Sunday, 28 February 2016

Exuberant Wirework

If there was a collective noun for a group of wirework pieces I think it would have to be 'an exuberance'. That's how I've felt whilst making my 'Spring Promise' piece. The central section is now done so I have a little quiet pause now whilst I design the sides and back. It's interesting to note how much planning can go into a piece that appears very freeform, I have found that this is the way that works for me, once I know what I am aiming at I make the moves with the wire quickly. I often lay the completed element on paper and sketch out the next steps - as pictured below. It's a mix of mad activity and meditation!

I love the little amethyst round beads and still have some of the yellow jade ones so I will add a wrapped loop to each. This will enable me to use them in the chain to help unify it to the centrepiece. Some larger oblong yellow glass will be wrapped in a twirl of silver. The serpentine centrepiece is certainly vibrant amongst the mauve beads and wirework, it is said to have detoxifying properties, and ensures longevity, just the sort of stone to include in a piece inspired by spring. This piece has been reserved already, which makes the process of making it even more energised!

Monday, 22 February 2016

Spring Promise

The walk to the post office had a double purpose this morning. The Meadow Stream necklace went off to a new home, which was a lovely start to the new week. On the way back we pass a long avenue of trees, at the end of which is the most glorious mass of crocuses, in mauves and yellows. As soon as we got home I got out the sketchbook and paints to make some notes, before ferreting about amongst the beads to pick out all the pretty things to weave into it.

I'd already decided to use a triangular piece of serpentine for the centrepiece, to this I have added peridot, amethyst and yellow jade as well as lots of lovely glass beads in yellows and purples. Spent some time getting the wrap just right around the serpentine triangle, usually takes a couple of goes, before the fingers achieve what my imagination has envisaged. Looks like it will be an enjoyable and creative week ahead!

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Hinges and joins in wirework

I like puzzling out how to join elements together. A moving join can help to add flexibility and movement to a collar style piece of jewellery. In this case I decided to create two different kinds of hinge. Wirework is a wonderful technique for increasing your mental agility. You have to think in several directions at once and, a bit like a snooker player, several moves ahead. It may be that the central dumortierite stone helped to play a part, as it is said to aid in problem solving by allowing you to visualise all sides of the problem and come to a solution. It is known as 'The Patience Stone' so is a perfect stone for anybody involved with crafts!

The antique patina has added depth and softened the colour of the copper wire. I like using liver of sulphur, feeling a bit like an alchemist watching the piece change magically beneath the water. When you first do it it's a bit daunting, as the piece looks black when you take it out. I always put the piece straight into my barrel tumbler, and tumble it for 30 minutes with fine steel shot and a teaspoon of barrelbrite. The piece gets polished and work hardened and comes out with lovely highlights. Tumbling just leaves me with the minimum amount of final hand finishing to do - and it also imposes it's own quality control, as I know if I can tumble it with steel shot for half an hour it will stand the rigours of everyday wear.

I've been thinking of getting one of these jewellery neck stands for a while, but I didn't like the ones in plastic. Then I came across this one covered in natural linen and knew it would look right with my wire wrapped pieces. I think it can help to give a sense of scale to include a picture of the jewellery hanging as it would on the wearer. This piece has a buyer already, which I am thrilled about. After a quick tidy up of my workspace it will be out with the beads and sketchbook again.

We've been out in the garden this week clearing dead leaves and revealing new pale green shoots and flowers of the year - tiny grape hyacinths, crocuses, snowdrops and daffodils. I'm thinking of something in the colour of crocuses. Purples and yellows are lovely together and I have a wonderful little greenish yellow slab of polished serpentine waiting to be wrought into something beautiful, elfin and meaningful.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Organic wirework - going with the flow

My 'Meadow Stream' necklace is well under way. I've kept true to my original vision and the wire meanders through the design. I will be adding sterling silver highlights when the copper framework is in place. Once finished the piece will be given a patina with liver of sulphur and I will buff out the highlights.

Wirewrapping is a technique I truly love, it combines my passions for shape and texture. When I attended silversmithing classes I had the opportunity to explore lots of different techniques, and I realised early on that I was never going to lose my love of beautifully coloured beads. Wirewrapping is a wonderful way to introduce colour into metalwork.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Wiggle room

My workspace is covered with little wiggles and curlicues of wire this afternoon. I mentioned in my last post that I was planning a necklace with a piece of dumortierite as the central stone. After some doodles in my sketchbook to help me sort out my initial thoughts about shapes and colours, I took my copper wire and made the base shape. The first two attempts were discarded as I worked out where I wanted the wavy lines to cross the stone. It often takes me a couple of goes before I'm happy with the arrangement.

Now I have the base shape done the fun ramps up a gear as the beads are wrapped and woven in with finer copper wire and also some sterling silver to add contrast. I love copper and silver together. When the finished piece is oxidised and the silver is polished up the contrast between the two metals is pleasing. The pastel shades in the beads I've chosen should look lovely with the darker blue and copper. I'm also putting some sodalite semi precious beads into it.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Sirocco necklace

It's always a lovely feeling when a piece is finished. This one took a bit longer than planned, as I decided to fashion those little carnelian bead links right to the back of the necklace. After all, I had a bowl full of the lovely little beads and it feels so good to be generous with my time and materials. Hope the warmth of feeling magically transfers into the necklace!

I already have a pile of new beads sitting on my bench. A piece of dumortierite which is dark blue, and some sodalite beads, also blue are ready to be fashioned into something with the feel of of the sea about it. As always I will start with some sketches so I know roughly what shapes I'm aiming at.