Wire wrapped jewelry pieces consist of the majority of my inventory, probably about 80% of all my pieces. Creating wire wrapped loops and connected them to one another is a fairly basic technique and fairly easy to master as well. I am always looking to learn new techniques to increase my expertise as a jewelry designer. However, I (not so humbly) thought that I was a fairly advanced in my jewelry making abilities for about a year or so. Then wire sculpturing came along and put me in my place.
For a while, I had kept an eye out for jewelry making classes near Harrisonburg. Michaels Arts and Craft store only had basic level classes. I had taken a wire wrapped cuff bracelet class at a fairly large beading store chain called Potomac Beads in Winchester last year. However, it takes well over an hour to travel there, not making it very convenient to regularly attend classes there. A few months ago though, I discovered a small independently run small bead store called “Generations Creations” operated in New Market, only twenty minutes away from my apartment. A woman named Pat held wire sculpturing classes every Saturday ranging from advanced beginner level or advanced level.
Very quickly, Pat taught me the difference between wire wrapped and wire sculpturing. Wire wrapped jewelry pieces mainly consist of wrapping wire loops together. Wire sculpturing does contain some wire wrapped techniques. However, it requires much more precise measuring of the wire, manipulating the wire with both your hands AND pliers, twisting the wire and connecting completely separate pieces of wire together. It was a bit overwhelming at first, but thankfully Pat, with her 40+ years of wire jewelry experience helped guide me make two pendants in two separate classes.
The first pendant is called a “Julia” pendant. It involved twisting wire, by using a drill and carefully connecting the two halves of the pendant with thin wire pieces. I used a lapis lazuli dyed gemstone as the centerpiece of this pendant, with air blue opal Swarovski crystals to accent it. At times, I felt like Pat did most of the work, but towards the end of the project, I worked more independently on it. I was fairly satisfied with the result, but the bottom half is not very tightly wrapped, making it swing out. Fortunately, you can not tell that error in this photo :)
For the second pendant, I used a polished labradorite cabochon and completely encased it in wire, as cabochons do not have holes drilled in them. This particular pendant required VERY precise measuring of the wire pieces and where to connect the wire together. Otherwise the cabochon could fall out of the wire, if not properly wrapped. For this pendant, I was definitely more confident and able to work more independently than the previous pendant. (Although I certainly was not going to reject advice and helpful suggestions from Pat!) It turned out splendidly and I was very pleased with the finished product, especially since labradorite is one of my favorite gemstones.
I hope to take more classes in the near future and continue to expand my repertoire!