Wirework Trends with Wire Expert Denise Peck

Jean Campbell is the senior editor of Beadwork and a
contributing editor to Beading Daily

There are artists I know who are technical geniuses. Others knock me out creatively. And yet others are great teachers. But there are a handful of artists who combine all of those traits. Denise Peck, editor of Step by Step Wire Jewelry magazine, is one of those few artists who have it all. 

With her metalsmithing background and Viking knit, soldering, and wire-fusing specialties, Denise brings a unique expertise to the wireworking field. She's a frequent face on the teaching circuit, too, at events like Bead Fest and by invitation at bead shops. Denise not only shares her tips and techniques in class, though. She is featured in three how-to DVDs and is the author of Wire Style and 101 Wire Earrings, two best-selling books.

Lucky for us, Denise has finished yet another book, Wire Style 2. It's a wonderful sequel to her first offering, filled with 45 projects (and a DVD!) that range from beginning to advanced and are jam-packed with creative inspiration. Lucky for me, I got to chat with Denise a bit about her creative journey, her wireworking heroes, and her thoughts about what's on the radar for wireworking trends:

Q: Can you name the day you first fell in love with wire?

A: That’s a funny story actually. I’m a metalsmith and was working for Lapidary Journal when I became editor of Step by Step Wire Jewelry in 2004. I had never specifically focused on making jewelry with wire. But I had to learn very quickly and discovered the broad range of beautiful jewelry designs that were possible using just wire!

A charm bracelet by Connie Fox was on the cover of the very first issue of Step by Step Wire Jewelry. She’d made about a dozen different charms from wire, along with the wire links of the bracelet. I was hooked instantly by that project!

Q: Who are your wireworking heroes? Why do they inspire you?

A:  Connie is definitely one of my heroes (Connie's bracelet "Over The Moon" from Wire Style 2 is pictured at left). Her work is constantly evolving because she continues to learn and grow her jewelry skills. Some of my other favorite wire jewelry designers are Rina Young, Randi Chervitz, and Biba Schutz. Their jewelry had long held a fascination for me, even before I worked on Step by Step Wire Jewelry. Now I look at it in a whole different light. I see how they’ve pushed the boundaries of jewelry making and manipulated wire into astonishing, unexpected pieces of jewelry that really delight me!

Q: Your book, Wire Style 2 is fantastic! How in the world did you choose among all those great designers and their projects (like these great earrings by Lisa Niven Kelly)? Specifically, what kind of pieces were you looking for when you put the book together?

A: Thank you! I knew I wanted to offer some new directions in Wire Style 2. I’m lucky that wire is so incredibly versatile, because it wasn’t difficult to find pieces that were really different from what I offered in my first book. Plus, being the editor of a wire-jewelry magazine gives me access to so many wonderful designers.

Q: Wire Style 2 is obviously the second in a series. How is this one different from Wire Style?

A: Well, just like fashion, jewelry styles change. I watch that evolution closely in the marketplace and try to reflect it in both the magazine and in my books. So Wire Style 2 offers some of the most popular styles, and techniques, right now!

Q: What new materials should we keep an eye out for to add to our stashes?

A: Because of the high cost of silver, lots of alternative materials have become available to jewelry artists. You’ve seen copper and brass wire become au courant in the past few years. And brightly colored inexpensive aluminum wire is becoming more readily available. The latest thing I’ve seen that I must get my hands on is wire that is wrapped with thread! Reminiscent of wired ribbon, you can add both beautiful color and texture to your wire pieces with this delightful new wire!

Q: What type of wire have you been using most these days? Why?

A: I continue to use sterling as much as I can because I am a sucker for the oxidized look you get from liver of sulfur. I’ve been asking manufacturers to please make me a silver craft wire (copper with a silver coating) that can be oxidized! I’d buy that up by the pound!

Thanks for continually inspiring us, Denise! I, for one, am excited to dig into all these gorgeous projects in Wire Style 2.

Happy beading-

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