Wirework for Metalsmiths: Favorite Projects You'll Love

Tammy Jones editor Jewelry Making Daily  
Tammy Jones is the
editor of Jewelry Making Daily.

After spending some time with wire manufacturers and wireworkers in Tucson last week, including my lovely and talented coworker Denise Peck, editor of Step by Step Wire Jewelry, and I have to say that my progression to wire enthusiast is right on track! I played with copper-core silver wire that looks, feels, and behaves like sterling wire but is a little easier on the wallet; I discovered surprisingly sturdy knitted wire with a lovely drape and just-right heft; and I tested hammers and metal stamps that make me eager to get back to my bench.

 

The more I played with wire and wirework tools, the more I realized how appealing it could be to a metalsmith–and how easy it is to achieve hints of metalsmithing designs with wire techniques. Though wirework doesn't require as many tools as metalsmithing, there are opportunities in wire jewelry-making to use cool metalsmithing tools such as hammers, torches, files, tumblers, mandrels, and metal stamps when working with wire, if you want to. It's a great transition skill, and some projects blend wire and metal techniques so well, it's hard to tell which jewelry-making category a design might fit into.

So after playing with wire in Tucson, all I needed was some inspiration. Serendipity! Denise's Wire Style 2 was waiting on me when I got home from Tucson, full of wirework inspiration that speaks to a metalwork enthusiast like me. Naturally the book has plenty of wire jewelry projects, but it has enough hammering, oxidizing and patinating, and torching to entice metalsmiths as well. Here are some of my favorite wirework projects from the book that have a metalsmithing feel.

 

    

Connie Fox's La Femme Brooch
This simple wire-circles pin project has the sleek look of a metalsmith's design in a jewelry gallery. The simple lines and yellow-gold accents give it modern and sophisticated style.

Cindy Wimmer's Going in Circles Bracelet
A wire project seemingly made for metal lovers, this bracelet mixes any metals and textures you like. Adding texture and pattern to metal discs and washers results in a jingly charm bracelet.

    

Donna Spadafore's Budding Ring
I think everyone in the country is craving spring right now, and the hammered ends on this wire ring look just like flowering tree buds. I love the look of the hammered wire.

Lorelei Eurto's Wire Cuff
The rustic bent-wire shapes and metal tube beads give this cuff a metalsmithing look-and-feel to me, but one that's achieved with simple wireworking techniques.

    

Connie Fox's Over the Moon Bracelet
Over the moon for metal, that is, and ideal for metalsmiths: "Wire, sheet metal, scrap metal, rusty metal," Denise says, ". . . metal enthusiasts, this project will give you practice in the fine art of flattening wire."

Lorelei Eurto's Rustic Globes Earrings
Random free-form swirls of wire, lampwork glass (or other) beads, and hammered ends come together quickly and easily to form these modern, stylish earrings.

So whether you're a metalsmith with an interest in wire (like me) or a wire jewelry maker wanting to branch out into metalsmithing, Wire Style 2 is a perfect crossover book with forty-five projects to inspire and instruct you. Get yours and join me as I bridge wirework and metalsmith jewelry making!

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