Art of Aging: Man turns copper artist after Alzheimer's diagnose

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Art of Aging: Man turns copper artist after Alzheimer's diagnose. Tamala Edwards reports during Action News at 12 p.m. on July 5, 2018. (WPVI)

As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.

Meet a physicist turned copper artist who took up the craft after a devastating diagnosis.

Carl Duzen never set out to be an artist.

As a former physics teacher, he just liked taking things apart and putting them together.

Several years ago he began disavowing old TV sets, collecting the copper yoke, and stashing them into whimsical shapes.

His wife Susan Jewett, a lifelong artist said, "I walked by his workbench one day, and there were these absolutely beautiful forms laid out."

She was immediately smitten with her husband's creations.

"And I went rushing off to Ikea and bought cheap frames and put it inside and said look Carl, art, " said Susan.

The couple's collaborative work is now on display at the Penn Memory Center, where Carl is a patient.

He started working with copper after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

"Actually one of the things that Carl said in the very first maybe hours was 'I just want to live my life.' And that's been my kinda mantra ever since," said Susan.

He gets his copper wherever he can.

"We've had people call us in the middle of the day, in the middle of the evening, saying 'there's a television outside of such and such an address' and we hop in the car and we haul it back home," said Susan.

And Covanta, a company that recycles old electronics, has donated boxes of copper yolks for the cause.

Gordon Burgoyne, Covanta Business manager said, "We're happy to see these items get put into art, doesn't happen very often."

At this stage in his disease, Carl struggles to find his words.

But he's found his purpose in the face of Alzheimer's.

Susan refers to Carl and adds, "You said to me, it's the hand you've been dealt and you're gonna make the best of it. It's your way of fighting back."

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