Friday, 19 May 2017

GOLD FISH

Before I dive into the little fishy project that I've
prepared for you, I want to tell you about a few
other bits of flotsam and jetsam floating around
on my ocean bed ...






















 I'm currently creating pieces for an exhibition and sale,
that I partake in annually, for SOUTH EAST OPEN STUDIOS.
This is where artists in this area of Kent, open their own
studios (garages, sheds, spare rooms, conservatories, etc...)
to the public at large for the whole month of June.  I like
collaborating with a group of artists, which means we
can be open all the time, show a varied and exciting range
of work from painting, sculpture, textiles, glass, printmaking
and of course, jewellery, plus we all enjoy a natter with tea and
cake thrown in! So, please do drop in, if you're in the area ...

But, if you in the London area, I will be running a one day
WireWork Masterclass at the LONDON JEWELLERY SCHOOL
on Monday 26th June from 10am-4.30pm.
Bookings are NOW being taken and spaces are limited, so I urge
you to book as soon as you can!

If you miss this opportunity, I do also run WORKSHOPS from my
own studio in Kent, so all is not lost!

In the meantime, here's a little tutorial to keep your wireworking
fingers busy and active. You can scale it up as a piece of home
decor, or create it into a necklace or earrings ... I will leave your
imagination to it's own devices ...

STEP 1


















Depending on the size of the fish, cut a length of 0.8mm
wire - I used about 6"-15cm. Place your chain nosed pliers
just past the middle of the length and bend a kink. Re-position
the pliers next to the kink and bend back to form a 'v' indent.

STEP 2



















Hold your pliers on one side of the 'v' indent and bring the
wire back around, so that the ends cross over (to form the
fish's tail).

STEP 3











Spend a little time reshaping the frame with your fingers
and if one of the tail ends is longer than the other, trim with
your wire cutters if necessary.

STEP 4















Cut a short length of 0.4mm wire and use this to securely
bind the cross-over area of the tail. (Optional: Leave about 
an 1"-2.5cm of wire projecting on each side of the 0.4mm 
wrap ...).

STEP 5
















(Any leftover wire from the wrap, can be created into a small
spiral and flattened over the join.) Next, use your round nosed
pliers to form circles at the ends of the fish tail.

STEP 6














Keep spiralling the ends to form the tail. (Optional: Place the spiral 
curls on the edge of your steel block and hammer to flatten
and work harden.)

STEP 7















Working from your 0.8mm spool of wire, create an open spiral
which fits into the centre area of the fish frame. Securely bind the
spiral into the frame at the top and bottom, using 0.4mm wire.



STEP 8



















Once the spiral is secure and in place, cut off excess 0.8mm
wire, leaving just enough to create the 'eye'.

STEP 9












Using the tips of your round nosed pliers, curl the wire in
the opposite direction to the main 'body' spiral until it
touches the top of the frame, to form the 'eye'.

STEP 10




















Secure a small seed bead into the eye loop with a short length
of 0.4mm wire (or, you can glue one in place!).















And there you have it! One fish down! Create these as pendants and
experiment with different ways of decorating the central sections:

















Or, create a few more, to make a long statement necklace:




































Try it silver ... copper, or coloured wires! Here's one that I made earlier
in silver with matching earrings:




































Enjoy the fun of creating your own!
HAPPY WIRE -fish- MAKING

Saturday, 22 April 2017

CATS!

One of my passions is teaching wirework!
I think it's because wire is such a versatile material,
which means that I am always still learning and trying
to develop new designs and techniques. Through teaching,
I can share what I've learnt and evolve with new ideas...

Recently, I had the pleasure of teaching a lovely
South African lady called Alwine, who is currently living
in Switzerland. She flew over, having booked a weekend
workshop with me and shared her lifetime dream,
of one day ... setting up a Creative Retreat in Provence,
France, running jewellery classes! Such a wonderful
idea!

















We covered many different wire jewellery techniques
over the two days and amongst the designs she was
keen to create, was a CAT design.  Unfortunately, our time
ran out to fit that in, so I now dedicate this tutorial to:
Alwine!

CATS
After lots of experimentation (as shown above!), I decided that
the top right hand cat design had the most appeal.  The head is
created separately to the body, which means you can make
cat 'head' earrings and and if desired, attach a 'body' for a brooch
or pendant. The design also works well secured  onto a greetings
card, for any of your cat lover friends!

CAT Instructions




















1. I used approximately 6"-15cm of 0.8mm wire and placed
my round nosed pliers near to the centre of the length to
form 2 complete (eye) loops. Make sure the projecting wires
are straightened out on each side, angled in opposite directions.

2. Place flat nosed pliers next to the projecting wires (of the eye
loops) and bend back down on each side, to form the triangular
'ears'.

3. Place a cylindrical mandrel such as pen (I used my 8mm
bail maker pliers), under the 'eye' loops and curve the wire
around, back towards the top of the head to form the
'cheeks' on each side.

4. Place the tip of your round nosed pliers at the end of one of
the projecting wires and create a small link. Then, continue
to spiral the wire around this link until it's positioned at the
centre, forming the cat's 'nose'.

5. Thread the leftover projecting wire through the small central
link of the 'nose' spiral and form a second spiral (this one tight,
without a central hole).

6. Curl the spiral right up to the 'nose' (in step 4) and flatten it
over, so that both spirals sit on top of each other.

7. To form the 'whiskers', cut 3 lengths of 0.4mm wire (say about
2"-5cm each). For each length, thread the wire through the central
link of the 'nose' spiral (you might have to lift the flattened top
spiral to wiggle the wire through!). Secure the wire on each side
of the frame with a couple of wraps and then cut off any excess
and neaten the end.

8. Repeat the above, to create two more whiskers.

9. Using a dab of glue (E6000 is my favourite!) you can attach
seed beads, or flat back crystals over the 'eye' and 'nose' areas.
















Above, are some earrings I created for my young nieces.
The ones on the right, are the same as the tutorial.
(The other cat silhouette earrings are made out of one piece of
wire with the centre crystal beads wired on with 0.4mm wire.)

If you wish to create a body for the cat, here are a couple of
shape suggestions:




















Create a wire outline out of 0.8mm wire and secure to the
cat head, as shown.


If you wish to create a brooch with either design, I suggest that
you scrunch some 0.3mm wire and 'sew' this into the body
frame, so that the brooch pin finding cannot be seen.
























The outline below, is another shape option.
You could even wire stripes to it with 0.4mm and colour
them in for a card design, or, weave them in with 0.4mm wire.
I hope that Alwine's request for a CAT design has also given 
YOU some inspiration! It's not purrrrfect, however it
might trigger your own versions.

P.S. if you prefer to make a dog, you could always omit the whiskers!






Monday, 10 April 2017

EASTER CHICK

EASTER is celebrated in so many different ways around the
globe! So, however you like to celebrate, it's always nice to
be able to create a decoration, or a gift, to mark the event.

In the past, I have created projects for wire 'egg' baskets,
beaded egg pendants, rabbits, etc, etc... and to add to that repertoire,
here are some little wire CHICKS!

The kids, or grandchildren will love to get involved in this,
especially the pom-pom-making from the wire coils!

STEP 1
















Create 2 wire coils out of 0.4mm wire, each about
1"-2.5cm in length. You can use a Coiling Gizmo
for this, or a chunky knitting needle.

STEP 2










Stretch the coils out, retaining some curliwurliness!

STEP 3









Create a small circle at the ends of each length and begin
forming a small spiral around with the curly wire.

STEP 4












Wrap the rest of the curly wire around itself to form a
ball - just like you would bind a ball of string. You have now
created the 'head' and 'body' pom-pom for your chick!

STEP 5













To make the EYES and BEAK: choose 2 beads for
the eyes, cut about 3"-7.5cm of 0.4mm wire, plus
a short length of 0.8mm wire - which can be formed
into a 'V' shape. Hammer the very end of the 'V' shape
to work harden.

STEP 6















Using the tips of your round nosed pliers, create small
links at the very ends of the 'V' shape that sit at right 
angles to the 'V'.

STEP 7 















Take the 0.4mm wire (in Step 5) and loop it around one
of the links of the 'V'. Then pull it through tightly and
repeat through the second link.

STEP 8 
















With the wire threaded through both links, pull it tightly
and bend the projecting wires upwards (from the 'V'). 
Thread each projecting with an 'eye' bead.

STEP 9 


















Push the projecting wires (of the 'eye and beak' unit) into one
of the pom-poms and secure the ends within.

STEP 10 














To make the 'legs': place your flat nosed pliers at the centre
of a short length of 0.8mm wire and bend the ends down on 
either side. Place the unit on a steel block and hammer the ends 
until they spread and flatten out.  Cut about 4"-10cm of 0.4mm
wire and wrap one end around the centre of 'leg' unit, leaving
at least 3"-7.5cm protruding straight, in the opposite direction.

STEP 11  


















Push the protruding straight wire through the 'body' pom-pom, 
followed by the 'head' pom-pom, and finally a bead (of a similar 
colour to your wire).

STEP 12














Using your round nosed pliers, create a wrapped link at
the top end of the bead with the projecting wire

STEP 13





















To make the WINGS: you can use 2 rice shaped beads on
0.4mm wire, threaded vertically through the body pom-pom. 
(Alternatively, you can create beaded loops with small
seed beads on each side).

STEP 14 




















Secure and the second bead 'wing' on the opposite side
and adjust the shape and positioning.























Here's the Chick as an Easter Pendant!






















Or, you could create a pair of Easter Chick earrings!

Or, suspend them from ribbons as decorations!



You can also create the wire pom-poms of the 'head'
and 'body' by rolling fine, coloured wire into balls
within your hands!  As always, there are no rules
when it comes to creative wirework! Just use this idea
as inspiration and a stepping-stone to create your own
versions ...

Wishing you all a very
HAPPY EASTER!

Monday, 3 April 2017

DAFFODIL GREETINGS CARD




















I've always loved daffodils and with Spring in the air and
Easter just around the corner, I thought I would combine
both elements to design a motif for a greetings card!

Not only is the daffodil the national flower of Wales and 
the symbol of new beginnings and rebirth, but in various 
different cultures, it has similar uplifting meanings:

In China: it's the official symbol of their New Year and represents
wealth and good fortune.
In Japan: it's the symbol of joy and happiness.
In France: the sign of hope.
In Arabian countries: it is believed to be an aphrodisiac and cure
for baldness!
In the U.S.: it's the symbol for a 10th wedding anniversary and
the March birth flower.

So, clinging to that note of positivity, let's get the wire and the 
pliers out! :-)




















STEP 1: Working from a spool of 0.8mm wire, use the tips of
your round nosed pliers, to create a small, circular link. Then,
create 2 x rows of 7 (petal) loops (approximately 1"/2.5cm in height)
as shown above: one with larger petals (1) and one with smaller (2).
*I used my 8mm bail-maker plier mandrel for (1) and my
round nosed pliers for (2). Then cut from the spool, leaving a
small tail.























STEP 2: Gently tease and separate the petals out and they
will naturally form into a circular 'flower' shape. To secure the
frame: thread the cut end through the small link and connect
together.





















STEP 3: Working on the smaller petal frame (2), cut about
8"/20cm of 0.4mm wire and use this to bind around the centre
of the unit. Cut off any excess wire and neaten the ends.
















STEP 4: Flatten the binding wires at the centre and using your
fingers, lift the petals up to form a 'cup' shape (forming the trumpet-
like centre of the flower). The dapping head of the Whammer hammer 
is ideal for shaping and tapping down the central part of the unit.


STEP 5: Use the tips of your round nosed pliers to curve each
rounded end of the petals outwards, forming a turned 'lip at the
very ends.
















STEP 6: Take the larger petal frame (1) and shape each of
the petals. This is done by squeezing the very ends of the loops
with your flat nosed pliers (just enough to leave a small channel gap).
Then place your pliers within the gap of each loop and open them
up to spread and shape. Follow this with a little more manipulation
and adjustment of the wire to obtain an aesthetic petal-like shape.
Repeat for all the 7 petals ...


















STEP 7: Place the shaped petal unit on a steel block and hammer
the edges of the petals to work harden and slightly flatten.























STEP 8: Cut about 8"/20cm of 0.4mm wire and use this to
bind the centre of the unit together, wrapping it in between
the base of each of the petals.




















STEP 9: If you have left over 0.4mm wire from the wrapping,
use this to thread on a yellow bead into the centre of the unit or,
just add some more wire. Secure the bead in place and cut off any
excess wire and neaten the ends at the back.





















STEP 10: Cut about 12"/30cm of 0.8mm wire and secure one end
into the back of the flower. Initially, bring the wire down to form
the stem of the flower and back out, to shape one narrow leaf ...























STEP 11: Secure the wire around the base of the stem and
form another thin, narrow leaf on the opposite side.























STEP 12: Secure any excess wire back around the base of the
stem and create a spiral with the projecting wire, which can be
flattened over the wraps.

















STEP 13: To secure onto a piece of coloured card or paper,
use a couple of pieces of 0.4mm wire to connect to the top
and base of the flower, riveting and securing it through to the
back of the card with a slither of sticky tape.























STEP 14: Finally, use double-side tape to attach the card to
your main backing card and decorate as and where you wish!

You could also create the flower as a pendant on a chain
and fix it to the front of a card, making a unified gift/card, all
in one!
******************************************************
Below is a pendant version, in which I have woven 0.4mm 
wire into the petal spaces. (You could also fill the petals
with yellow seed beads!)

Or, why not create a hair grip decoration? The techniques are the 
same, just add your own flair and unique touch!




















I hope you get some flower-power inspiration from this
tutorial!
Happy WireWorking!!!
For workshops, classes, wirework inspiration for all levels, 
please contact:  
www.wirejewellery.co.uk