Yes, I know my grammar. So if your first thought was, “I think she meant peddling, not pedaling”, rest assured I am smarter than I look! George Kinley literally pedals his business It’s Copper By George around Oak Island, a quiet beach town along the southeastern coast of North Carolina, on a bicycle, complete with a metal horse head on front, and boat serving double duty as a display on the back. Farmers Market Finds found George doing business on a gravel lot along East Oak Island Dr, while on our way to the 25th Annual Oak Island Arts & Crafts Festival. Sometimes when you are on the hunt for something a little off the beaten path, something unique with a back story that’s equally interesting, you just get lucky. Today, we were feeling very, very lucky!
George creates unique, one of a kind marine life copper sculptures. Made out of 16 ounce copper, each piece is hand-hammered; none are soldered and he uses no tools or molds. Instead he uses a variety of materials he has found along the way; a cannonball, wrenches, nails, chisels and an anvil to hammer and mold each piece into a work of art. A torch flame brings out the color and then clear coat is applied to protect it from corrosion.
A roofer by trade, George explained that he previously built steeples and began playing with aluminum flashing and copper roofing materials. A decade ago, he stepped into the role of stay-at-home dad to his stepdaughter and turned his hobby into a career. Back then, George would actual motor up and down the river in the Charlotte area selling his art right off the boat.
From sea turtles to blue marlins, crabs to mermaids, sand dollars to suns, It’s Copper by George pieces sell from $40- $4,000. His sculpture can be found in many local businesses and restaurants around this coastal area including the Provisions restaurant in Southport, now famed as the town featured in last season’s blockbuster movie “Safe Haven”. He has even had his work displayed in the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington. So if you are looking for a custom piece of art for your home or business or if you are a beach lover visiting beautiful, southeastern North Carolina and want to take a bit of the sea back with you, stop by and visit with George, or give him a call at (910) 933-4168 and let him help you create a custom piece just for you. He is as nice as can be, unique as it gets and eager to share his work and his stories with you.