Tuesday, 18 July 2017


Are you heading off for a summer break? It could be
exotic, tropical, or local ... Wherever you go, look out
for pretty pebbles, sea glass, any interesting found object ...

This is what got me into jewellery making in the first
place. I just love the fact that you can turn a simple
everyday object into an aesthetic heirloom piece, which
has a story, or personal memory and meaning behind it!

If you can't get away to find your own treasure, you can
purchase polished pebbles and sea glass online.
In fact, for teaching purposes, I use a company called
BAKER ROSS, who do mixed packs for children's
creative activities! Alternatively, this project also works
beautifully for semi-precious stones and wires!

So, if you're sitting comfortably? I'll begin ...


Choose your 'stone' and decide which way you're going to
suspend it. Then, using a piece of string, measure around
it and add about 4" (10cm) to the overall length.


Once you have your string measurement, cut 3 pieces
of 0.8mm (20-gauge) wire to that length.  Spend a little
time, straightening out the lengths through your fingers
(or if you have them, use nylon jawed pliers, or wire


Cut an arm's length of 0.4mm wire and use the end,
to bind a couple of times around the centre of 2 of
the 0.8mm wires.


Twist the wires open to separate, forming an 'X' shape
and begin weaving the thin wire around the 4 projecting
wires in a figure of '8' tight motion.


Place the third 0.8mm wire at the centre and secure that
in with the rest of the unit. Keep the weave tight and close,
pushing it into the centre.


Use up all your wire and neaten up the end. You should
now have a 'spider's web' effect at the centre of your wire


Place the base of your chosen stone on top of the woven
area and fold all the projecting wires tightly around it.


Pinch the wires together at the top of the stone and using
the tips of your chain nosed pliers, bend a kink at the
centre top, where they meet.


Use one of the projecting wires to bind all the others
together at the very top of the stone.


Keep one wire straight and central for your suspension
link and bend the others at right angles in a star formation.
(*If some are much longer than others, you can always
trim them down to the same length).


Use your pliers to form spirals out of the side wires and
flatten these around the top wrap, keeping the central
stem projecting.


For extra decoration, you can thread a bead to the central stem
wire (to sit on top of the spirals), before making a double wrapped
loop with the projecting end.


Separate the top links out a little and now you're ready for
suspending it onto a cord, chain, ribbon, key ring finding, etc ...


For my suede cord, I created a couple of 0.8mm wire coils and
threaded these onto the ends, bringing the cord back into the wire
coils to form a loop. To secure and tighten in place, I pinched the
top and base of each of the coils (like a crimp).


I suspended beads with decorative wire headpins from the end
loops of the cord, which means the pendant can be tied and worn
at variable levels, keeping the back and front decorative!

Have a go with different wires and varied shapes stones!

It works well for irregular shapes of glass too!

Also, experiment with coloured wires to match your summer

Or, take it one step further and add a tassel of beads to the end!

I will be back taking WORKSHOP BOOKINGS in
late August and September ... 

Wednesday, 12 July 2017


by Rachel Norris
A complete GEM of a book!
Going back a few years and ever since I first spotted any
of Rachel's work, I have admired and loved her individual 
style and the quality of craftswomanship in all her artistic

Rachel Norris has been a deserved winner of numerous accolades,
including 'Best Design' in 2012 and 'Design of the Year' in 2016
on JEWELLERY MAKER TV (on which she has been a guest
designer/demonstrator since 2011).  She has also been voted
'Best Designer' in Beads and Beyond Magazine in 2015 and
(how many people can say this?!!) has had her work exhibited
at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London!

So, as a fellow maker and author and 'wire missionary', I thought
I must review her new book which has hit the limelight and 
become a best seller

On first impression, the words that came to me when flicking
through Rachel's book were: 'beautiful', 'stunning', 'intricate' 
and 'inspiring'!! It is completely evident from the layout of the 
publication, that she has put her heart and soul into every project. 
The designs are like timeless 'treasures', all themed around nature.

The publication is divided into 3 sections, beginning with an excellent
introduction to fundamental techniques, as well as tools and 
materials, followed by the main content of 15 gorgeous projects
and brought to a conclusion with templates, a bibliography and
a list of suppliers.

Visually, the photography is wonderfully instructional and
beautifully clear and this is what makes this book a 'must have' for 
any aspiring wireworker, or even someone like me, who has been
dabbling and making for many years! 

At first glance, you could feel that Rachel's style might be too 
intricate and meticulous for you, due to her love of weaving and 
wrapping in all of her projects, however, you can still use it as a 
brilliant resource for inspiration and techniques! For instance, 
talking personally, my jewellery style in comparison, is very honed 
down and extremely simplistic, yet Rachel's clear step by step images,  
still provide me with little triggers of insight as to how she accomplishes 
her beautiful pieces, and give me new challenges to aim for, especially 
in her approach to setting stones and forming and shaping! I'm not  
sure if I will ever have the patience that she has, but I can really enjoy 
seeing the way she builds up her finished pieces and can admire
plenty of elements that will fuel new creativity in me!

Not only are the visual instructions excellent, she's also added
little tips and advice along the way ... as you pour over the book
you can almost feel you've got Rachel there, helping you along.
There is no doubt that you will learn something new if you 
follow her clear step by step instructions, even if you choose to
put your own individual stamp on it! 

To conclude, it is a complete 'gem of a book' and the title is spot
on! If you're a just starting out with wirework, you will learn and 
comprehend so many basics in Rachel's excellent 'Mastering' 
introduction. This should be read and studied in detail before jumping 
straight into any of the projects. Whilst intermediate wireworkers, 
will be inspired by the wealth and detail of her stunning projects, 
ranging from a 'Spring Daisy Necklace', 'Egyptian Cat Brooch', 'Indian 
Elephant Necklace' to 'Running Horse Brooch', to name but a few ...!   

I will definitely treasure this book, just as I admire her as a
individual artist and will share it within my workshops, as I think
it is a valuable resource when I teach to inspire others on their
wirework journeys  


'Mastering Wirework Jewelry' by Rachel Norris is published by:
GMC Publications Ltd
ISBN 978 1 78494 331 8

It is also available through 'amazon.co.uk'
and 'amazon.com'



Monday, 3 July 2017


Since the beginning of human existence, civilisations have 
worshiped the sun and it's not hard to understand why!

The sun is the star that dominates our solar system. It
produces energy in heat and light and has done so for many 
millions of years, bringing life to so many living things. 
It also generates our planet's weather, creating wind and the 
earth's water cycle. So, with the current summer warmth
radiating all around us, I thought a Suncatcher project would
be perfect for this month!

I have designed this as a garden decoration, however,
you can always scale it down and adapt the design to
work as a jewellery pendant.


For a large scale piece, I used 2mm aluminium wire and
created a spiral to the size required.


Next, cut 4 pieces of the same wire, approximately 2"
longer than the spiral diameter.


Cut an arm's length of 0.4mm wire and use this to join
and secure 2 of the lengths at the centre, to form a cross.
Weave the wire up and around, like a figure of 8
(basket weave).


Add the third wire in, placing it across the middway point and
continue the basket weave, around all the wires, securing
them in place.


Finally, add the last wire and weave in, to form a 'star' shape,
using up all the remaining fine binding wire.
(*If the centre feels a bit raised and bulky, use the nylon mallet head
of your Whammer hammer to tap it down and flatten).

Place the centre of the spiral (from Step 1) at the centre of
the 'star' and secure in place with length of 0.4mm wire.


Attach a long arm's length of 0.4mm wire to the central point,
in readiness to secure in your chosen beads...



Thread your beads onto the central wire and secure around
the 'star' stems as you follow the spiral curvature framework...


Continue adding more beads and wire, until you have filled the
central gap within the spiral.

STEP 10 
To keep both frames secured together, use the 0.4mm wire to
bind a bead at the outer edge of the spiral frame, onto the 
radiating stem ...

STEP 11 

Repeat (step 10) and secure beads to each of the stems. 
Use your wire cutters to snip off and even out the ends of 
the projecting 2mm aluminium wires.

STEP 12 

Individually place each of the radiating stem tips on a 
steel block and using the steel head of your Whammer, 
flatten and spread until they mushroom out. (This is great
Whammer Therapy!!). You can then choose to pierce a hole 
in the top and base stem, so that you can secure a hanging loop 
and pendant drop. (I attached a sparkling heart shaped crystal, 
however, a cascade of facated beads, a feather, a shard of glass, 
anything you've got to hand, would all look equally decorative!)

Finally, you can decorate the centre by glueing in a glass nugget,
or wiring in a bead.

I am now enjoying my suncatcher in the
garden, where I can see it from my kitchen sink.
It definitely adds some positive sparkle to my
thoughts, as I'm washing the dishes and filling up
the kettle for tea and coffee refreshments ... !!

I would love to see your finished suncatcher's,
please do share your images on my FACEBOOK

Happy Wireworking and Sun Catching!