Tuesday, 16 February 2021

 UNBLOCKING CREATIVITY IN LOCKDOWN!









I often get asked, how do I come up with new ideas for designs?

And over the years, I have used a few different tactics.

Each artist will find their own methods, but I thought as it's 

definitely not easy to get ideas flowing when you're feeling low 

and your creativity channels are blocked with worry and anxiety, 

that I would try and share some of the techniques that I use to find 

inspiration! 


In this isolated 'lockdown' world, it's especially important, 

when your vision can be blurred with the buzz of your mind and 

your life can feel narrow and suffocating.


So here is a potted and simplified process of what I do, and I do 

hope that it can help you too?

STARTING POINT

To begin your design selection you need to have a starting point 

and below I have listed 4 different ways that you can do this. Try 

not to be led by fashion trends, as some of your more original and 

exciting ideas will come from your unique personal taste and style.  

Read through each of the points first, before you decide which one 

feels right for you.


1) Flick through some old magazines and cut out anything that has 

an aesthetic appeal. It can be a landscape, a beautiful colour 

combination in a fabric design ... you name it! Just cut it out and 

paste it to an A4 page (like making a collage), or put it in a binder 

folder.

2) Walk around your house, garden or local area with your creative 

antennas at full alert and take snapshots with your 'phone camera of 

ANYTHING that triggers your imagination! It can be a wallpaper pattern, 

curtain or carpet design, moss on the bark of a tree or an unusual door 

knocker!

3) Choose your favourite historic style, such as Egyptian, Celtic, 

Art Nouveau, Deco, Industrial, or natural forms, such as leaves and 

flowers, etc... Any favourite personal topic will do! Then make a 

'search' of that subject online on Pinterest. There, you will find enough 

images to 'fill your boots'! Select and save the ones that directly appeal 

most to you and put them in a new Pinterest folder that you can call: 

P.D.I. (Personal Design Inspiration).

4) Look at your stash of beads and gemstones and find one, stand-out 

focal piece to use as your inspirational muse!


Once you have picked one of the starting points, you should have a 

good selection of images to put in your creative pot. My advice is to 

be careful not to spend too much time researching and pooling 

images, as you can get a brain overload!

Look at all the images you've collected and 'go with your gut', picking 

the ones you are drawn to most. Try and narrow it down to 2 or 

3 favourites and through the next development process, you should 

be able to narrow it down even further.


DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

Once you've chosen your topic, you now need to question what it 

is that appeals most strongly to you about it? This will be personal 

to you, based on your background, experiences and conditioning. 

It's a bit like a self-quest! So, grab yourself a pen and paper and 

with your images or topic clear in your vision and mind, scribble 

down the answer to the following questions:

-    Why have you chosen this image (or images)? 

    Is it for Shape?

    Is it for Colour?

    If you put a magnifying glass to your image, which area 

or part most appeals to you?

-     Is there a Pattern?

    Is there Texture?

    A Contrast of Shapes?

    Symmetry or Asymmetry?

If you like sketching, you could doodle and draw anything that 

randomly comes into the mind, but it's not essential, as once 

you have scribbled down a series of words (from answers to 

the above questions), you will start to see a developing theme 

of elements and a pattern of key words that you can use to 

start planning your design.


DESIGN PLANNING

You should now have a sub-subject from your topic and be 

more in touch with why you have selected it (visually, as well 

as emotionally).

Your next decision is 'what would you like to make'?

    A necklace, earrings, brooch, or ring?

    Who is it for? A friend, family member or yourself?

    What technique and materials are you going to use. 

You can also choose a new technique that you've been 

wanting to learn as there are plenty of YouTube tutorials that 

you can learn from online!


MATERIALS AND TOOLS

Once you've narrowed down the style and piece that you're 

making, take a look at your stash of materials and see if 

you can improvise with the beads, wires and tools that you have.  

The beauty of wirework is that you don't need any findings, as 

you can create your own ear wires, chains, bails, clasps, 

bead and stone settings, as well as framework structures!


Obviously, you can be held back by your experience and 

knowledge, but as a self-taught wire-worker from the dinosaur 

age, I know that experimentation and practice will get you 

there in the end! There's never an end to learning!


LET'S BEGIN CREATING!

As this is The WireWorkers Guild, we're concentrating 

on designing a wirework piece, which means you will be 

more limited, than if it were metalwork, or silver-metal 

clay, etc... 

Your piece should try to incorporate the essence and elements 

of things you've drawn from in the development process. 

It must be your own personal interpretation of your topic. 

So, with that in mind, check that your design reflects the 

COLOUR (or colours) of your topic, the flow of LINE and 

FORM. 

Another aspect of your check list is to question, if it's 

proportionally BALANCED as well as FUNCTIONAL 

and wearable!


That's the theory of the creation process. And having 

said all that, my last bit of advice, is that when you're 

constructing your piece, don't worry if a few things go 

off in a different direction! Just improvise and 'go with 

the flow'. That's usually how you come up with your 

best and most original work!


If you're still feeling as creatively blocked as you were 

before you started reading this ... just send me an email: 

linda.jones@wirejewellery.co.uk 

and tell me where you're stuck (having outlined as much 

as you can from the above) and for FREE, I will try and help 

to propel you to the next stage of your design!


I do hope that this very simplified outline, can help you to 

jump-start your next fun wirework project!






 









Having said all that, I thought I would show you how I can 

use that template to trigger a design! The above chunky 

statement necklace "The Ocean", was created in 30 minutes, 

just before I posted this.

STEP 1 - MY STARTING POINT











I have had this Labradorite stone sitting on my workbench for a while.

It's got a beautiful chatoyancy, with lovely blue flashes, but sadly it arrived 

with a crack and is damaged! So I can't use it in a piece to sell, or give as a gift. 

But, as I love the stone and colour and can't bear to see it sitting around for 

years, I have chosen this as my focal topic and STARTING POINT for 

a design. It's to be made for me, to suit my style and personality.


STEP 2 - DEVELOPMENT PROCESS














When I asked myself, why I love and choose this stone? 

Apart from the fact, that I love Labradorite! I also wanted to

use it because it had impurities and flaws, just like me! 

I also love the colour, because it reminds me of the Ocean and

memories of seaside holidays (that we can longer have in a 

pandemic!). So I looked in my stash for anything else that would

reflect, or have elements of the sea and colour and found this

Abalone shell (which had been sitting there for 4 years!). I felt 

that this shell could be the perfect background and housing for my 

damaged Labradorite stone, as it was the just the right size to nestle

within it! And as it was a similar colour, that could be helpful in

deflecting the defects of the stone, as well as representing the 

'Ocean' theme that I was aiming for.


STEP 3














The Labradorite had been drilled, so I could thread it with wire,

but the Abalone shell had nothing. So I drilled 2 holes in the shell

for attachment purposes.


STEP 4














Here's the shell from the back! Where I pushed the wire through.

STEP 5














Having realised that 2 drill holes at the top wasn't going to be 

enough for security, I drilled 2 more and crossed the wires over and 

back through, to be able to cradle the stone within the shell.


STEP 6














Now that the top was held in place, I wanted to use the 

remaining wire to cover the flaws and cracks of the stone 

as well as secure it in its place.


STEP 7














And as my theme is the Ocean, I used loops to represent waves,

bubbles and foam of the sea with my wire on one side, in order 

to hide and cover the central cracks on the front of the stone.


STEP 8














And I continued with the loopy wire theme on 

the opposite side ...


STEP 9














The ends of the wire were secured on each side, with

one side wire ending in spiral curl (of a wave).

Next, I thought about suspending it from a chain, but as it's

such a chunky piece, it looked out of proportion. So, I found 

this yachting cord in my stash (but, if I had time, I could have 

created a black braid using the Kumihimo technique, or just 

plaited some long black shoelaces!).


STEP 10 - MAKING the CORD ENDS

























To add a clasp to this chunky cord, I taped up the ends with
black electrical tape (but any tape will do!), so as to prevent  
the ends from fraying any further.

STEP 11













Using a pin, I poked a hole through the tape and cord 

of each end, which gave me a hole to thread it with 

0.8mm wire. 

STEP 12














I then wrapped one wire around the other to secure,

leaving one wire projecting at each end.


STEP 13














As I needed to hide the taped area at the end of the cord, 

I created 2 coils of wire (with tails) that could slide over

the cord ends.


STEP 14 (A) & (B) COILED END CAPS



To make the coil covers (or end caps),  I spiralled the projecting wires in 

towards the top of each of the coils and flattened them back on the top, 

like a lid.


STEP 15


 












Following that, I threaded the projecting end wires through the 

central hole of each of the coiled end caps, so that they covered the 

taped areas of the cord.


STEP 16














I threaded one more blue bead on each wire (to bring in blue 

of the sea) and created one larger wrapped loop (for a clasp end)

and a smaller one to attach the hook end of the clasp.


STEP 17














Then, I made a clasp out of wire and attached that with a

jump ring to the smaller wrapped loop.


STEP 18














Following that I secured the shell- focal piece to the centre of my 

cord using another length of 0.8mm which I attached to the crossed 

over wires at the back of the piece.


STEP 19




Finally, I glued a small flat backed crystal to the centre
of the wire spiral (to represent sparkling water!)
And now it's ready to wear!



I can only apologise for this long and stodgy step-by-step tutorial,

but I felt, that if I walked you through the entire process in from start 

to finish you could see how my pieces (and yours) can evolve on a very

intuitive level!


KEEP BEING CREATIVE!

STAY SAFE AND STAY WELL!


Friday, 22 January 2021

SUN PENDANT










I realise that it's been a while since I've published anything here!

However, I'm sure you will understand, as we've all been in

'the same boat', trying to make sense and cope with the mess

in the world around us!


I'm not going to talk about the negatives, I just want to

inspire you with inner creativity, as an escape route to all

the stress and anxiety that you're currently experiencing.


On that note, I thought I would share with you one of
my favourite necklace projects, which I call the:
SUN PENDANT
Throughout the ages (of pandemics, peace and war!),
the sun motif has been used in all art forms to represent cosmic
power, life, energy and strength. Therefore, I hope that by making
and wearing this pendant, you will feel mentally empowered with
a little extra Positive Energy!

I have broken the tutorial down as much as possible and you 
can tailor make it your own, with or without a woven bail
as well as, with or without a bead!!

All you will need is your usual tool collection of pliers (round,
chain nosed, flat) plus wire cutters. As for materials, one round
bead (of at least 12mm in diameter), seed beads, plus 0.8mm 
and 0.4mm wire.

STEP 1

Working directly from a spool of 0.8mm (20-gauge) wire,
leave a tail of 2" (5cm) and using your flat nosed pliers,
bend the wire up and down (to the height of the pliers).
Squeeze the doubled wires together, so that one wire sits
tightly behind the other.

STEP 2


Place the tips of your chain nosed pliers next to the base of
the doubled wire to form a small gap before repeating another
double wire stalk bend. 
Continue creating double bends (or 'rays') along the wire, trying 
to keep the height and the base gap as similar as you can ...

STEP 3

Create enough 'rays' to surround the perimeter of the bead you 
have chosen. 
*To ensure this measurement, wrap a piece of string (or strip of
paper) around the bead and use this to check the length.
Once you have enough 'rays', cut the wire from the spool,
leaving at least 2" (5cm) projecting at the end.

STEP 4

To create a circular frame, you need to bring the ends together.
Place the tips of your chain nosed pliers in between the gaps
of the 'ray spikes' and gently bend around to start shaping.

STEP 5

To help with the shaping, place a ring mandrel or circular object
such as a chunky pen, and shape the wire around. Bringing the 
two projecting ends together to form a circle.

STEP 6

Cut approximately 4" (10cm) of 0.4mm (24-gauge) wire
and use this to bind the projecting ends together, securing
the top of the circular frame.

STEP 7

Bring the rest of the 0.4mm wire down the centre space of
the frame and thread with your chosen bead. Position the bead
into the central space and secure in place, by wrapping the wire
on the opposite side of the frame, in between the 'rays'. 
Cut off any excess wire.

STEP 8

Cut off an 'arm's length' of 0.4mm wire and secure at the
top of the pendant. Wrap around the frame once, then thread
with a seed bead (or 2 - whatever fits into the gaps between
the rays). Bind the wire once around the frame, before you
move onto and into the next gap and repeat all around the
frame ...

STEP 9

Continue adding beads all around the perimeter of the frame,
securing and binding them into the gaps.

STEP 10

To add extra decoration to the top of the pendant, wrap
and secure any projecting ends of 0.4mm binding wire and
create small tight spirals with the ends. These spirals can
be flattened at the top of the pendant.
If you wish to create a woven bail, straighten out the
0.8mm projecting wires and create an even space between
them and continue on until Step 15
* VARIATION: If you just want a wrapped link at the top
of your pendant, GO TO STEP 16 now.

STEP 11 - WOVEN BAIL


Cut an 'arm's length' of 0.4mm wire to weave back and forth
within the projecting wires.

STEP 12

When you reach the end of the weave, use the tips of your
round nosed pliers to create 2 small loops at the very end.

STEP 13


Place a pen (or bail making pliers) on your woven wire and
bend around to create the hanging bail.

STEP 14


Use the end of the 0.4mm weaving wire to secure the woven
bail at the top of the pendant. Thread it through and around
to the 2 back loops and if you have any excess, spiral and 
flatten it against the back of the bail for added decoration.

STEP 15

Now it's ready for suspension from a leather cord, ribbon
or chain of your choice.

STEP 16 - * VARIATION

If you prefer to create the pendant without the woven bail,
at STEP 10, wrap one of the 0.8mm wires around the other
to secure. Spiral the end and flatten against the top wrap.
You can also choose to thread the remaining projecting wire
with 1 or 1 more beads and using your round nosed pliers,
create a wrapped loop at the top of the pendant.

You can also create your own 'S' link infinity chain using
0.8mm wire and seed beads.

Below are some samples to inspire you:






I hope you have fun, giving this one a try!

On another note, I have been shutting out the noise of the world and
trying to make ends meet by building up stock for my Etsy online shop.

For this month, I have concentrated solely on one item, something that
I thought might resonate with the winter months and the lockdown world
that we all inhabit!  

SCARF PENDANT sets! 

Not only do they keep your neck warm, they act as instant colourful 
necklaces and fashion accessories! Something that can be thrown over 
a pyjama top, or an old tee shirt for a Zoom meeting! 

What I do know, that by adding a splash of colour and a little beauty
into our environments can make us feel a little better! So if you want
to take a look at my different designs and styles, do wander over to:


Sending much love and best wishes to everyone!
I  do hope that like me, you can escape with a little creativity!
And if you have any particular questions about projects you are working
on, or would like to see a particular design or technique shown, please do
let me know and I will do my best to feature it!


Stay well and safe!
Linda xxx