Mixed-Media Wire Jewelry Design: Bird on a Wire by Rochelle Nation

It's time for another great project from the Nunn Design Creative Team! This one, from Rochelle Nation, employs not only wire but also fun mixed-media jewelry-making materials such as epoxy clay, paper transfers, rubber stamps and ink, and gilder's paste. Lots of fun techniques in this project! Enjoy!

Bird on a Wire by Rochelle Nation

Bird on a Wire
by Rochelle Nation

I am a necklace fiend with a vast collection. If I'm not wearing a necklace, I feel out of sorts, like something is missing. I particularly love wearing necklaces that make a statement. I find myself drawn to pieces that are big, bold, and interesting. Don't get me wrong, there's a time and a place for dainty designs, but for me, I feel most at home with the bigger, the better concept.

As a jewelry artist, I am always on the hunt for new products to use in fabricating interesting creations. I found epoxy clay to be a versatile medium that can add dimension, texture, and excitement to many jewelry-making designs. 

Read on to see how easy it is to make an eye-catching pendant using resin clay, stamps, paint, and copper wire.

Materials:

resin clay
decorative transfer
copper chain
16g and 20g copper wire
copper jump rings
rubber stamp and StazOn ink
gilder's paste
sealant
flush cutter
hammer
bench block
chain- and round-nose pliers
X-Acto knife
Teflon mat
acrylic roller
coffee straw
liver of sulfur
tissue blade
sanding file
playing cards

Steps:

1. Wearing vinyl gloves, knead together equal amounts of Part A and Part B of the resin clay until the clay is uniform in color.

2. Roll the clay flat on a Teflon mat, to the thickness of about eight cards.

3. Cut out a rectangle shape using a tissue blade. Gently lift your rectangle and lay it on top of your favorite rubber stamp. Using a roller, gently press the clay into the rubber stamp design.

4. Place the stamped rectangle on a Teflon mat (stamped side down) and punch out an even number of holes at the top and bottom of the rectangle using a coffee straw.

 

5. Cut out your desired transfer and gently press onto the non-stamped side of the rectangle. Allow this piece to rest/cure overnight.

6. Once your piece has fully cured, use an X-Acto knife to carve and shape the edges of your piece to add detail and decoration. Sand edges as needed.

7. Using a brown ink pad, apply color to the front and back of your piece.

8. Add additional depth by using black Gilder's Paste as an accent color. Seal both sides of the pendant with sealant and let dry.

9. Shape a rectangular 16-gauge copper wire frame to fit around your resin clay piece. Wrap with 20-gauge copper wire to secure the loose ends together. Add patina to wire, if so desired, by soaking copper in liver of sulfur. Using 20-gauge wire, make three wraps at the base of the frame and then thread the wire through the first hole in your resin clay creation.

10. Make three wraps again around the base of the frame and thread wire through the next hole. Repeat the process for the remaining holes and on the opposite side.

11. Cut two 9-inch (or longer if desired) lengths of copper chain and attach each one to the copper frame with large jump rings. Add a jump ring to the opposite ends of the chain.

12. Using 3 inches of 16-gauge copper wire, form, wrap, and hammer a hook clasp. Attach this clasp to one of the jump rings.

Imagine all the other ways you could make Rochelle's project! The transfer clay piece in the wire frame looks like a quilt to me, and it kind of reminds me of the art made out of boat sails. Many ways to personalize this project by simply choosing different transfers!

 

I love the extra little oomph that the simple wire-wrapped coils on the frame add to this design. I'm always a fan of wire coils, loops, and spirals! If you are, too, find ten more ways to add them to your wire jewelry projects in our new Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry eBook, 10 Projects with Wire Charms, Dangles and Links. If you'd like to learn more ways to frame art, stones, or other mixed-media objects with wire, check out 10 Bezel Projects for Cabochons.

Resources:
white Crystal Clay two-part epoxy clay kit, small copper hammered flat cable chain, large copper jump rings, nature transfer sheet, sealant: all from NunnDesign.com
20- and 16-gauge copper wire: Metalliferous.com
X-Acto knife, rubber stamps, brown StazOn ink: Michaels.com
black gilder's paste: Baroque Art Gilder's Paste
Teflon mat, acrylic roller, sanding file, tissue blade, liver of sulfur, clay thickness cards: CoolTools.com

About the artist:
Rochelle Nation is a jewelry artist and instructor who sells her work at various art shows throughout Georgia and online at RochelleNation.com. She teaches jewelry-making classes at the Spruill Art Center in Dunwoody, GA, and at the Johns Creek Arts Center in Johns Creek, GA. To see more of her work, check out the Rochelle Nation Jewelry blog or connect with Rochelle Nation Jewelry on Facebook.

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