Would You Believe That's Just a Wire? Simply Elegant Wire Jewelry

Jul 11, 2014

If there's anyone who's inspiring me to work with more wire lately, it's my good friend and fellow jewelry artist Heather Sorrell. I met Heather a few years ago when she and I were both doing the farmer's market and craft show circuit up here in the Adirondacks, and we found ourselves setting up our jewelry booths next to each other. Over the course of the summer farmer's market season, we traded and bartered with each other, and we learned new jewelry-making skills from each other, too! I taught her how to do bead embroidery, and she taught me a thing or two about wire jewelry.

I've watched Heather's beautiful wire jewelry evolve into a showcase of clean, flowing lines and beautifully simple metals. I asked her a few questions about her journey from bead stringing to making this elegant line of wire jewelry that she now sells at shows and through her Etsy shop, Apogee Jewelry.

Q: How did you find yourself making wire jewelry?

Beginning to work with wire all started with simple wire wrapping -- making circles, teardrops and adding beads for embellishment. I wanted to add another level to my strung jewelry and thought that working with wire was the next logical step. I love the tones found in  copper and the classic simplicity of sterling silver, so making wire jewelry was a great fit for me. 

Q: Along your journey to making wire jewelry, what would you say is the most difficult skill you've mastered?

As a mostly self-taught jeweler, I have moved slowly through from simple bead stringing to cold metalwork, chain maille, bead embroidery, and more recently, soldering with sterling silver. The soldering has been the most difficult technique for me so far. It isn't a hard skill to learn, but mastery of the different variables has, at times, been a challenge. I've learned how hot to keep the flame, how much solder to use, how to clean my pieces, and what gauge of wire works best for my designs. But it's been incredibly fun, and I love seeing how I can take raw wire and shape it into beautiful, wearable jewelry!

Q: If I wanted to learn more about making wire jewelry, where would you recommend I begin?

I didn't know where to begin when I wanted to embark on working with wire. The first place I started was with books and online, looking for inspiration and getting a feel for how others accomplished making beautiful jewelry from a coil of wire.  I started simple by just doing things like making a teardrop, wire wrapping the end, and then hammering for strength and visual appeal. I would tell anyone who was interested in making wire jewelry to get a good book on wire wrapping, a coil of wire and just get started! Starting with copper is a great first step, since the cost of copper wire is so low that you can experiment and allow yourself to have learning experiences (otherwise known as making mistakes) without worrying about the cost. 

Q: What's your favorite part of making wire jewelry?

I love the endless possibilities that have been opened up for me with wire! I can mix metals, add stones and beads, and mix up all the styles and techniques that I've learned over the years to create jewelry that expresses exactly who I am as a designer and an artist.

Are you inspired by these elegant wire jewelry designs, too? Take the next step in your journey to making wire jewelry when you get your copy of Easy Metal Jewelry 2014. With 34 creative, artistic, and easy-to-make wire and metal jewelry projects, you'll look at making jewelry with wire and metals in a whole new way! (And if you just can't wait to get started, it's available in digital format as an instant download, too!)

Have you discovered your own artistic voice yet when it comes to making wire jewelry? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and tell us what you love about making jewelry with wire!

Bead Happy,


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Valbeads wrote
on Jul 14, 2014 11:39 AM

Jennifer: I took a class on wire wrapping bezels, and discovered I really enjoyed it because it gives you the chance to be very creative.  I tend to make swirls and curlicues to finish a piece.  I've since gone on to teach myself to make wire wrap rings, and have an earring book that teaches me how to design my own earring frames, etc.  I believe Interweave has plugged it several times.  It is "The Earring Style Book," by Stephanie Wells, and it has become an integral part of my jewelry making library.  It's very easy to understand.  Thanks for highlighting the wonderful world of wire!