Monday, 23 April 2012
(Above: ABBY HOOK, wire artist extraordinaire!)
If I had a large drum ... (and you could hear it!) ... I would
give a big drum roll to this month's highly talented featured
She wraps, coils and weaves with stunning craftsmanship!
Find out more about Abby in our exclusive interview below.
Q. Tell us a little about your background?
A. I was born and raised in North London and now live at the foot of
the peak district in the beautiful Derbyshire dales. I have a love of
the outdoors and nature and spend many hours walking in the
spectacular British countryside. In my spare time I garden and grow
my own veggies, turning any glut of a crop into yummy jams and
chutneys. I also enjoy reading and listening to music, dancing my
way through the housework!
Ammonite Spirals Pendant in Sterling Silver by Abby Hook
Q. What brought you to creating and designing jewellery?
A. Jewellery making has always been my hobby. You know the
saying that "every problem is an opportunity in disguise", well
in 2009, we were due to move to Greece to work full time on a
conservation project. Unfortunately, 5 days before leaving the
U.K., having both left our full time jobs and selling most of our
belongings, the Greek economy collapsed, taking the project with
it. Although we were very distraught at the time, I knew that this
left me free to pursue a dream I had harboured for many years,
to start my own jewellery business! So that is exactly what I did.
I love what I do, it is not just a job to me - it is my life!
Aphroite - Garnet & Copper Pendant by Abby Hook
Q. Do you have any formal training, or are you self-taught?
A. I am self-taught. I have been making jewellery since I was
a child, starting with beadweaving, simple strung necklaces
and pendants. I then moved on to rosary chains and discovered
my love of wire. I then focused on this medium, developing my
style and have never looked back!
Jade Garden - Aventurine with tri-coloured Jade with Sterling Silver Necklace by Abby Hook
Q. What motivates and inspires your designs?
A. I am inspired by all sorts of things, for example, music,
film and architecture, but my main motivation is nature.
The natural world provides me with an endless source of
ideas, from pretty cloud formations, to the skeletal remains
of the previous year's leaves you can find in the Springtime!
Mermaids Teardrop Necklace with Labradorite & copper - by Abby Hook
Q. Have you got a favourite design and if so, why?
A. My favourite design to date is my Aquarius Vase. This
piece was extremely challenging to design due to the 3D
nature of its construction. I had a clear vision of what I
wanted to create and did not give up until I was holding
in my hand exactly what I saw in my head! I learnt so much
during the process, both about wire and about my own
The Water Carrier- Aquarius Vase Pendant by Abby Hook
Q. How do you promote and sell your work?
A. I work very hard promoting myself on-line, as this is
where I primarily sell my work. I do supply a couple of
shops with jewellery, but I find the direct interaction I have
with my customers on-line much more rewarding.
My websites are:
I also have a FACEBOOK fan page.
Trinity Knot Pendant in sterling silver by Abby Hook
Q. Do you teach your craft?
Yes. I have over 40 on-line TUTORIALS, available through
several sites including my own. These have very detailed
step-by-step instructions, covering both design and technique,
with clear, crisp, close up colour photography for each and
every step, leaving no room for guesswork. It is almost like
having me there with you!
Q. Tell us about your book called Wire Jewellery Masterclass?
A. The idea for writing this booked seemed to me like a natural progression
from the writing of individual tutorials. It allows me to place the various
skill levels in order, offering a starting platform for the complete novice
through to the more advanced levels, as well as giving ideas for more
experienced wireworkers to develop their existing abilities. The book offers
a step-by-step guide to getting started. There are 24 full projects, explained
in detail, with LOTS of close up colour photography for each step. The
designs range from easy right through to a very advanced 3D orchid design.
Also included in the book are 11 findings, ranging from ear wires and clasps
to brooch pins.
The book has been published by The Guild of Mastercraftsmen (GMC) who
have been a pleasure to work with!
It is available through
all the normal channels
(ONLINE and high street
bookstores) or you can
order a signed copy direct
from my own WEBSITE.
Q. Have you any special advice for other's starting out in jewellery
A. Decide what type of jewellery you would like to make and what
sort of materials you would like to use and learn as much as you
can about these. Perfect and practice each technique before moving
onto the next one. Don't expect to get things right first time, jewellery
making takes practice and determination! Learn from your mistakes,
work out what went wrong and why and put that lesson into practice
the next time you make it.
Above all else - ENJOY IT!
Copper 'dagger' Pendant by Abby Hook
Q. What are your future dreams and aspirations?
A. I would love to be able to offer live classes, so this is a long
term goal. In the meantime, I have been asked by many people
for book number 2, so I really need to start working on that!
We wish you every success with the book and feel sure
that you will continue inspiring and converting more
jewellers to the art of wirework and we're all looking
forward to plenty more publications from you in the
Thursday, 12 April 2012
Do you fancy a little feather tickling inspiration??
FEATHERS in jewellery seem to have flown
back into fashion - it's that tribal vibe!
In fact, in many primitive cultures, feathers
have been symbols of higher thought and
spiritual progression. This is derived from
the concept that birds were considered
divine creatures, because they were able to
fly skywards (to heaven) and therefore closer
to the gods.
Having said all that, I've been designing lots
of different jewellery pieces incorporating
feathers, especially a new exciting kit for
LONDON JEWELLERY SUPPLIES
who have a great selection of feathers on
Also, check out this FEATHER KIT,
which is unbelievable value!!
This can be a key ring
or, hand bag charm!
In the meantime, here's a project for making
some FLOATING FEATHER EARRINGS.
1. For EACH earring (and it can be very fashionable to just wear
one!), you will need 2 or 3 feathers, some semi-precious chip
beads of your choice, some 0.6mm & 0.8mm wire, some ready
made chain, and some fish-hook ear wires ...
2. If you're using 2 or 3 feathers for each earring, cut a tiny
slither of sticky tape to bind them all together at the tips.
(If the ends are very fluffy, you can always pull away these
whispy bits with your fingers to expose more of the quill ends).
Alternatively, you can use just one large plume ... it's
completely up to you!
3. Working from the end of spool of 0.6mm wire, create
an even coil (that will be large enough in diameter to
slide over the taped quill end of the feathers). Cut from
the spool leaving about 1" (2.5cm) projecting.
4. Place your round nosed pliers on the wire projecting
from the coil and curl back towards the top of the
coil, until it 'sits' at right angles on the top.
5. Push the taped quill end of the feathers through the
centre of the coil and squeeze (crimp) the last few ends
of the coil against the feathered stem to secure in place.
(You can also add a dab of Superglue for extra security!)
6. Now cut the chains into 2 portions - one approx. 2" (5cm)
and the other 2.5" (6.5cm) (These lengths are your personal
choice - if you're using longer feathers, cut longer chain lengths!).
Wire wrap the semi-precious chips with 0.4mm or 0.6mm wire and
attach to the chains at varying and random intervals with small
7. Attach 2 jump rings to the top link of the coiled wire
crimp holding the feathers.
8. Create your own ear wires, OR ... customise some ready made
fish-hooks, by unravelling the end link ... pulling off the silver
bead and re-threading with a semi-precious stone bead.
Use your round nosed pliers to recreate the end link.
9. Now all that's left to do is to connect the chains to
the top of the earring. I attached one directly to the
end link of the ear wire and the other, on the jump ring
connected to the feathers.
It's now ready
Or ... create a matching pair. Well, they'll never be exactly
the same, but that's the CHARM with anything handmade!
You can also create
this as a PENDANT.
Here's my festive 'Jubilee' themed idea with a red, blue
and white feathers!
HAVE FUN WITH FEATHERS!!
Use them in hairband fascinators
and hat pins, necklaces, on key rings
and bag charms, earrings, brooches
Tuesday, 3 April 2012
As an Easter Special ...
and following some requests,
here is my tutorial to create
your own little
So ... if you're comfortably seated
and you have to hand:
0.4mm & 0.8mm wire, selection
of beads for nest, ring mandrel, chunky
knitting needle (or Coiling Gizmo),
chasing hammer, round- and
chain-nosed pliers, plus some
wire cutters ...
We are ready to begin!
1. Working directly from a spool of 0.8mm wire, wrap
the wire approximately 4 times around your ring mandrel
and cut from the spool, leaving a projecting tail of about
7" (17.5cm) to 8" (20cm).
2. Using the tips of your chain nosed pliers, wrap the
cut end around the circular wire coils to secure as one.
3. Wrap the longer projecting wire tightly around all the
coils, binding the entire circular frame together in a very
4. Once all the wire has been used up and wrapped around
the coils, secure the end and neaten. Place the bound ring
back onto your ring mandrel and hammer until the ring
becomes work hardened and all the wires are compacted
together. Place aside.
5. To create the 'nest': wrap some 0.8mm wire around a
chunky knitting needle or use the large handle of a Coiling
Gizmo to make an even coil of approximately 2" (5cm).
6. Hold each end of the coil and ... p u l l ... stretching the
wire out until it is a long, wavy length (but don't flatten it!).
Beginning at one end, start making a circle with the curly
wire and then continue to wrap the rest of the wire around
this 'circle' so that the wire catches onto itself, to create a
7. Once you've wrapped all the wire around itself, push
the cut end into the 'pom-pom' and spend a little time
re-adjusting and squeezing the ball of wire with your fingers.
8. Place the 'pom-pom' of wire onto a flat steel stake or
hard surface and firmly holding the outer frame with
your fingers, hammer the centre with the 'ball' end of
your chasing hammer to create a recess within the wire
9. Cut approximately 6" (15cm) of 0.4mm wire and use this
to attach beads within the centre of the 'nest' frame - just like
sewing them in!
10. Once you've filled the nest with your chosen beads,
use the rest of the wire to attach it to the ring shank that
you created in steps 1-4. You can always cut and add
another length of 0.4mm wire for a firmer, more secure
binding, if you feel that the 'nest' requires extra security
on the front of the ring.
11. 'Et Voila'!! There's the finished ring ready
for wearing! ... but watch out for magpies!!
Experiment with this design with different coloured
wires and beads ...
Or, create it
as a pendant
HAVE FUN MAKING SOME NESTS OF
YOUR OWN and ENJOY A RELAXING
BREAK OVER THE EASTER WEEKEND!
EGGXELL YOURSELF WITH SOME