About 4 years ago, I had never even heard of Wire Wrapped Jewelry......and when I discovered it, it was by complete accident. The journey from "How in the world do they do THAT" to now, has been extraordinary, fun, enlightening, and.....a lot of times very frustrating. There are so many different techniques, and styles, that coming up with something all your own is almost impossible.
I get a lot of questions about how to start, where to begin, and what I use in my work......so to help answer some of those questions, I decided to write a few things down. Make Wire jewelry can be so rewarding, once you get the hang of it, and, over time you develop your own style, your own way of doing things.
Choosing the right stones for a beginner:
When I first started, I purchased some cabochons from an online supply to play with. After of course, trying to wrap a tumbled stone, and days and days of frustrations!! The purchased cabs were pretty small, and had very little girdle to them. For me, a person with bigger hands, a complete beginner, and, at the time, a bit clumsy.....these cabs made it difficult for me to do anything with. I didn't realize at the time, that practicing would have been so much easier if the cab were bigger, and the girdle on the cab would have been thicker. The small stones were so hard for me to hang on to, and the wire kept slipping off the girdle of the cab, causing me to kink the wire, and , in the end, become very frustrated with it all. Then someone sent me, as a gift, a cabochon with some size, and a thicker girdle....WOW...what a difference that made!!
MY SUGGESTION: a 40mm cab, with a girdle of 3mm makes things much much easier for a beginner
I do NOT suggest a round or oval cab for a beginner...these are harder to wrap
In the beginning of my journey, I tried using round wire....what a mess!! If you are doing a standard wire wrap, SQUARE wire is much easier to use. It will lay flat against the cabochon, and not roll off the cab every time you try to do something, like swirls or curls, bindings etc. I personally started with 22 gauge dead soft, but, 22 gauge is a very tiny wire for a beginner. If I had to do it all over again, I would start with 20 gauge, it's not a lot bigger, it will give the same look to the piece, but it is a bit easier to manage and hang on to.
I Always use dead soft wire to do a wrap, even to this day. 1/2 hard wire will kink and bend, when you need it to be smooth, even sweeps, and swirls. It's a bit harder to work with too, and your hands will get tired after just a short time of trying to work with it.
My style has changed a lot over the past 4 years, but the things that have not changed are these:
My work must be TIGHT, the wire must be so secure against the stone, it takes wire cutters or pliers to get them apart. They must be neat, and clean, with neatly laid bindings, side by side, even bails, even weaves....so everything comes together in a completely secure setting that provides beauty as well.
I have a free tutorial listed on my facebook page, as well as pay tutorials in my Etsy shop. We will discuss some more in the next posting about how to get started once you have the right supplies.