Editors’ Picks: 5 Favorite Wire Jewelry Making Books

Wire is a staple for any metalsmith, but some jewelry makers specialize in working with wire. It can require few tools and be simple to use. It can also be cut, bent, and finished into wire jewelry that is both simple and complex. I asked for a favorite book about wire working for jewelry makers from editors in the Interweave Jewelry Group, and here are our selections.

Handmade wire findings, from Handcrafted Wire Findings

The Missing Link by Cindy Wimmer and Fine Art Weaving by Sarah Thompson

Kerry Bogert is Editorial Director of Interweave Books and an accomplished wire jeweler. She was so excited about this opportunity she couldn’t pick just one book! Kerry says:

“When it comes to wire jewelry books it’s really difficult for me to pick favorites. I think it might be easier to pick a favorite child. I can find something to love in every wire book on the Interweave list! But if you twist my wrist, my number one favorite is The Missing Link by Cindy Wimmer, with Fine Art Wire Weaving by Sarah Thompson as a close second.

“In The Missing Link, Cindy walks you step-by-step through creating 30 unique wirework links. Each one has personality, charm, and, most importantly, versatility. You can use the links to make earrings, bracelets, or necklaces; use them on their own or paired in different combinations for one-of-a-kind results; or use them as the spring board to your own link designs. If you’re at a loss for just how to use a particular link, you can find many of them used in the 15 inspired jewelry designs included in the book. As you flip through the pages of The Missing Link, I think it’s clear to see why it’s been a best seller for years!

 

Fine Art Wire Weaving is like a master class for the wire weaver. Sarah’s work is nothing short of spectacular! And you don’t have to take my word for it, she took Best in Show in the Bead Dreams competition in 2014. The techniques used to create those award-winning designs are the same ones Sarah shares in Fine Art Wire Weaving. With basic weaves, patience, and Sarah’s guidance, you’ll be able to create 20 beautiful pieces of jewelry and learn the foundation to designing your own original creations.”


Wire Style 2 by Denise Peck

Karla Rosenbusch is Managing Editor of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist and The Tucson Show Guide. Karla says:

“For anyone who wants to get started making wire jewelry — or who is already a wire artist and is just looking for inspiration — Wire Style 2 fits the bill. Written by the editor of Step by Step Wire Jewelry, Denise Peck, the book gives you all the info you need — wire basics, the necessary tools, the essential techniques, and resources for finding wire materials and supplies. I particularly love the chart of wire gauges. It shows you exactly how large each gauge is whether you’re using round, half-round, or square wire. Very useful!

“But the bulk of the book is devoted to more than 45 spectacular wire projects at all skill levels — beginner to advanced. I’ve used a lot of these projects as inspiration for my own designs. As a big fan of wire spirals, I especially like Cindy Wimmer’s Encircled Bracelet project. But there are so many projects in the book that you’ll definitely find your favorite — or favorites — among them.”


Artisan Filigree by Jodi Bombardier

Long-time editor of Jewelry Making Daily and now our Social Media Manager, Tammy Jones loves finding new ways for making wire jewelry. Here’s what she has to say:

“If you love wirework, you’re probably always on the prowl for more and more ways to use wire for jewelry making, right? That’s one of the reasons I appreciate Artisan Filigree, by Jodi Bombardier. Jodi’s inspiring wire jewelry-making projects alone are enough to make this book a favorite book. But I also love that the projects show different ways to use wire, such as wire bezels for pendants and rings, out-of-the-ordinary bails, bracelet links, and clasps. Her pairing of heavy-gauge wire frames with fine wire details creates depth and interest in her designs. Plus the smaller elements that make up her projects are perfect for using wire scraps. So much to love in this beautiful book!”


Handcrafted Wire Findings: Techniques and Designs for Custom Jewelry Components by Denise Peck and Jane Dickerson

As for myself, I’m drawn to the finishing touches that wire can add to a piece of jewelry made from anything. Some of the first things I spot in jewelry as I walk through a craft show are the functional elements. That’s because the details make all the difference, and in jewelry designs, some of the most important details are the findings.

Used to connect parts and sometimes allow them to open and close again, findings first are parts that must do their jobs well. But they are also visible much of the time, and it’s a mistake not to give their appearance within a design the same thought you give to all the other components in it. A beautiful finding can even be the focus of your piece — like a hefty, hand-hammered toggle — while a big, round, shiny, manufactured spring ring can stick out like a sore thumb amid your delicate tendrils of patinated wire.

Denise Peck and Jane Dickerson understand the importance of both the functionality and aesthetics of findings. In Handcrafted Wire Findings: Techniques and Designs for Custom Jewelry Components, they show you how to make eight kinds of ear wires, 10 types of links, and more than a dozen different hook and toggle clasps. Throughout this book, the instructions are clear, illustrated, well laid out, and the examples are beautifully photographed. The basics of wire types, tools, and techniques are also included, with helpful information from forming to finishing as well.

Along with improving your jewelry designs, making your own findings can also save you time and money. What are you waiting for?

Merle White is Editor-in-Chief of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist and Editorial Director for the Interweave Jewelry Group.


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