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Saturday, January 31, 2015


The topic for week #3 is “Wire Work”.

Bonnie Jacobsen led us in this week’s discussions on the subject of wire work. That is, btw, one of her lovely pieces as our topic photo. If you'd like to check out more of her work, here's her website.

Wire-work is the January jewelry design challenge theme so now’s the time to get going on that project.  Submit your design by clicking the link at the top of the blog post (just above the date of each blog post).

Bonnie has graciously started us off with a photo tutorial to make a very cool pair of earrings. Click here for the link to the PDF.

So what's everyone's experience with wire work? Love it? Hate it? Tried it? Great at it? On the "to do" list?

Tammy Adams: My "wire work" expertise is fairly limited, and more functional (for connections) than decorative. I think I've mastered the wrapped loop, although I still get a wonky one on occasion. I enjoy free-from or rustic wraps for things like bead cages and pendant bails. I admire the wire weavers and often drool over their designs. However, I've come to the conclusion that kind of precision work is not for me.

Laura Bracken: Tammy, I am also not a clever hand at wire work. I'm glad Bonnie's showing us a few techniques, though, because I think being able to do certain things with wire (if not the way out there elaborate stuff) can add a dimension of possibilities to our work.

Tammy Adams: Agreed, Laura. I used a tutorial to wrap smaller beads around a donut pendant (the one for my Marble Caves challenge design last year) and really liked the technique for enhancing a focal.

Laura Bracken: We should share photos of things we non wire workers have done with wire that was new for us. I went through a phase (a phase that lasted all of one piece) where I made a wire frame and weaved beads onto it... It was a gingko leaf.

Jo Pound: I love wirework and it was what I started out doing but the hands said that was too hurtful and had softer things in mind. I have moved on to bead embroidery and totally love it--but I 'drool' as Laura put it over it.

Bonnie Jacobsen: Learning to make findings was a huge plus and saves money.

Barbara Sadler Swinton: The feature in the SRAJD blog post shows a macrame wire bracelet that I made in a class...
 ... it was pretty tough on the hands, though I imagine it might get easier the more you do it. Other than that, these are about as intricate as my wire wrapping has gotten.

Tammy Adams: Well, since you asked, (although those who followed the challenge no doubt will have deja vu), this is the wrapped donut focal of which I am pretty proud. Not sure I remember exactly how to get it started, or whether I bookmarked the tutorial, in case I ever want to do it again. Oops.

Nohline Sharp L'Ecuyer: This is a sample of what I learned to do this past week - wire weaving from a master.

Barbara Sadler Swinton: This weaving is wonderful! It looks just like a fiber weaving sampler from my past. It's so nice and even...and pretty!!! Would love to hear more about it - it looks like great fun:) More!

Barbara Sadler Swinton: Nohline was this hard on your hands?

Nohline Sharp L'Ecuyer: Not hard on your hands but a little physical, yes.

Becci Zaddack: This was my 1st successful wire wrap piece. I gifted it to my Mom for Christmas and she thinks it's really neat that I gave her my 1st successful piece and very much treasures it!

Laura Bracken: Adding as many handmade components to our jewelry sets us apart from the crowd. Here's Bonnie's tutorial on making your own.

Katherine Gingrich: I will now provide some comic relief. Almost twenty years ago, I actually made pieces like this hideous monstrosity and sold a lot of them. Someone then ripped off this ludicrous idea and produced them too. Snort!!!

Kelly Hosford Patterson: I was actually a florist before I started jewelry, so I got my wire working basics from making corsages. This is my first fancy wire work piece. An experiment that turned out pretty cool.

Mary Deacy Rembach: This month's Step by Step Wire Jewelry featured this balled copper wire bracelet. Each link is joined and them wrapped in and out. Talk about rough on the hands. It called for 18 gauge wire and it was very tough to wrap because after the first wrap around the mandrel you had to remove it and them wrap the ends in and out of the first wrap. I found it hard to keep the circle shape while pulling the wire in and out. I do love wire work in general but I would have liked this better with jump rings between the links because it doesn't sit flat on the wrist and you also don't see all of the balled ends because some of them sit against the wrist rather than on top of it.

Laura Bracken: Here's another tutorial generously created for the SRAJD members by Bonnie Jacobsen.

Laura Bracken: And here are a couple of Bonnie's pieces so you can see some of these techniques in action.

Laura Bracken: Check out Bonnie's FB page or website to see many more wire work designs to inspire and encourage you.

Laura Bracken: Bonnie, I'd like to thank you for your help this week on the subject of wire-work. And thanks again for making these awesome tutorials.


Julie L. Cleveland said...

All of these are wonderful, and I am so envious of you wirewrapping gurus. I wanted to learn how to do some basics, and maybe I will start with that great earwire tutorial. Great post!

RichKnobSales said...

This is awesome work! I'm very much into precision :( I've done most of these techniques but have not mastered them to Bonnie's level :)

RichKnobSales said...



I created these two boards that are things that inspired me. A few of them are my work but not many.

CarolWall said...

Very interesting. The copper wire work is awesome and has inspired to try this.