At some point in April 2010 I began flirt­ing with the idea of mak­ing jew­ellery. As a begin­ner I choose beads and tiger tail as my main sup­plies. I can’t tell you how many times I took apart a neck­lace or brace­let only to remake it longer or shorter, hope­fully a little bet­ter each time.

In July of 2010 I star­ted tak­ing begin­ner classes at a pub called The Pearl Girl in Tipton. It was a fun way to social­ize while hon­ing skills I had accu­mu­lated on my own. During the class we did sev­eral wire ses­sions, mak­ing tiaras and knit­ting. Several of the women in our class took to wire like fish to water. They had a knack with it. My mother in law knit some gor­geous things, really impress­ive. But for some reason I couldn’t get enthu­si­astic about work­ing with the thin wire. My one attempt to crochet pearls on pink wire remains unfin­ished. With so many other tech­niques to try, I hap­pily resigned that wire work could be enjoyed by oth­ers, not by me.

wire wrap rings

The triplets — wire wrap rings

Until recently, that is to say. For some reason I sud­denly got the urge last month to learn how to make wire rings. As usual, I used my beady eye to scour the web for ideas, tips on tech­niques and to source some 18 gage sil­ver plated cop­per wire. Then spent a month mak­ing and remak­ing rings.

After much folly with the 18 gage wire, which turned out to be too thick for a novice such as myself, I found smal­ler wire in three gradu­ated sizes. The slightly smal­ler gages were just what I needed to have a good play. Funny how size really does matter.

I’ll talk more about my wire wrap ring adven­tures later. This blog is about what came after the rings. Creating wire inspired earrings.

My wire ear­ring experiment

This week I was inspired to see if I could fash­ion my own wire hoop ear­rings. And since I wasn’t con­fid­ent that my skills and equip­ment could give me a per­fectly round shape I opted for a pear or teardrop shape instead. Below is a step by step visual of my efforts.

Making a small circle

A small circle at the top

* I decided to use what is labeled as 6mt non tar­nish sil­ver plated cop­per wire sourced from Scientific Wire Company. It’s pli­able but not too thick and should hold it’s shape pretty well. Plus it’s easy to work with. Which is a bonus when you’re learn­ing a craft.

* My first step was to make a small circle at the top of the teardrop. This will be used to hang a focal bead to dangle eleg­antly at the centre of the ear­ring and dance about with every movement.

 

Making the tear drop shape

Shaping the teardrops

*  I used the thick­est part of my ring man­drel to shape the teardrop. Bending the wire around the man­drel care­fully so as not to put any kinks into the loop.

* Once this was done I bent the remain­ing wire, at the end of loop, up. Doing this formed the top of the earring.

* The wire remain­ing from the small circle was then wrapped around the top wire. This formed the com­pleted teardrop shape.

 

Finished tear drop base

Finished tear drop shapes

*  The trick­i­est past thus far was ensur­ing that the set of loops were roughly the same size.

*  Now came the fun bit, select­ing some gor­geous stones to wrap around the outer part of the wire base. I choose to use 4mm beveled cut black onyx beads. They have a lovely shim­mer when the light hits them which I hope will add move­ment and sparkle.

 

Wrapping onyx beads

Wrapping the onyx beads

* I used a much thin­ner wire to wrap the onyx beads onto the wire base. Unfortunately I don’t know the size.

* It was very tricky and fiddly to affix the wire securely to the top of the ear­rings, but some patience and will­ing­ness to try a dif­fer­ent pos­i­tion or tech­nique helped me get a good result.

* I think I need to be a bit more eleg­ant with my wire work, as the wraps look too bulky for my taste. But it looks okay for a begin­ner I suppose.

 

Finished tear drop design

Finished tear drop design

* Once the onyx beads were on each base I made a focal design for each ear­ring using two dif­fer­ent shaped beveled onyx beads. These were looped onto the small circle at the top of the teardrop.

* The last step was to cre­ate a loop at the top of each ear­ring that will be used to attached to the ear­ring find­ing. NOTE: I haven’t made my own find­ings yet. I need to invest­ig­ate the best type of sil­ver to use and ensure I’ve got the right tools. It’s at the top of my Need To Learn list.

 

wire wrapped earrings

More exper­i­ments with wire

Overall I’m pretty darn happy with the teardrop design I cre­ated. It’s easy to repro­duce and has an easy eleg­ance about it. Since the exper­i­ment was so suc­cess­ful I cre­ated sev­eral smal­ler ver­sions that turned out equally as nice.

This type of wire work is so enjoy­able with quick res­ults and is a craft I intend to con­tinue. Perhaps a year from now I’ll have a more del­ic­ate hand when it comes to the fin­ish­ing tech­niques. Next up, cop­per wire. After that, once I’m a bit more con­fid­ent, I’ll brave using all sil­ver wire. Wish me luck!

Have you worked with sil­ver and/or cop­per wire? Do you have any advise on how to avoid mar­ring the wire when using your tools? I would greatly appre­ci­ate hear­ing your feed­back and exper­i­ence work­ing with wire. I’ve got a lot to learn and am eager to accel­er­ate my wire work learn­ing curve.

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One Response to Experiments with Wire

  1. Benjamin says:

    Great post, Misha, and great results.

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