One of the things I love most about jewelry is the diversity it affords (no pun intended!). Sure, I drool over the Tiffany’s catalogs, and gawk at the windows in the Diamond District when I’m in New York City. But my favorite pieces of jewelry contain no gold and no precious stones. Instead, they’re made from rubber tubing, scrap fabric, lampwork beads, copper, steel, and craft wire.
I have a bracelet I love from an artist who wraps aquarium tubing tightly with embroidery thread and fabric, then embellishes it with buttons. The materials, I would guess, cost about $3.00. It never ceases to attract attention when I wear it.
As a jewelry maker, everything I see is sized up as possible adornment: leaves, seed pods, paper, photographs, metal eyelets, steel washers, bottle caps, broken glass . . . anything! And many of those things end up in my jewelry. I’ve drilled sea glass, made bezels around pebbles, and put leaves into resin.
An easy way to show off found objects is to just wrap wire around them. I’ve made very pretty earrings out of pottery shards wrapped with 26-gauge wire as simply as if I were tying ribbon around a package.
One of the best results of the skyrocketing costs of silver and gold is that base metals have become the rage in jewelry. Copper, brass, steel and aluminum wire are very inexpensive and quite effective in jewelry design. You can buy copper and steel wire in the hardware store and silver-plated or craft wire in your local craft store. You don’t have to break the bank and you’ll be right in vogue if you’re wearing copper and steel wire jewelry.
If you’re a beader who’s always wanted to venture into wire, it’s a perfect time. Order your digital copy of Easy Wire today. It’s filled with over 50 simple wire projects made with six of the most widely used wire techniques — jump rings, simple loops, wrapped loops, coils, spirals and texturing — each one illustrated step by step. Beautiful necklace, bracelet, and earring designs combined with resin, clay, glass beads, pearls, and crystals – something for everyone. Plus an additional gallery of 30 earring designs for inspiration, tips from the pros, and a glossary of all things wire. Go for it! You know you want to!
Cool Waters Bracelet
by Denise Peck
Steel wire lends a rustic touch to beautiful porcelain beads. This free preview project from the new issue of Easy Wire is no longer available. (Preview ended October 31, 2008.) Please see the magazine for complete project instructions.
Denise Peck is editor in chief of Step by Step Wire Jewelry magazine, senior editor of Jewelry Artist, and author of the new book, Wire Style. Denise will be teaching classes at BeadFest Santa Fe in 2009 and recently finished filming a DVD of her Beaded Viking Knit Bracelet workshop. An editor by trade and a lifelong lover of jewelry, she was able to pursue both when she joined Lapidary Journal in 2004. Denise has a bench jeweler's certificate from Studio Jeweler's Ltd.