Every now and then I like to take some time to revisit the basics of beading. After years of making wrapped loops and head-pin dangles, it can be easy to stop paying attention to how I am actually executing the basic techniques and just let autopilot take over.
So when my coworker, Kate, asked if I had some time today to practice making wrapped-loop links, I decided to seize the opportunity to brush up on all of my basics. I was surprised to find that I had developed subtle habits and strategies that I never would have noticed if I hadn't slowed down and thought about each step I take when performing these familiar techniques--things like holding my wire cutters at a certain angle so as to get the closest cut I can, or the way that I use my thumb to guide a length of wire around round-nose pliers to achieve an even, round loop.
I would encourage you to take a few minutes sometime soon to sit down with some scrap materials and concentrate on practicing the techniques that you use every day in your jewelry designs. It doesn't take long and you just need a few tools, a bit of wire, and some spare beads.
We kept our work stations to the bare minimum:
We found that it was really helpful to open up to the Stringing 101: Basic Techniques section that appears at the end of each issue of Jewelry Stringing to review each technique before we actually started practicing.
Below are the wrapped-loop link, wire spiral, and variations on wrapped-loop bails that I was working on. They certainly aren't perfect!
In the end, I came away from this exercise with a few different ways that I can improve on each technique that I practiced.
Make some time to revisit the basics--you might be surprised by how much you can still learn!