Neat wire jewelry by other people

Part of my motivation for making wire jewelry was to learn how to turn pretty stone beads into pendants and the like, which meant I had to learn some basic wire-wrapping techniques. Lots of people do this kind of work, so I’ve had plenty of sources of awesome inspiration and eye candy.

Another part of my motivation was to explore an idea I had for making ear cuffs, which a lot of people also do with wire, except that one thing lead to another and I found that making interesting shapes with the wire was more intriguing than dangling beads from a basic ear cuff, and I have become more focused on using the wire to create the majority of the piece, to be the focus, rather than be used as primarily connective, structural material, or the framework.

But I have not seen many examples of this kind of work, focused on using the wire as the primary source of form and interest, which has had me at a bit of a loss in some ways.

Until recently, when I started finding other jewelry designers working primarily with wire to create their designs. And the excellent thing about them is that they are all strikingly different.

Beautifully simple mechanics; industrial

First (somewhere), I found this link to an interview with Brenda Schweder, who not only makes jewelry using wire, but steel wire!

Oh my god. I am not alone!

There are a lot of awesome photos of her work on her Facebook page; it’s hard to pick a favorite, but I really like the simple forms of this piece, and the design of the sections that go around the wearer’s neck:

Winterfrost Pod by Brenda Schweder

Three-dimensional organic forms

Also from Lark Crafts (that post has a free tutorial in it), I found the blog and jewelry of Kathy Frey, who also makes sculptural jewelry out of wire. Her gallery and her Etsy have plenty of examples. Her pod shapes, and the nest shapes, are my favorites.

Suspended Hidden Pearl Pod Pendant, by Kathy Frey

Simple geometry, reminiscent of mid-century Modernism

And via a post on Kathy Frey’s blog, I found Tia Kramer, who makes her own paper and combines that with wire forms. The combination of simple geometric shapes and rich colors (from the paper) just blows my mind. She has some very elaborate necklaces that incorporate other pieces of jewelry in them (like earrings and a bracelet) that can be worn as one piece or separately, as well as many simple, stunning pieces.

Crescent Eclipse, sterling silver and handmade paper, by Tia Kramer

Science fiction, high-tech

Going for a totally different style is this choker reminiscent of cyberpunk (found via someone’s board on Pinterest (they linked another piece by the same person)):

Bionic choker by DominicElvinDesign

I am not entirely sure what media are used in this piece, other than wire. Polymer clay? Precious metal clay? Random found objects?

I don’t really care, because the part of my brain that loves high-tech science fictiony design thinks this is the best thing ever. (It is currently engaged in a standoff with the parts of my brain that prefer Modernism, or an industrial look, or organic shapes.)

Jewelry Happy Hours!

I’m running a couple of jewelry work sessions at the Asylum this month.

They are classes in that I and 2 or 3 other jewelry makers will be around to show people how to make shiny things, and also to work on our own projects. We don’t have lesson plans; we’ll cover whatever it is people are interested in.

We had our first night last week, and it was fun and productive! Cider was drunk! Necklaces were knotted and bent! Not both at once, mind.

I also learned that the hunting and camping supply store near me is a good place to buy feathers.

Khrysti and Sara (who run Khyamara together) both worked on knotwork projects; Sara also made a lot of progress on a wire-wrapped ring.

I finally – FINALLY – went through my sketches from StrowlerCon and prototyped a couple of designs:

A simpler "tooth" design and a geometric shape, accented with a glass bead.

The leaf shapes come from my original Spring Rites necklace and ear cuffs design.

Leaf and tendril detail of Spring Rites necklace.

The Spring Rites pieces are probably going to be listed on Etsy (if not those exact two, then I’ll be making more much like them). I also came up with a loooooooong list of ideas for that series, so I am excited to get more variations on that theme out of my head and into the wire.

Jewelry Happy Hour is meeting two more times this month, and I believe that our 4th instructor will be joining us both of those times, along with a jewelry maker who does some metalsmithing work (Purpleshiny), and at least one person who wants some lessons.

I am really looking forward to it! It was great to see different kinds of work in process, and to understand the amount of time some seemingly very simple projects take (Khrysti made a very nice, very simple bracelet that took something like an hour).

A collection of shiny things

First, shiny words!

One of my favorite authors, Catherynne Valente, has a new book out: The Habitation of the Blessed, the first of three books about the mythical Prester John and the amazing land he had supposedly discovered, who the medieval world got all excited and crazed about. Embedded in her post about the book release is a really awesome video explaining who Prester John was – using action fictions and LOLcats. (Plus links to the online chapters and info about how you can enter in a drawing to win some phenomenally gorgeous art.)

The first 5 chapters are online FOR FREE, and I read them, and then I found myself later in the day thinking, “Yeah, I need to go finish reading that – CURSES I don’t have the book yet! Argh.”

My introduction to her work was Palimpsest, which I can’t be effusive enough about. Her writing – all of her writing – is typically more descriptive and lush and lyrical and evocative of myth and mystery than most writers’, and Palimpsest some of the very lushest. I was torn, when I started it, between spreading the reading out over a week so I could enjoy it for more days, and spending my entire weekend engrossed in it because Oh my god. (I didn’t get much else done that weekend; I recently reread it, spread out over a week or two, and it was just as good.)

(I also recently finished This Is My Letter to the World, an anthology of short stories written for her Omikuji Project. I highly recommend it, especially if you like retellings of old myths, but if you are the kind to get teared up over what you are reading, I don’t recommend reading it on the T, unless you like risking crying in public.)

Boston area folks – she is doing a reading at Pandemonium on Dec. 11, 3pm, as part of her book tour.

Next, shiny birds!

I was poking around deviantART, pondering setting up an account, and this caught my eye:

Bird broach made out of circuit boards.

Bird broach made out of circuit boards. OMG THOSE FEET.

Thebluekraken has a lot of other jewelry made from circuit boards, much of it cut into leaf shapes. A lot of circuit board art leaves me cold, but I really, really like the juxtaposition of technology with shapes from nature.

Next, shiny free software! Named after birds.

Aviary is a suite of browser-based tools for creating and editing images. So if you don’t have Photoshop ($$$), or the GIMP (free, open source), you may want to check this out. They also have a tool for creating vector drawings, which is what Illustrator ($$$) and Inkscape (free, open source) can do. Plus other things I have barely looked at. (I have the full Adobe suite, so I have spent little time testing out alternatives.) Since it is browser based, you can access it whenever you have access to a browser, rather than only when you are using the machine you have the other programs installed on.

Last, something that should have its own post, but I am feeling lazy.

Look! Over there! In the sidebar! Yes, I finally got some items listed on Etsy.

I started with some favorites, and I have a BIG PILE of other things (well, okay, maybe half a dozen. or 10?) to get listed, but it’s a start.

Thanks to everyone who encouraged and pushed me over the last year or so to do this. Once I got through writing policies, it wasn’t nearly as terrifying as I thought it would be.