AUGUSTA — For Roxanne Munksgaard, the load of copper she picked up in Augusta earlier this month was pure gold.

The Bangor metalsmith trekked south to pick up 30 square feet of copper salvaged from the Maine State House dome and brought it home in the back of her car.

“Copper has properties,” she said. “I don’t know what I believe or don’t believe, but I wear it every day. I tell you, I boogied all the way home with the Grateful Dead!”

It was for artists like Munksgaard that the Legislative Council of the Maine State Legislature opted to keep the copper that came off the dome as part of its $1.4 million renovation project rather than selling it for scrap to help offset the project cost. A certain amount also is being set aside for mementos, either as part of a plaque or a framed piece.

Since the middle of October, both the mementos, which are $36.93, tax included, and raw copper, at $10 per square foot plus tax ($5 per square foot for educational institutions) have been available for order through the Office of the Executive Director of the Maine State Legislature. Grant Pennoyer, who is the executive director, said some copper also is being reserved for a sculpture that’s scheduled to be installed somewhere on the State House grounds. He’s not sure how long that process will take.

“We have sold about 50 framed pieces and 35 plaques,” he said, mostly to legislators and those who have worked in the building.

Pennoyer said he’s not sure how much the sale of the keepsakes or the copper will net the state, but it won’t match what could have been paid for the scrap value, even considering the value of scrap copper has dropped since the project started.

The demand so far, he said, has not been great.

The order form is available on the Legislature’s website:

Workers spent several months in 2014 removing the old green cooper from the dome and replacing it with new copper sheathing that will weather over time. The copper-covered dome was added to the 1832 State House in 1910.

For Munksgaard and her partners, Amanda Coburn and Anne Reigstad, the lure of the copper is more than just the patina that only decades of weather and pollution can deliver. Munksgaard spent a number of years as a lobbyist, traveling to Augusta to work on issues close to her heart, such as the living-wage campaign, and she sees value in sharing bits and pieces of the dome in the jewelry she is creating from it.

She also has some experience in employing salvaged metal in her work. She and her partners have used copper salvaged from the Bangor Public Library in jewelry over the last two years, creating 1,500 pieces and raising $30,000 for the library from the sale of the jewelry at an auction.

Munksgaard said she’ll be back this week for more copper, for works that she and her partners at Maine Jewelry & Art are creating.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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