Wednesday, 13 May 2020

WIRE FEATHER























For this month's tutorial, I have chosen a feather motif.
In many cultures, it represents a connection to
spiritual realms: to divinity and to angels. And, because
of the association to birds, it is also seen as a symbol of
flight and freedom, not just physically, but also in a
mental sense. Now, that's definitely something that we
could all do with right now! Mental freedom to soar
and fly out of our quarantine worlds!

Native American jewellery designs often feature feather
motifs too. They represent the soaring eagle, its strength
and bravery. In their culture, eagle feathers are given as
tokens of honour and worn with dignity and pride.

So, with all of that depth and knowledge of its symbolism,
here's my WIRE FEATHER tutorial, that you can adapt to gift
or to wear ...

STEP 1



















Depending on the size of the feather you wish to create, (I used
about 6") cut a piece of 0.8mm, 20-gauge wire and fold it in
half. Use your flat nosed pliers to squeeze the fold together,
not completely double, but just so that you have a little bit of
a point.

STEP 2























Open the wires up so that they form a 'V' and create a zig-zag
bend using your flat (or chain nosed pliers) by initially bending
the wire in and then back out again.

STEP 3
























Place your flat nosed pliers just by the zig-zag and
straighten the angled wire, folding it up to form one side
of the outer edge of the feather frame.

STEP 4
























Repeat for the opposite side of the frame.

STEP 5
























Depending on the overall size, you can make as many
zig-zags or niches around the frame structure, before your bring
the ends together to meet at the top.

STEP 6
























To secure the frame, wrap one wire around the other,
keeping one projecting as the main stem.


STEP 7
























Once you are happy with the shape of the feather frame, place
it on a steel block and with the steel planishing head of your
hammer, flatten and spread only the outer edges, avoiding the
zig-zag areas.

STEP 8
























Measure another length of 0.8mm, 20-gauge wire and
check that there's enough to wrap around the top leaving
at least 1" (2.5cm) projecting, plus go down the centre
of the frame, leaving just enough excess for securing
around the pointed end. Attach to the top with a couple
of wraps.

STEP 9
























Secure the end in place around the tip of the frame
and cut off any excess and neaten the ends. Create
a spiral with the projecting wire at the top, which
can be flattened to hide the wrapped wire beneath.


STEP 10
























Snip a long length of 0.4mm wire and secure the centre of
this length around the top of the frame (underneath the
spiral). Begin weaving one of the wires back and forth, from
one side to the central spine, attaching it once around the
the frame or structure wires (as this will help it from slipping
down the frame).


STEP 11























If you wish to intersperse your piece with some semi-precious chip
beads, you can always thread them on, in between your weaving.
*Alternatively, you can fill by threading seed beads.

STEP 12
























Once you have woven one side of the frame, use the other
half of the 0.4mm wire to weave the opposite side, adding
beads if desired. Once you have filled the inner framework,
cut off any excess wire and neaten the ends.

STEP 13
























If the weaving wires look a bit messy and loose in some
areas, you can always "twist and tweak" them with the tips
of your chain nosed pliers.

STEP 14
























Now all that's left to do is to add another bead to the top
stem. Then, using your round nosed pliers, create a link
at the top of feather which can be attached to a chain, cord
or ribbon!

























*Optional: If you're using Copper or Sterling Silver wire and
wish to add a bit more contrast to your piece, you can always dip
it in Liver of Sulphur for blackening, followed by buffing it up
with fine wire wool or sand paper.
(Alternatively, if you don't have jewellery liver of sulphur to hand,
place your piece in a sealed picnic box with a hot, chopped hard boiled
egg and it should blacken in about15-20 minutes!).

























Here is another version of the feather design. You could say
it looks more leaf-like, but it's still a pleasing shape.

























I have created many versions over time with different coloured
beads and wires! So I am sure, you will have fun doing the same!

Stay Safe. Stay Well. Stay Creative!

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

BLOSSOM!

I am so grateful and lucky to be able to enjoy the
beautiful blossom on the trees on my daily local
'lockdown' walks! The overload of marshmallow pink
and white cherry blossom, the cutest lambs prancing
in the lush green fields, plus some stunning bluebell carpets!

And with that inspiration of nature's Springtime abundance
and growth, I was inspired to share this 'BLOSSOM' tutorial.
It's based on a wirework tiara technique and once you master
it (as I'm sure a lot of you already have!) it's also fun and
very therapeutic to use in many different jewellery designs.

























You will need some 0.4mm wire and whatever selection
of small beads you have to hand.  Let's start with a test
piece, a prototype, to get some practice. Following which,
you can then look at my other samples below to hopefully
inspire you to create your own unique pieces!

STEP 1


















Cut an arm's length of 0.4mm wire. Place your round nosed pliers
at the centre of the length and twist both wires together to create
a small circular link.

STEP 2













Keeping the wires in a 'V' shape, continue twisting to form a
stem of about 1cm.

STEP 3














Thread one of the wires with 3 small beads and form a loop,
bringing the wire back around to the end of the twisted stem.

STEP 4


















Grip the wires together on the stem and begin twisting the loop
of beads ...

STEP 5






















... continue twisting until the beads become tightly clustered
and the wire has rejoined the main twisted stem.

STEP 6


















From that point, twist both wires together for another 1cm and
repeat the steps above to create another cluster of beads.


STEP 7

















So, there you go! Repeat steps 3 to 5 to create your second
blossom branch!

STEP 8 (Beaded Leaf)






















If you wish to create a LEAF on the branch, thread one of the
wires with some small seed beads, ...

STEP 9





















Loop this beaded wire around, just as you did with the 3 beads.

STEP 10
















And as before, twist together, gripping the wires at the main stem
and the beaded loop will cluster together from a twisted stem.

STEP 11
















You can reshape the loopy leaf using your pliers and fingers, creating
a point at the tip and opening up the central area.

STEP 12

















If you have enough wire, continue creating more beaded blossom
or, beaded leaves until you are left with about 1cm of projecting
twisted stem.

STEP 13




















To add character to your branch, use the tips of your round nosed
pliers to twist and tweak the main stem and branches.

STEP 14





















Create any shaped frame out of 0.8mm wire and hammer to work
harden. It can be a teardrop, a circle or rectangle, etc...

STEP 15
Thread the top link of your blossom branch (that you made in Step 1),
through the top stem of your frame.

STEP 16




















Position the blossom branch at the centre of the frame and secure the
end wires of the twisted stem at the base, to secure in place.

























Well done! You have now successfully completed your first blossom
branch prototype exercise!

Below are some further examples of this technique to inspire
you with your own designs!













Above is a Pearly Brooch, created in the same way, but a bit
more tweaking was involved!






















Here are my Pink Blossom earrings in round wire frames.

























This tie cord necklace, has beaded leaves and the peach
pearls are threaded onto the twisted branch to add a bit
more pop and colour!

























And finally, above is a single twisted pearl necklace
plus some decorative hair grips, using a similar technique!

So you see, you can have endless 
therapeutic fun, during your
creative quarantine hours, 
twisting the night away!

Keep Safe. Keep Well. Keep Creative!
And if you don't like this tutorial, keep on eye on my regular
postings on my FACEBOOK page! Also, if you would like me
to do a specific theme or project for you, let me know and I
will post it in my next blog tutorial!


















Wednesday, 1 April 2020

EASTER PROJECTS

With Easter only 2 weeks away ...
in the 'normal world' I would be running workshops
with Easter themes and inspiration. So, with that in
mind, I wanted to share some of those projects with you,
which you can choose to make and schedule into your
creative time, now that we are all socially distanced
with hours to play!

I understand what a mental struggle it is to adjust to this
new confinement and adapt to conditions of crisis! But
escaping into creativity, making a simple wire decoration,
or a pair of hammered wire earrings, can provide you
with moments of respite! It cuts out the outside noise ...

These little bird nest earrings are a fun make, and could be
made as a pendant design. You fill find this project on an
older blog that I featured on 24th March 2018. Here's a link
to the BIRD NEST.

























Another fun project that I have previously featured is this little
basket pendant, which can fit one mini egg, or as above, I have
filled it with coloured wire caged beads. You can find this on
a previous blog, dated 3rd March 2016. Here's a link to the
BASKET.

























You can always crank the scale of the basket up in size and
weave some beads alongside the wires ...
























Or, create your own unique version (based on flower shape)!





















So, do sift back over my past Easter blogs... They will provide
plenty of wire inspiration to the days ahead!
The Daffodil card is there:
























Which could also be created as a decorative hair grip:





















And how about Bunny Earrings to wear on Easter Sunday?
























Talking of which, I am now going to share a simple bead and
wire project that could be done with the kids.
Here are my ALIEN BUNNY CHARMS!
They have been mutated by the virus and hence, you don't
have to worry that they look like Easter Bunnies!
All you need is 0.8mm (20-gauge wire) and 2 beads (one for
the 'head' and a larger one for the 'body'). Plus your usual
pliers (round, chain nosed and cutters) and if possible
a steel block and Whammer hammer!

























STEP 1





















Choose your 2 beads and some 0.8mm wire.

STEP 2 (EARS)















Bend the wire around your round nosed pliers to create the first
long 'ear'.

STEP 3


















As shown above ... Bend the wire back in the opposite direction.

STEP 4




















Now, form the second long 'ear (approximately the same height
as the first).

STEP 5





















Use the end of the wire to secure around the main stem, bringing
the 2 long 'ears' together.

STEP 6
























Place the end loops of the 'ears' on your steel block and hammer
to flatten, spread and work harden.

STEP 7 (ARMS)






















Cut another length of 0.8mm wire (say about 4"-10cm). Place
your round nosed pliers at the centre of the wire and wrap the
wire around to form a tiny circle.

STEP 8
























Depending on how loopy and long you wish the 'arms' to be,
bring the ends of the wire around your round nosed pliers,
back towards the central, tiny circle ...

STEP 9






















Secure the ends of the wire, next to the tiny central circle and cut
off any excess wire. Neaten the ends with the tips of your chain
nosed pliers.

STEP 10





















To toughen the unit, hammer the looped ends of the 'arms' on
a steel block with the steel end of your Whammer hammer.

STEP 11 (ASSEMBLE ALL UNITS)


















Now, you are ready to assemble all the units together! Begin, by
threading your smaller 'head' bead onto the main stem 'ear' wire.
Followed by the 'arms' unit, which is threaded through the tiny
central circle ... and finally, the larger 'body' bead.

STEP 12 (FEET)
























Push all the units tightly together and using your round nosed
pliers, form a 'foot' loop close to the 'body' bead.

STEP 13
















Wrap the wire around the top of the first 'foot' ready to form the
second one next to it.

STEP 14
























Secure the end of the wire around the top of the 'foot' loops
and cut off any excess. Neaten the end with the tips of your
chain nosed pliers.  Spend a little time, readjusting and
shaping the arms, ears and feet and with a permanent marker,
you can draw a little face on to the 'head' bead!

























These little bunny charms can be used to decorate your home:
(1) Hide them for a treasure hunt with your eggs. (2) Make them
to represent each member of the family! (3) Paint a twig white,
stick in a vase and suspend with these alien bunnies, chicks and
egg decorations! (4) Create them as keepsakes for a friend, or
family member who is 'fighting on the front line' and helping us
all to keep safe, as well as save lives!

























And if you have multicoloured seed beads to hand, these
little beaded egg decorations are also fun to make!

I will posting project videos on my FACEBOOK page
to keep you creatively motivated and inspired. And
if you have request for designs and questions about
wirework, do message me as I always happy to help
where I can!

Enjoy working on these Easter themes!