A tiara is just an upside-down necklace

So a couple of weeks ago, during Building the Asylum, I walked in on the end of a conversation between a couple of people – I caught the words “diva” and “need a tiara!” and had to ask one of the participants who it was who needed a tiara, her or him.

At that point, I was merely amused.

She said she needed one.

Then part of my brain had a flash of inspiration, and so I asked, “Really? Because I could make you one,” and decided to interpret her response (uncontrolled laughter) as approval and encouragement, while simultaneously trying to work out how to actually make it. It seemed like it shouldn’t be that much different than wire necklaces, right?

Eventually I did get some actual words, to the effect that sparkly pink was Right Out, but stainless steel and black were good ideas (we have Internets in the space; I pointed her to some photos on the blog).

So I did some sketches at StrowlerCon, and took a couple of hours a week later to put it all together. I am always surprised by how long it takes to wind wire around other wire; the main structure took about an hour, but all the fiddly bits to finish it up took almost as much time!

Tiara sketch with beads laid over it

A final sketch - on paper towels, because I forgot to bring trace paper - with some beads laid on top of it to see how those might look.

Completed tiara, formed by bending stainless steel wire and wiring glass and lava beads to it.

The completed tiara. The large bead is lava; the small ones are glass.

I used 20 ga stainless steel for the main structure, and 22 ga stainless for the windings around the structure, and to attach the big bead. The 22 ga was too heavy to attach the small beads, so I ended up using some 24? 26? ga tinned copper to attach those. Note to self: Order some smaller gauge stainless!

Closeup image of parts of the tiara, focusing on the small gauge wire and beads.

I really like how the thin wire, repeated enough, becomes an additional decorative element, background to the beads and general overall form. It keeps surprising me when that happens.

Jamie wearing her tiara

Success!

Conclusion: really not that much different from the necklaces, though forming the base into the right shape was a lot trickier.

Bazaar Bizarre aftermath

So I worked at a craft fair (the Bazaar Bizarre, in its first-ever summer occurrence) for the first time ever, and it was only slightly less terrifying than I imagine it would have been if I’d actually been selling my own work.

I was there at the Artisan’s Asylum table; we were there to pass out flyers and show people how to make simple crafts. A couple of people were making neat hair decorations, tiny hats, and bags out of ties. We had bookbinding, and someone showing off Sumobots. Our coffee making demo had to cancel on account of it being too windy. And we had two people doing jewelry demos (the other person was showing knotwork).

Jewelry display, plus duct tape head with feather mask, plus flyers, beads, wire, etc.

I brought a lot of glass beads, figuring I could show people how to make simple dangly earrings. I even sat down and practiced by myself, so I would know how to talk someone through the process while demonstrating it.

No one was interested in learning how to make them.

People were interested in making ear cuffs, which I had on my big display board.

And of course I didn’t have any of the really simple ear cuffs there. Fortunately, I did have my brass wire, because at the last minute I decided to bring it so I could amuse myself if nothing else was going on.

I know now how just how poorly I know what I am doing, because I found myself flailing a lot trying to explain how to hold the wire and the tools – and honestly, I don’t know that -I- always follow the same process, so there was a lot of ad hockery (ad hackery?). I figure that explaining that teaching this was all new to me might be reassuring to people who were confused by the process a bit. Well, I got some laughs at least. And my victi- er students did end up with wearable ear cuffs.

Also, I got some really nice feedback about some of the wire work I had on display (the stainless steel necklace, which I finished off and now – of course now! – want to make some edits to. Guess I’ll have to make another. OH NOES.), like encouragement to make more and sell it.

I did loads of research earlier this year into Etsy and good places to buy supplies (bulk wire, especially), but time going elsewhere, and massive terror at the prospect of taking this semi-seriously, have conspired to keep me from actually setting up a shop and making items to sell. But I think at this point (and then there was a coworker this morning, who I showed some photos to), I have no choice.

If for no other reason than to subsidize my bead buying habit.

Stainless steel wire necklace, finished

I finished the ends of this off over a week ago, and wore it a couple of times, because I couldn’t quite figure out what else, if anything, needed to be done with it. Also, I wanted to display it at the Bazaar Bizarre, which reminds me I have a draft post about that I need to publish. Oops.

Anyway, I figured out what needed to be added, and here is a not very good picture of it:

Stainless steel wire necklace with jasper pendant

The stone is jasper. I think.

Round jasper stone

Close up of the jasper (?)

(Additional pictures on Flickr.) I wanted to move on to a new project more than I wanted to take more/better pictures. The new project is going somewhat slowly; I’m having some difficulty weaving the horizontal wires through the vertical pieces. I may have to rethink my strategy; it’s much more difficult than the necklace above.

Some early bends of a wire choker/collar in progress

Some early bends for a wire choker/collar

We shall see how this goes.

Stainless steel wire necklace (in progress)

I finally felt caught up enough on stuff, and also too tired to do much else, to clean off my desk yesterday.

Seeing all that surface again kind of felt like gazing into the abyss. If, you know, you knew the abyss might possible have cake in there somewhere.

This evening I sat down and worked on another necklace, which I sketched up, er, some weeks ago. It’s not done; I need to add thinner wire to strengthen it a bit and add detail.

Stainless steel wire necklace

Originally, I was going to add some sort of dangly thing – like a biohazard symbol or something – in the middle, like I did with the brass necklace I made previously, but now I’m reconsidering. It might not actually need anything there, and I quite like it as-is.

Also, I have decided that from now on, I will say “I’m going to spend some time in the abyss” whenever I am retreating to my desk.