Wednesday, 1 September 2021
With environmental issues being so important,
the biggest plants on our planet, namely TREES,
are especially topical and special. As they produce
oxygen, store carbon, stabilise soil, provide
wildlife habitats, plus not to mention, give us
the raw materials for tools, materials and shelter!
And so, on the subject of Trees, I am delighted to
announce that this:
Friday (3rd September) at 6pm,
I have been asked by CHALMERS GEMS to
demonstrate how I create Wire Trees, not for
jewellery making, but for small scale sculptural
The demonstration will be live on Chalmers Gems
Facebook page. So please feel free to join
us to share in this fun, wirework experience and
check with Chalmers Gems when they go
Chalmers Gems supply a very comprehensive
choice of beautiful base gemstones for all your
jewellery needs, plus base stones for the
trees to sit on. These will all be on offer and
ready to purchase on Friday from their website.
Please do follow them on Instagram too, where
they do regular 'live' events and sales!
In the past, I have created wire trees using glass
beads or crystals and set them onto to wood
slices, however, when you're using gemstone
chips for the 'blossom', a gemstone base will
give the tree that extra elegance, plus add an
essence of quality, rarity and beauty. Also, if
you're into the healing aspect of 'stones', then
it adds extra symbolism and energy to your
Above, is a tree created on a beautiful raw piece
of black Tourmaline from Chalmers Gems.
The blossom is a mixture of gemstone chips:
Garnet, Moonstone and Peridot.
The base on the tree above is, Chrysocolla and
the blossom is a mixture of multicoloured Beryl.
This smaller tree (above) is wired onto a Fuschite
gemstone base with Amethyst blossom.
A full instructional video is available on my
Thursday, 5 August 2021
"Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance." Coco Chanel
"Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication." Leonardo da Vinci
Those two quotes resonate with me when I'm designing. The ability to simplify,
can help you to create a stronger visual piece, as you're eliminating the
unnecessary 'fluff', enabling the necessary to speak! Just as I'm sure, you've
often heard the phrase: Less is More!
So carrying on with that vibe, I thought I would share the simplest of tutorials.
This will help if you haven't picked up your pliers in a while, or if you're new
to fiddling with wire!
As most of us are going to be enjoying a 'staycation' this year, or perhaps are
quarantined with too much time to fill, this summer project just requires some
wire that's not too thin: I have used 1.6mm aluminium, because it's soft, light
and very easy to manipulate.
Depending how large you wish your pendant to be,
find a circular object to wrap your wire around, thereby
creating a full circle. Cut the wire off from the spool,
leaving the ends overlapping on each side.
Place your round nosed pliers at one end and create
Hold the circle in your flat nosed pliers and continue
curling the wire around into a spiral, leaving a small
projecting tail at the very end.
Using your round nosed pliers, curl the projecting
tail into a link at the top of your spiral.
Place your spiral onto a steel block and gently hammer
to flatten and work harden.
STEP 6 (optional)
If like me, you have used a thick gauge wire, you can
choose to texture the surface with the small dapping
head of the Whammer hammer. (If the wire curls up,
flatten it back down with the nylon head).
Depending on how simple you wish to make the
pendant, you can just secure 0.4mm wire around
the top two wires. This keeps it from misshaping,
or opening up when worn.
STEP 8 (optional)
If you wish, you can continue weaving whatever
0.4mm wire you have left ... or, you can wire in a bead,
or small seed beads within the spaces at this stage.
STEP 9 (central bead feature)
You can choose to leave the centre of your spiral
(A) as is, or (B) glue in a small flat backed crystal,
or as above (C) and following on with steps 10-13,
thread a bead with 0.8mm wire, forming a small
spiral at one end.
Flatten the spiral onto the bead, pulling the excess
wire straight at the back.
Thread the bead stem through the central hole of
the spiral (with the bead on the front side).
Create a spiral with the 0.8mm projecting wire (at the back of
the bead), bringing it tightly up towards the centre of the spiral.
Flatten the small spiral against the back of the bead and
centre of the pendant. (*For extra security, you can always
add a dab of glue to prevent the bead from moving around.)
Et voila! A very simple necklace pendant that just
needs popping onto a chain with an extra jump ring!
This design also looks great created as earrings!
During this very strange, unsettling and
difficult year, I have created many pieces
of jewellery and if you follow me on
Instagram(lindajoneswirejewellery) you will
see them all and more!
So if you need a spark of inspiration for
more summer pieces to make, below is a gallery
of my latest work.
I hope that you enjoy!
HAPPY WIRE WORKING!
It's good for your wellbeing!
Please do also feel free to ask for any advice
with techniques, or project suggestions. I
always love to help if I can!
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
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?
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
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
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.
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.
You should now have a sub-subject from your topic and be
more in touch with why you have selected it (visually, as well
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
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
Another aspect of your check list is to question, if it's
proportionally BALANCED as well as FUNCTIONAL
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:
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.
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.
Here's the shell from the back! Where I pushed the wire through.
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.
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.
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.
And I continued with the loopy wire theme on
the opposite side ...
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
Using a pin, I poked a hole through the tape and cord
of each end, which gave me a hole to thread it with
I then wrapped one wire around the other to secure,
leaving one wire projecting at each end.
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.
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.
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.
Then, I made a clasp out of wire and attached that with a
jump ring to the smaller wrapped loop.
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.