Tag Archives: wire weaving

New Wire Bracelets

Winter has decided to arrive fashionable late this year, but arrive it has.  A storm has hit the country, bringing hail and snow up from Antarctica.  This will no doubt be a bit of a shock to my plants that thought spring started several weeks ago. I intend to spend much of the remaining season in front of a fire, counting down the weeks until The Walking Dead returns.

This past week I have been weaving a length of trichinopoly chain (also known as Viking Knit) to finish my bracelets off. I love the double knit it’s so sleek and strong after it has been pulled through the draw plate. I have these three new bracelets in store now.

artwrapped Olivewrapped Ultraorangewrapped

Now the school holidays are looming, and I’m in need of some relaxation. I’m loading up some crochet thread with a single colour of beads, so that I can mindlessly work without having to follow a pattern – bliss.

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Snuffy, Peter Jackson and Hector

stormThis morning I lay in bed, not quite ready to function yet. I could hear my 3 year old son calling out to me, but I couldn’t register what I was hearing. My brain was still busy trying to process what I had just seen. A rickety old ship was being battered about by an extremely choppy ocean, it’s mast threatening to topple. On board, a wet and panicked Peter Jackson tried desperately to coax a Snuffleupagus out of his melancholy so that he could shoot a scene. Snuffy was lamenting his lack of a soulmate and bitterly suggested that he might consider buying a “girlfriend” (of the night) with his share of the movie proceeds. I’m really not sure what inner turmoil my subconscious was dealing with by creating such a surreal Sesame Street/A Perfect Storm/Meet the Feebles cross over, and I’m not sure I want to know.

At least my conscious mind is functioning adequately. For the most part. I need more wire practice so I’m working on some wire focal pieces, destined to become bracelets.

June (7)

I make these in a free-form manner, because if I try to plan them, I just get overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. The result isn’t always pretty, but I am improving, although sometimes the unexpected happens. Which is how Hector the PeaChick came into existence. My daughter asked why he didn’t have any legs, so I explained that he’s kind of like an Angry Bird, which she readily accepted. He’s not exactly a masterfully rendered little fellow, but I like him. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with him; I suspect he’ll just remain my own little mascot.

Meet Hector

Meet Hector

One of those weeks

Many of you are already aware of my key situation, but for those of you who are not, I’ll recap. After putting away my new beads from Fire Mountain Gems, then dealing with the Mountain of Dolphin’s Tears that had accumulated, I somehow lost the key to my bead cabinet. After much searching and wringing of hands, my mother told me she had a matching one for her china cabinet and she would get a copy made. This still meant that I had to go days without access to my beads though. It was rough.

On Wednesday I picked my new key, (HURRAY!) but ever since, I’ve been too ill to attempt anything beady (BOO!). I want to bead, but by the time the kids are in bed at night, I’m too exhausted.  I did get a little bit of a bead fix yesterday. My 6 year old daughter had a day off school, so we got a have some rare one-on-one time while Mr. 3 was at kindergarten. She had her first go at peyote stitch using these giant plastic cylinder beads. She zipped her swatch up into a tube to use as a pendant.

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If I feel up to it tonight, I’ll be playing with a Swarovski skull bead. I’ve already made one wire wrapped necklace using one of these guys, and now I’ve got a commission to do another.  Exciting stuff. I’m hoping to figure out a way of displaying the bead so that his beautifully faceted cranium is visible, as much as I love the pendant below, I can’t help but mourn for the back of the bead and feel like I’m not doing it justice.  I have a kernel of an idea, we’ll have to wait and see if it pans out.

hayleskull

Custom Work and Wire Fun

wirepend

This year, in a move completely out of character, I got organised for Christmas early. All of my shopping is done, dinner is going to be a casual summer barbecue; all I need to do is wrap the presents and I’m done.  It’s a good thing too, because my little Facebook Christmas sale seems to have ramped up interest in my artisan jewellery and custom work has been pouring in this last week. I’ve never had anything like it and I’m utterly thrilled.  I’ve had to order materials from the same store three days in a row and must offer my sincere thanks to the gracious Queen Bead from The Bead Hold. In the midst of her big relocation, no doubt the last thing she needed was picky customers (me) constantly amending orders.

2013-11-30 23.10.37My main focus over the last week or so has been wire. Once I find something that works, I often have trouble breaking away from a method to find new ways of doing something. In an attempt to stretch my creativity, I’ve been practicing making free-form pendants. I’m quite pleased with what I’ve come up with; they’re not as flawless as I would like, but hey, what is?

One great bonus to working with wire is how much quicker setup and pack up is. Everything goes in one box, all I need is a few simple tools and I’m good to go. Beading is a little more chaotic. I have numerous boxes and compartments, inside which are many more smaller containers containing hundreds different beads. Finding the right combination of beads for a project can be tedious.  At the end of the night I have to painstakingly return each container to its box or drawer and find any needles or beads that I may have dropped.  I guess it’s a small price to pay for doing something you love.

Lil’ Wayne’s Teeth are not Welcome Here

wayne

Before I began this earring episode, I had another play with wire. I re-created my “Beginnings” necklace in silver wire and a beautiful Swarovski rivoli in medium vitrail. I mainly done this because I wanted to play with liver-of-sulfur. I’ve never tried any antiquing before, but I’ve admired it for a long time  in the works of other artists.

After weaving the necklace, I found that so much bright silver looked quite tacky, like a gangster rapper – all bling and no class.  I prepared myself before opening the bottle of liver-of-sulfur, I’d read all over the internet that the smell was straight from the sewers of hell itself. Clearly the people who thought that have never been to Wai-O-Tapu. It was an ever-so-slight whiff of Rotorua, nothing more – harden up guys!

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Anyway, the wire didn’t darken as much as I would have liked, but it was enough to dull the shine, and make it more like a beautiful piece of jewellery and less like Lil’ Waynes teeth. The steel-like colour lets the rivoli really sparkle too.

I’m in the process of making custom ordered New Beginnings necklace too, a gift for the customers wife (take note husbands, happy wife, happy life). It’s deliciously gothic in black and purple, and makes me think of Disney’s Maleficent .

New Pathways

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Being a dabbler in everything I come across, one the skills I tried to learn, when I first started making jewellery, was wire-weaving. No matter how I tried I could not get the infernal stuff to do what it was meant to do. It tangled, it kinked, it poked me in the eye. It was relegated to a box and sent to the purgatory in the dark abyss at the back of my craft cupboard. It would be given the occasional reprieve when I needed to make simple findings like jumprings. After a time, I discovered viking knit and was pleased to find that it was relatively easy, so long as I used a narrow gauge wire. Other techniques remained out of reach for me.

Then one fateful day, I stumbled upon Nicole Hanna Jewelry (note I use different spelling for the word ‘jewelry’, the NZ spelling is jewellery). Her designs drew me in with their intricate pathways and amazing detail. Her work was so precise, and her finished pieces looked ethereal – like they had been woven by teams of pixies. For a long time, I simply admired and marvelled from afar, and of course ‘liked’ her Facebook page so that I wouldn’t miss anything new. It was through Facebook that I learned that, from time to time, Nicole hides a free tutorial on her website. When I found my hidden prize I was instantly digging out my wire to try my hand at subduing it once and for all.Image 01

Alas, it wasn’t to be. What I created was an abomination and was quickly binned. Much later the Nicole Hanna Treasure Hunt caught my attention again and this time I struck it lucky. The Loop Prong earrings pattern was mostly simple coiling. It still took several tries to get it right but I ended up with a passable pendant (I decided not to go for earrings because making two that match might be too tricky). While there was no true weaving in the pattern, something clicked for me and I started to see how to work with the wires natural coil, instead of battling against it.

I’m still a long way away from being totally confident in my wire creations, but I’m finally making progress – and I have a collection of Nicole’s tutorials to work

on to keep me busy.