for sale I’m doing my part to promote economic self-determination and self-reliance in developing nations, as well as make one more gesture against racism.
But it’s not only the social virtue of it that gets me about these bracelets. I’ve seen plenty of social virtue free trade merchandise that doesn’t excite me. These things are different: they’re just cool-looking, or I should say, hot-looking. You can have a look at them here.