Wednesday, 13 May 2020
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 ...
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
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.
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.
Repeat for the opposite side of the frame.
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.
To secure the frame, wrap one wire around the other,
keeping one projecting as the main stem.
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
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
*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!