Thursday, 18 March 2010

The WireWorkers Guild

At last my wirey cage is being rattled and I have been asked for some advice, the first question is all about purchasing W I R E and what type to buy. As it's such a commonly asked question, I wanted to share it with you:


S O F T wire is obviously the easiest to manipulate and therefore good to use on all projects, such as threading beads and creating jewellery pieces that require many processes, as each manipulation will toughen or 'temper' the wire to a certain degree. To strengthen it when creating clasps and open-wirework shapes, you can hammer it on a steel block (to work-harden). To toughen up your jump-rings, just wiggle the cut ends backwards and forwards just past each other, so that when they sit together you have work-hardened them and created tension.

HALF-HARD is good for creating pieces that don't require much manipulation and can be used for creating your own jump-rings and this will ensure that your links are tough and functional so that they don't fall apart. It is also good for threading heavy or large beads, as well as creating simple clasps that need to be strong.

HARD, as the name suggests, is tough and not as easy to manipulate and I personally would not recommend it for creating jewellery!

Therefore, to summarise, I would personally recommend purchasing
S O F T wire for ALL your projects. It will be kind to the hands and you can toughen or work-harden it by either: hammering, twisting, wiggling or burnishing it (stroking it with a smooth, steel tool).

I personally use 0.8mm silver-plated copper wire for general jewellery making. See:

The next item is about creating CLASPS and
TOGGLE CLASPS in particular. Of course these can be purchased from most bead suppliers and there is a wonderful range of shapes and styles to choose from... However, they often don't blend well with the rest of your piece, so it's best to create your own. This ensures your clasp becomes integrated and the design completely unified as a whole.

TOGGLE CLASPS are definitely the best fastener to create for a handmade bracelet and below are a couple of very simple designs you can create out of 0.8mm (20-gauge) wire: one is hammered and the other has spiralled ends. If you would like a project sheet on how to create these Toggle designs, please don't hesitate to email me at: and I will forward a project sheet by email attachment.


This was another recently raised question - advice on how to photograph your own jewellery?
I'm definitely not the best person to ask, as I don't even have a camera! I use my flat-bed scanner for most small pieces and manipulate the resolution and shading on the programme software. When it comes to larger, more bulky items, I can un-hinge the lid of my scanner and I place an adapted 'shoe' box over the scanner base which has a white interior lining and scan direct to my hard-drive. It's definitely not the perfect solution - but just for reference purposes, it is perfectly adequate!
When I have had to use a camera, my son has helped me out. He has created temporary 'tent' constructions out of white card, mounting his camera on a tripod. I asked him for his advice for this blog and these are his recommendations:
1. Always use a tripod for jewellery photography to prevent any hand wobble.
2. Use natural daylight or soft diffused light (put a cloth over a lamp) and don't use flash - as this will cause harsh, distracting shadows.
3. Create a 'light tent' (these can be purchased and look like minature igloos!) or you can construct a white carded cubicle around the piece or pieces you are 'shooting' to reduce glare and control shadows.
4. Place the jewellery on a white or clear acrylic platform. This can provide a soft reflection and the elevation will also help eliminate any large shadows below the jewellery.
If anyone can help with further advice on photography "do's and dont's", please email your experiences to so that we can share them on the blog!


  1. I stumbled on this site just now, I was reading Linda's interview on Beads Direct. I am so chuffed!!

    Linda, you inspired to get into wire work, I have got your books and DVD. I am now an accomplished wire jewellery artist thanks to you.

  2. Hi Dee

    What a wonderful thing to say! You must look out for my latest book coming out this July 'Making Beautiful Bead & Wire Jewellery' ... I will keep the blog posted and provide you with some sneaky insights soon ...
    Keep up the artistic work - I am sure you are now inspiring people around you!

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