Virginia Fisher, a metalsmith from Bucyrus, Missouri, creates art pieces and jewelry inspired by Missouri’s rivers and flora. Copper is her go-to medium and she transforms the versatile metal into stunning pieces that are useful and beautiful.

By Sandy Selby

Virginia Fisher finds inspiration for her art in the natural beauty of her Ozarks home, from the region’s trees and flowers to its winding rivers. The lauded metalsmith artist favors copper for her creations and uses it to create intricate woven baskets, jewelry, ornaments, and wall hangings. It is often enhanced with realistic copper or silverplate recreations of familiar flora.

“When I was in North Carolina attending school at Appalachian State University, I would go visit my grandmother and she would want to drive around and look at the flowers,” Virginia says. “The flowering dogwoods in North Carolina are always spectacular, so after visiting with her one time, I took a branch back to my studio and modeled a piece after that.” Now as a Missouri resident, Virginia appreciates that the flower that brings back such fond memories of time spent with her grandmother also happens to be the bloom of Missouri’s state tree.

Virginia’s river baskets are among her most popular offerings. The craftsmanship in these carefully constructed baskets is clear even as viewers are left baffled about how the artist creates these woven wonders out of metal. The river motif is depicted through a “squiggly line of patina” that runs across the surface of the piece.

“This series of baskets comes from my affection for the rivers that define the Missouri Ozarks,” Virginia says. “These rivers are for floating and fishing and have beautiful secrets at every curve. You just don’t know what will be around the corner. I have a deep gratitude for how much happiness and life these rivers bring to our world.”

Every basket is unique, and Virginia suggests that multiple baskets can be displayed together to make a “long” river.

Part of that uniqueness comes from her choice of copper for most of her art. “I love the colors you can get from copper—that warmth and variety just seems so natural.”

Virginia’s art goes beyond home decor. She also creates lovely, one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces using copper wire, natural stones, and freshwater pearls.

Her interest in metalwork was inspired and nurtured by her mother, who is also a metalsmith. Yet when Virginia went to Appalachian State University to study art, she first focused on painting. She later turned her attention to fiber arts, and now, her art incorporates all three disciplines.

Virginia admits that supporting yourself as an artist can be challenging, and she’s occasionally worked at other jobs to support her passion. One of those jobs was at the Metal Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, and that’s where she met her husband, a welder. United by their love of metal, the pair got married at the museum.

These days, Virginia shares a studio in Bucyrus with her mother and is focused on making art her full-time pursuit. But she says there is an art to doing business that emerging artists sometimes forget to consider. Her advice to a new artist looking to go pro? “Trust your own voice when it comes to making art. Then if you want to make a business out of it, you need to count on 40 percent of your time doing business. You might get 60 percent for making art, and probably 20 percent of that is going to be thinking about it and planning it. It’s a daily grind. The most important thing for me is to keep moving every day.”

Virginia has successfully balanced the dual roles of artist and entrepreneur. And her art, particularly her baskets, finds balance in the space between beautiful form and practical function. She finds satisfaction in knowing that her art is seen and used every day by people who enjoy the object even if they’ve never met the thoughtful, talented artist behind it. 

See a selection of Virginia’s work at the Missouri Life Mercantile or at, or on her website at

The Top Pewtersmiths in Missouri • Missouri Life Magazine