Wrapping, Coiling, Knitting: Define Your Wire-Jewelry Style

 

Connie Fox's Life's A Charm bracelet was the
cover project for the 2009 Best of Step by
Step Wire Jewelry.

When I first began concentrating on using wire for jewelry making, my primary inspiration was the beautiful work of wire master Connie Fox. Her designs were primitive, organic, rustic, and, on the whole, fairly simple wire shapes. Her jewelry was far from simplistic, however. Her wonderfully complex wire charm bracelet graced the cover of the very first issue of Step by Step Wire Jewelry, in 2005. It's a whole lot of technique in one stunning piece.

 
Dale "Cougar" Armstrong's Gem Drop earrings
are a great example of classic wire wrapping.

 

When I had to start filling the pages of Step by Step Wire Jewelry with projects, though, I realized there are a number of distinct styles of wire jewelry, each with a beauty all its own. I try to include projects of each these wire-jewelry techniques in every issue, so you can choose your own favorites!

Wire Wrapping

Classic wire wrap uses primarily square wire, with half-round wire to secure bundles of stacked square wire. These stacked bundles serve as bezels, enabling you to showcase beautiful stone or glass cabochons. Wire master Dale "Cougar" Armstrong specializes in classic wire-wrap designs, using beautiful hand-cut stones from her large personal collection.

 
Lauren Anderson's Cool Summer Breezes
earrings feature chain-maille techniques.

Chain Maille

Chain maille (chain mail) is made entirely from jump rings, which, of course, are made from wire. Chain-maille jewelry is orderly and mathematical. You can use small sections of it as earrings or pendants; or you can weave large fabric-like pieces for bibs or cuffs. And whether you make your own jump rings or buy them ready-made, they come in all different kinds of wire: aluminum, sterling, niobium, and copper, to name a few.

Wire Knitting and Wire Crochet

Knitting and crocheting with wire is another technique that produces a number of distinct looks. Use a spool-knitting tool to create tubes of knit wire. Enclose beads or pearls in pillows or pouches of knit wire. Or, crochet freehand to make beads out of wire or necklaces with beads incorporated right into the stitches.

 
Jodi Bombardier’s Swan Earrings were created
using wire-weaving techniques.
 

Wire Weaving

At the moment, my favorite wire style is weaving. I am drawn to the gorgeous woven jewelry of wire masters Jodi Bombardier and Mary Hettmansperger. You can use wire to weave just as basketmakers use fibers and organic materials. Jodi's designs weave very fine wire around larger core wires to make rings, cuffs, and other designs that are intricate yet substantial. I just love the look of those woven wires, especially when they're oxidized to really bring out the detail.

Weave, Wrap, Coil

Whether you love the look of woven wire already or are new to the concept, check out Jodi Bombardier's timeless book, Weave Wrap Coil: Creating Artisan Wire Jewelry. Jodi shares her techniques, step by step, in a collection of some of her most beautiful jewelry designs. If woven wire isn't your current fave, I predict it will be when you see Jodi's jewelry!

So what's your wire-jewelry style? Are you a wire wrapper, wire weaver, wire knitter? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.