A few pointers from the pros
Four local companies have a lot of experience with weathervanes
A weathervane can say a great deal about its owners. From displaying one’s love of the sea with a sailboat, a fondness for nature with a flower, or a little whimsy with a unicorn, these functional works of art offer a personalized focal point to any home, business, or other building they adorn.
Weathervanes, both grand and traditional, take outdoor décor to new heights, and while it’s easy to marvel at the artistry built into these sculptures, the craft of weathervane making is just as admirable. In this article, we look at four local companies whose craftsmen are skilled and experienced in the art of making weathervanes. Their unique creations are perfect for adding a little personality to homes, offices, and other outdoor structures.
“Keeping a balance is very important”
When it comes to weathervanes, anything seems possible for Cape Cod Cupola. In business since 1939, and holding patterns for more than 480 unique designs ranging from planes, cars, and flowers to fish, mermaids, and mythical creatures, it would appear there’s no style this North Dartmouth company cannot make. The weathervanes are available in five different sizes, generally ranging from one to 10 feet.
“We offer a big variety,” says Brian Chabot, the company’s manager and weathervane maker, “and we’re not at all limited to what we show or what we have patterns for. We’re always doing custom pieces.” One of the company’s largest commissioned works is a moose that stands 4’6” and measures six feet in length; mounted on a 10-foot arrow, the finished product is pretty sharp. Chabot has also spent up to 200 hours on an individual, full-bodied automobile design.
Like many things in life, the art of making weathervanes is a kind of balancing act. Chabot, who has been designing weathervanes for the company since 1977, says Cape Cod Cupola—which also makes finials and, of course, cupolas—strives to achieve a balance of creativity and functionality with all of its handcrafted copper pieces. “They still have to face into the wind when the wind blows,” Chabot explains. “That’s the most important thing: If the weathervane is not designed so it can turn in the wind, it’s not going to last very long, and the wind is going to beat it up. You want to try to keep the weight relatively even, front to back, but you definitely have to have more area on the back side that can catch the wind. Trying to keep a balance is very important.”
One of the company’s signature pieces is its Osterville Mermaid. “From her waist down, we will patina green the fish part and make that copper look old and antique,” Chabot says. “Her body and her arms will be clear sprayed so that they stay that nice, copper-tone color. And her hair can be gold leafed so that she is blond or can be left natural copper if they wanted to go brunette.”
Cape Cod Cupola is at 78 State Road in North Dartmouth.
For more information, call 508-994-2119, or visit capecodcupola.com.
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