One benefit of my (very cool) job is that I often get to preview new jewelry-making books. I felt especially lucky this week, because I got to have a sneak peek at Handcrafted Wire Findings by wire artists Denise Peck and Jane Dickerson. Rather than wax on, I'll just cut to the chase: This will be a must-have book for anyone who makes jewelry and is interested in making their own findings. It's a beautiful guide filled with 30 useful, innovative wire finding projects, from ear wires to bails, connectors to clasps. Each project has very clear step-by-step photos, so it's like Denise and Jane are sitting with you, showing you how. The mechanics of the book are great, but it's the projects themselves that are especially wonderful. It's as though they have whole-heartedly thrown their creative spirits into each project, offering unique finding designs, some of which I've never seen before. The plus side is that many seem very doable, very easy to make.
I was so excited to see Denise and Jane's new book that I contacted them right away to talk with them about it and to see what they've been up to lately:
How-to photo from Handcrafted Wire Findings
Q: Wow, Jane, it
seems like you just released Chain Style,
and Denise just released Wire Style 2 (wonderful books, by the way!).
What possessed you two to collaborate on a new book so quickly?
Jane: I really
wanted a book like this for myself, showing how to make lots of cool
findings, and there wasn't one on the market. So, I went to my good friend and
wire master, Denise, and asked her if she would like to write it with me. She
loved the idea, and we both agreed how wonderful it would be to have an
essential guide like this on our workbenches.
Q: Are the
projects in the book easy to make? Can people of all skill levels make their own findings?
Denise: For sure.
Our intent was to make this accessible to everyone. Most of these pieces take
no more than five minutes to make! Even if you don’t get into using a torch,
anyone can make their own ear wires, clasps, and links. If you can make a loop,
you can do just about anything with wire.
Twisted Toggle Clasp
Q: I especially
like the eight earring finding designs you've designed for the book. Do you have a
design philosophy when it comes to making earrings?
Denise: Simple, simple,
simple! I like uncomplicated designs that showcase a beautiful bead or a
special wire flourish. If I use an unusual ear wire, that adds another little
touch of interest.
Q: I see that most of the projects in the book are done in sterling silver. Can
they be done in other metals, too?
Jane: You can use all types of materials for
these projects. We chose sterling silver because both of us like the look of patinaed
metal. But you could easily use copper, Artistic Wire, brass, or whatever you
like. The only times you have to consider the type of wire is if you're using a torch. Fine silver fuses to itself, eliminating the need for solder.
Twisted Toggle Clasp used in a bracelet
Q: Quite a few projects in the book require a torch. Do folks without torches
need to make a big investment when setting up a "hot" studio?
Jane: No, the only thing you need is a
fire-proof work surface like a piece of sheet metal (or cookie sheet), a fire
brick, and a hand-held butane torch. Butane torches come in many price points
and we’ve tried them all. They’ll all do what you need to make the pieces in
Q: What's on your
workbench these days? Got any more books planned?
Jane: We have two
other books we are discussing right now that we'll be working on in 2012. Our
collaboration has been so much fun, it's a great way to write a book!
Denise: I have a
large collection of unusual charms and dangles I’ve been amassing. So I’m busy
making great fused and stamped rings on which to hang them and specialty links
to connect them to the ring. I love that look!
Thanks, Denise and Jane, for inspiring me to get out my pliers and wire to try some of the fun findings in your book. And hey, dear reader, check out Handcrafted Wire Findings (on bookshelves mid-May). I'll bet you'll be inspired, too!