As you know, I love making my own jewelry, and I’ve got a few family and friends who say my pieces, given as gifts, have great sentimental value. I remember those necklaces specifically. They were clay beads threaded on narrow suede strips and painted in natural shades of green, brown and terracotta. I remember how easy it was, taking just a marble-size ball of clay and squeezing it for just a minute or so. Instead of moulding it into a ball, I flattened mind into a rough-edged, flat circle.
I remember those days I didn’t have the right tools yet and I simply used a pencil to put a small hole in it for the leather or suede to go through. I popped them into the oven and baked them for about 30 minutes at about 270°. Hooray! Perfect, and then I painted them. I remember I went onto the Internet and looked up some details on pottery designs from the southwestern pueblo people and found some awesome styles and designs. Everyone is creative, and look how thrilled my family were to receive my gifts which they still wear. Do a bit of research and maybe you’ll find that your talents also lie in jewellery
Well I am taking a break from my wire jewelry to go back to some bead weaving because…drum roll! I have some orders, it’s been a case of someone admiring something I’d done and then contacting me. I have been asked to do 20 necklaces in an African beaded style called the African Helix, for a dance presentation, so I am in for a few frustrating days as they are all same design and colours but it’s my first commission and I am so excited. I have done these before but take a look at this African helix tutorial if you want to learn how. I’ve been asked to do the colours fuchsia and blue and I found these fantastic fuchsia beads on the GJ beads site, they arrived today and they are gorgeous and go really well with some blue beads I already have.
Gorgeous aren’t they?
I also eventually got around to ordering my loom from the same site, I ordered the Ricks Bead Loom and it’s looking good, not actually got around to using it yet but will soon as I plan to get started on Christmas presents – beaded bracelets very soon. I like to do so many a month so I don’t get overwhelmed and as I already have 6 orders for some I will have to start earlier this year. I also bought myself a book on designs for beading on a loom and through it and there are some really interesting designs I would like to have a go on. I have also found a lovely pattern for Elven queen bracelet and quite fancy one for myself, so might take a night out and make one.
Ricks Bead Look
Want to learn how to make simple but very effective wire jewelry? When people hear that my jewelry making includes working with wire, they always think I’ve got some heavy machinery in my jewelry making studio. I always reply by saying ‘look at what primitive man achieved with their minimum of tools.’ With a few simple tools, I’ve learned to take up a wide variety of metal-working techniques.
Metal is so versatile that the creative design possibilities are endless once you know the basic techniques. When you think of it, many early pieces of jewelry were based on patterns created with wire which had been made by hand! Fascinating pieces of jewelry can be made from various types of wire. What I love about wire is that you can twist and turn wire and make some interesting pieces, particularly when you bring in other materials like leather for instance and interesting stones.
Economically, it’s a good idea to start with materials like copper pr silver-plated wire to practice bending it. Making use of simple tools like pliers, metal file and wire cutters, my first jewellery project I remember was a silver plated wire bracelet with and interest bead attached to it.
With some basic jewellery making techniques from the Internet, like me, you’ll soon be moving towards more progressive techniques and a better quality tool.
I’ve discovered that sometimes brilliant colours created by enamelling even the simplest pieces make jewellery makings a fascinating craft. Even with metal, I’m slowly learning how to turn wire, brass, copper and silver into intricate jewelery with nothing more complicated than a pair of pliers. I’ve also discovered that with a few modern lightweight little jewelry making tools, easily available with short term loans from companies likehttps://www.ferratum.co.uk/affiliate_program, it is possible to solder, weld, cut, cast and etch at home and make some unique jewelery pieces.
I’ve discovered that the first steps in jewelery making are often the most exciting, With just a few threading and knotting techniques and just a little bit of knowledge of the right threads and fastenings, I’ve actually created a dazzling treasure chest of necklaces and bracelets. Another bonus with learning to make jewelery, is that you can also fix up any broken pieces, but thats just by the way. I’ve literally become carried away with making my pet love…necklaces.
Preparing for Contests
I’m planning on entering jewelery making contests, and just love seeing the unique and very personal pieces emerging. Jewelery making can be surprisingly inexpensive too, and craft shops, believe me, are literal Aladdin’s Caves for jewelery makers like me. I’m talking about glass beads, wooden balls, rough cut stones, bamboo and ceramics cut in myriads of shapes. You’ll find wire, string, leather, fishing nylon.. simply put, you find exactly what you want. Once you’ve learned how to drill holes, mould clay and work metal… you’ll be carried away with enthusiasm like me as you strive towards well-finished, amazing looking jewelry.
Wire sculpture jewelry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you are like me, you feel like your skills will never meet those of established jewelry artists. Not those who work for large jewelry businesses, but those whose photos appear on sites like Pinterest. The intricate wraps, and innovative mounts holding semi-precious gemstones are intimidating! You also cannot depend on the opinions offered by friends and family. They might not know the first thing about wire wrapped jewelry, or hope you’ll reward their favorable opinions with free jewelry. Have you considered entering a jewelry contest?
Jewelry contests can create name recognition, but also lets you hear opinions from people, known for their own design talents. They have an eye for structure, form and durability. Your entry’s winning, placing or warranting honorable mention adds a little prestige to your portfolio, and ethical padding to your resume, if you seek work teaching jewelry sculpture skills.
Best of all, you can try new bead and wire combinations, and get feedback, before you try selling similar pieces. Why waste time and money creating several unusual pieces, then discovering the market won’t accept them? Instead, enter a contest and get a relatively free analysis of a single piece, before placing its image on your website.
I won’t be ready, this year, but I’m working on a few designs for next year’s contests. I’ve chosen beautiful cloisonnes focals, Swarovski crystal beads and a peacock blue/green rattail cord for my first piece, and may continue that color scheme through a broach and ring. It won’t be a set, but the pieces will be compatible.
Have you considered entering a jewelry contest?
Deciding which skills to learn can be confusing, especially when we’re inspired by so many artists and their internet galleries. One week we are drawn to polymer clay , then we see a great necklace and decide we need to upgrade our bead stringing, or crochet, skills. However, some skills translate across more than one medium or craft. Wire wrapping skills are great for creating intricate jewelry, larger art pieces and hanging beads from almost anything. There are two really great reasons to learn wire wrapping skills before all others; what you can make and where you can find wire.
You have seen the intricacy of wire wrapped jewelry in Etsy shops and on Pinterest, but have you seen crocheted wire jewelry? Made using craft wire, the lacy loops and swirls, normally reserved for great yarns, make wire stand out as a viable option for expensive looking bracelets and chokers. Since craft wire is very soft, and almost impossible to harden, consider attaching the choker or bracelet to a stiff base to protect the completed project’s shape.
Repurpose and Recycle
As I said, the second reason for learning wire wrapping is where you can find wire. Every old electric appliance has wire ans does every old extension cord. If is not the best copper wire, but you don’t want to use your best wire when practicing loops and spirals, or learning to use a new ear wire template or eye making tool. All you need do is strip away the outer covering, then straighten the wire. Using this wire to practice your wire techniques is a great recycling project!
I simply love seed beads. Relative inexpensive, they arrive in small boxes or plastic bags and I’ll leave them in their original package for weeks, just admiring them. I find using them difficult. They are so pretty that I dread the moment when I use the last one in a necklace, bookmark or pair of earrings.
I am saving for a good bead loom because I’m tired of using needles for everything. My eyes have trouble focusing on the nearly microscopic eyes of the hair-like ,smooth beading needles, and the twisted needles are not very versatile. I’ll still use them for open weave patterns, though. I found inspirational pieces at Lux Mystica Beadworks, so all I need do is practice a bit, then grab the graph paper to create my first, original loom design. That sounds quite simple but I learned, long ago, that I’ll practice for months before I am confident enough to strike out on my own!
I have considered selling my designs or the actual pieces made from them, but I fear doing so will end the fun and replace it with stress. However, a successful craft website might loosen the financial corsetry I currently live with.
Have you ever considered selling your crafts?