Funky, colorful contemporary art craft--New Orleans style

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Questions about ordering
How can I place an order?
Use the order form on this site.  Or contact us directly through e-mail or by phone.  

How can I pay for my order?
We accept VISA and MasterCard, or you can send a check.  

Is my credit card charged when I order or when the order is shipped?
We don't charge until we ship.

Can I place a customized order?
In general, yes.  But there may be a higher cost and more lead time required if you want to specify colors, for example.  

Do you gift-wrap?
We package most items in plastic gift bags tied with ribbon.  You will need to contact us about gift-wrapping some very large items, such as the mega snowman and the larger baskets.  There is no charge for this service.

Can I include a gift message?
Just let us know what you want the note to say and we will add a handwritten message.  

Can I get a discount by ordering in quantities?
There are some discounts shown for ornament sets.  We are willing to consider quantity discounts in some other cases, such as if you are ordering dozens of the same item as for corporate or business gifts.  The quantity has to be 12 or more before we will consider a discount, in most cases.  Contact us to discuss.

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Questions about shipping

Where do you ship?
The continental US, Alaska, Hawaii and Canada.

Do you ship internationally?
Only to Canada at this time.

How much does shipping and handling cost?  
We have established a schedule based on the type of item ordered.  The minimum is $5.00.  If you order multiple items, start with the item with the highest shipping cost.  Then add $1.00 for each additional item.  

Here is the shipping charge schedule for the first item:
Jewelry & ornaments
Tiaras, scepters, napkin rings
Baskets, lamps
Here's an example of a multi-piece order in which the tiara has the highest shipping rate:

Order total
Sales tax (LA only)
Shipping, highest rate
Shipping, add $1.00 for each additional item
Shipping total
Order total

How do you ship?
We prefer to use Priority Mail or UPS Ground service.  We use the U.S. Post Office to ship to Canada and to P.O. boxes, if a physical address is unavailable.

How soon after I place an order will it be shipped?
We try to ship most things within 3 business days of receiving the order.  Custom colors etc. requires additional production time, which will delay the shipment of the order.

Will you tell me when it is shipped?
Yes, if you provide us with your e-mail address or phone number.

What if there is a delay in shipping?
It may rarely occur that we cannot ship within the estimated shipping time.  If this is the case you will be informed ASAP by email or telephone.  You will have the option of canceling the order or accepting it later.

Can you ship faster?
Yes, you may select a faster shipping method for an additional fee.  Please inquire for specifics.

Are shipments insured?

Can I track the shipment?
Yes, we can provide the tracking number in an e-mail to you.  

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Questions about processes and materials

Where is the work made?
At our studio in New Orleans.

Why do you use aluminum?
Aluminum has several advantages for the designer:  It is light in weight, it is available in many forms (wire, sheet, and many extruded shapes), it varies from very soft to very hard, and it is easy to work with.  And most important for us:  It can be anodized.

What is anodized aluminum?
It is aluminum that has been treated so that it can be dyed.  The anodic layer also protects the metal.  Anodized aluminum is used in construction and manufacturing as well as in art.

What is the anodizing process?
The process of anodizing aluminum involves several steps.  First the metal is immersed in a bath of caustic soda solution for several minutes to both clean the surface and etch it slightly.  Then it is thoroughly rinsed and immersed in a solution of nitric acid for several minutes.  It is rinsed again and then is attached to a copper rod and immersed in a lead-lined tank containing a sulfuric acid solution.  A low current is run through this solution for up to one hour.  It is this process of electrolysis that results in the coating of the aluminum with the anodic film.  At the end of the run the aluminum is again thoroughly rinsed, dipped in an acid-neutralizing solution and rinsed again.

Is any of the metal painted?

Where does the color come from?
The anodic layer that is created in the anodizing process is just porous enough to absorb and hold dye.  We use special metallic dyes created especially to color anodized aluminum.  The anodized pieces are held in the dye just long enough to obtain the desired degree of color saturation.  We tend to prefer highly saturated color.  

Will the color rub off?
Under normal handling, no.  After dying, the pieces are sealed in a very hot solution so that the color is fixed. In situations where anodized pieces rub continuously against one another or another abrasive material the colored layer will erode over time.  The result is a natural “distressed” look.

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Questions about caring for anodized aluminum

Will the colors fade?
Under normal conditions, no.  But avoid leaving anodized work in the bright sun for prolonged periods (months).  Don't scrub it and don't put it in the dishwasher.

Is the surface scratch resistant?
Not really.  Handle with care.

What's the best way to clean and protect anodized aluminum?
Use a soft cloth or a soft brush to clean.  Use mild soap.  To brighten up anodized aluminum, rub it with a light coating of mineral oil.
You can remove tape residual from the aluminum with fingernail polish remover without harming the color but rinse it off afterwards.

Can I put anodized aluminum in the dishwasher?
No.  The harsh chemicals can strip the surface.  You should not even put anodized aluminum cookware in the dishwasher.  And while we're at it, don't put your sharp kitchen knives in the dishwasher, unless you just like dull knives.

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Will you repair something I purchased from you?
Of course.  In the unlikely event that something breaks, contact us so that we can determine how to proceed.

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Questions about returns and refunds

If I don't like the item can I return it?
While we have almost never had anything returned, we understand that it could happen. On a web site, you may be buying something that you have never actually seen in person.  We want you to be happy.  But we have to be careful, too.  Our policy is that we will accept returns within 10 business days, with a full refund for the cost of the item, but only if the work is returned to us in perfect condition.  Please pack any returned item carefully.

Who pays for shipping of a returned item?
You do.  When we ship the item to you we assume that you really want it.  As part of the exchange between us we feel that the responsibility for paying shipping for returning an item is yours.  

What if an item is damaged in shipment?
If you receive something shipped by UPS that has been damaged in shipment, please contact UPS directly.  All shipments are insured.

How will I be refunded?
With a credit to your credit card account.  If you paid by check we will send you a check.

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Questions about privacy

How will you protect my personal information?
We use a secure server for all online transactions.

Will you give my e-mail address to anyone else?
Never.  Under no circumstances.

How often will you be e-mailing me if I am on your e-mail list?
Just a few times a year to announce special events, new work or sales.

If I agree to be on your e-mail list can I opt out later?
Of course you can.  Just let us know and you will be promptly removed.

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Questions about Cooper-Stratton Designs

Where do your design ideas come from?
If we knew the true answer to that we'd be, like, enlightened beings or something.  

Do you have a shop in New Orleans?
We do not have out own retail shop.  But Cathy is a member of RHINO [link to location page], a crafts cooperative with two galleries in New Orleans where you can find her work.  You may also visit us by appointment to see work at our home or studio.  We have a special sale between Thanksgiving and Christmas and, sometimes, other special sales events during the year.  If you give us your e-mail we will keep you informed about such events.

Can I come by your studio in New Orleans?
Yes, by appointment.  Call 504-861-2170.  Or e-mail us at

Do you sell to wholesale accounts?
If you own a store and would like to inquire about carrying our work please e-mail us and we can begin a discussion about what is available and the terms.

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New Orleans

Is Mardi Gras as crazy as it seems?
Yes…and no.  There are many ways to “do” Mardi Gras.  The carnival season is long, starting at Twelfth Night and ending on Ash Wednesday.  Things really kick into gear on the weekend just before Fat Tuesday, with daily and nightly parades throughout the region.  There is a relatively conservative family scene in Metairie, Chalmette, Gretna and other suburbs.  There is a somewhat edgier but still family-friendly scene in uptown New Orleans.  Parts of the French Quarter are recommended only for the very liberal-minded.  Around the edges of Bourbon Street, though, the scene on Mardi Gras Day can be quite enjoyable for anyone with a little sense of adventure.  Costuming is de rigueur.  

Is it really hot in the summer?
There is a local saying that goes, “It's not the heat, it's the humidity”.  It is often in the 80s during the summer.  But the humidity can drain your energy.  Mid-afternoon showers feel like a blessing, until it clears and begins to really steam.  It does not cool down at night, except near the river or the lake.  By the way, the saying has recently been revised to comment on the local political system and certain aspects of the culture.  Some now say, “It's not the heat, it's the stupidity”.

When is the best time to visit New Orleans?
For the best weather of all, and for some of the best events, come in the fall, winter and spring.  October and November are the best fall months and March and April can be extraordinarily beautiful.

What is there to do besides eat and drink?
Plenty.  There are many, many unique festivals all over the region all year.  How about the Shrimp and Petroleum Festival?  Or the Angola Prison Rodeo & Crafts Festival? Check out this site:
In New Orleans there is great shopping for miles all along Magazine Street.  There are some very good museums, such as the D-Day Museum, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art (especially the new Sculpture Garden) and many more.  There is a good contemporary art scene, lots of theater and of course lots of music of all kinds.  Go to

Where is the best place to eat?
We can't answer this question honestly.  If we did, it might get too popular and crowded.  We are greedy and want to keep it to ourselves.  

Where is the best place to drink?
Same answer as above.

Does everybody speak French in New Orleans?
Yes, so study hard before you come.  

No.  Almost no one speaks French here anymore on a daily basis.  Two generations ago there were still many families with older French speakers.  But, sadly, no more.  French street names, etc., are routinely butchered in pronunciation.  There are efforts to keep the language alive locally, though.  There is one public elementary school where all courses are taught in French (except English, of course) from Kindergarten through fifth grade, with reduced French coursework available after that.   (We are proud to say our daughter attended this school.)  And there are several private schools with teaching in French, as well as a few other public schools.  Recently, the movement has been growing.

Why is New Orleans called “The Big Easy”?
Darned if we know.  

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Cooper-Stratton Designs      New Orleans, Louisiana      504-914-6802