15 March 2016

adventures in jewelry making

My experience has been that learning new crafts takes time and often what I make starts out looking pretty messy until I've had some practice. This has been true for sewing (still is, sometimes), for knitting, and definitely for crochet. Oh, and ceramics. I spent three terms in ceramics class, loved it, and was only just starting to get out of the clunky Paleolithic stage by the end of the year. I'd still love to do ceramics, but I'd need a few hundred dollars going spare (which isn't really the hardest part) and someone to look after the tiny one a couple afternoons a week so I could take classes at one of the local art centres.

As I've been experimenting with jewelry, I've learned a few things. Wireworking, the kind that looks absolutely amazing, takes practice. Manipulating wire isn't a skill that comes without effort. To that end, I've been getting books out of the library and looking at online tutorials, and tinkering. Yesterday I pulled out my kitchen torch to see if it was high-powered enough for me to do some basic metal-working. I learned that no, it really isn't, but it will definitely get copper wire hot enough to burn. My fingers didn't really thank me for that lesson.

One of the books I've looked at is Handcrafted Metal Findings, edited by Denise Peck and Jane Dickerson. I don't have the tools to do most of the projects in there (see above paragraph about my kitchen torch), but there are a couple that are on the more basic side. Like the one below.

From "Handcrafted Metal Findings" edited by Denise Peck and Jane Dickerson

I thought those links and clasps looked like a great idea. I had wire, I had pliers, I had a hammer. That's all I needed, right? The first one might look a little wonky, but it'd be fine once I practiced tinkering with the wire and twisting it for the centre bit. I measured and cut my wire and I was off.

Yes, well, good ideas and best laid plans and all that. As you can see, my first forays into this particular piece were not precisely how the book intended them to be. The tight centre spiral is harder to produce that I thought it would be. Next time I'm double-checking to make sure the label on the wire says "dead soft." I need all the help I can get. And the leaf shaping on each side will take some more practice to get it looking the way I'd like. I don't need them to be exactly like the picture (as that's rather boring), but it would be nice if my version wasn't quite so, ah, messy, in appearance.

I'm going to give another go at some point. I'm trying something a little simpler from a different book by the same authors right now instead. Coiled links, using a crochet hook as my mandrel. So far, much better.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to leave a comment and I'll make sure it gets posted as soon as possible. I currently get so few comments that I moderate to avoid spamming.