Do you remember the garden fire pits that were all the rage a few years ago? It sounded wonderful and warm for one of those spring or summer evenings in the garden under the stars. Some people still use theirs, but I think for most, it was just a little too much trouble for not enough warmth, not to mention the risk of instant hair loss while trying to warm your hands over the fire.

Actually, I never purchased one, but a friend of mine who was one of the first to purchase hers at Smith and Hawkins offered it to me last summer as she was no longer interested in using it. Visualizing the romance of it, I gladly took it and gave it a shot. After multiple marshmallow roasts and the mess of having to clean burned sugar and ash out of the bowl every time, the pit was banished to the junk pile.

However, as I was preparing to load my junk in the car to take to Urban Ore, I noticed that the charred fire pit was looking very similar to a beautiful brass Martha Sturdy sculptural platter I had purchased for a client at The Gardener to hang over her fireplace (for about  $1500). It had even taken on a wonderful coppery turquoise verdigris patina in some areas just from sitting in the rain.

I immediately got to work. It only took me 10 minutes to scrub it out with soap, water, and a steel barbecue brush. I didn’t want to shine it up nor take away that aged character; I just needed to remove the old black ash and burned sticky sugar. 

Next, I took a fine drill bit and used my cordless drill to drill 2 very small holes right next to each other. Then 10 inches over, on the very edge of the flattest bottom part of the bowl, I drilled 2 more very small holes right next to each other (like holes in a button).

Then I took some fine gauge copper wire (which you can easily find at the hardware or craft store), threaded it through the first set of holes starting from the underside of the bowl, up through the inside of the bowl, and out again to the underside (just like sewing a button) and then I twisted the end of the wire around the hanging long portion to secure it. Next I took the long portion of the wire and stretched the wire across the under side of the bowl to the next set of holes and threaded the wire through these holes in the same way. Next, I secured the wire by twisting the end around the hanging portion. This became my bowl/platter hanger. It looks like the hanging wire on the back of a painting. The length of the wire of course depends on where you will be securing it to your wall. My wire happened to be very long because I wanted to hang it from the wood molding on the top of my wall as opposed to directly on the stucco. The copper wire patinas to complement the bowl and becomes unnoticeable as it darkens. 

The image above shows an exploded view of the threaded copper wire coming through the underside of the bowl. The two near-horizontal orange lines on the right side of the photo show the two ends of the wire where they are threaded through the small holes in the bowl. Keep in mind that this is a continuous wire going from one set of holes to the other set (the photo cuts this off).

Although my platter could have easily been hung inside my house, I opted to spiff up my outdoor seating area by hanging it over my cushioned bench.  I’ve always felt that the outdoors should be furnished and treated the same as the indoors by creating a great conversation area with good soft light and some fun art.

I’ve had several people ask about my beautiful copper platter…now the secret is out!  If you don’t have your own old fire pit or bowl, you can find used inexpensive ones on Craig’s List or, if you are in the Bay Area, at Urban Ore.