Are you fascinated by the intricate and mesmerizing world of wire art? Do you yearn to create your own unique jewelry pieces, adorned with beautifully crafted wire shapes? Look no further, as we delve into the captivating art of forming shapes out of wire.
Whether you’re a beginner eager to learn the basics or an experienced wire artist seeking to expand your repertoire, this blog post will guide you step-by-step on how to bring life to wire, transforming it into captivating shapes such as hoops, leaves, kites, and more. So gather your tools, ignite your imagination, and let’s embark on a journey of wire artistry that will unleash your creative potential.
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Meet Susan Thomas, an expert wire artist who has a passion for creating beautiful shapes out of wire. Today, she is excited to share her knowledge with you. Susan loves using heavier gauge wires to form various shapes like leaves, kites, and circles.
These shapes serve as the foundation for unique jewelry pieces such as big hoop earrings or pendants adorned with beautiful stones. Learning this skill adds a fun and versatile element to your jewelry-making repertoire.
To begin, Susan advises having the necessary tools on hand. The essentials include a round nose plier, a chain nose plier, and a flush cutter. Additionally, she finds a flat nose plier helpful for this particular technique.
Other metalworking tools like a chasing hammer and a bench block come in handy for hardening and reshaping the wire. Don’t forget Susan’s trusty rawhide hammer, a versatile tool for her creations.
Susan recommends having some shaping tools as well. A ring mandrel is excellent for shaping wire, while a bracelet mandrel is perfect for forming wire into bracelets. Specialized tools like her favorite triangle mandrel are great for making unique shapes.
As for supplies, all you need is some heavier gauge wire, such as 16 gauge, 18 gauge, or 14 gauge, depending on the desired thickness and sturdiness of your shapes.
Let’s dive into the process. Susan starts with a basic shape: the hoop. Hoop earrings are a timeless classic that she adores. She takes a length of 16 gauge wire, about a foot long, and cuts it with her flush cutter.
Using a round mandrel or a dowel, she shapes the wire into a hoop by overlapping the wires on either side and securing them tightly to the mandrel. For symmetry, Susan often works on two hoops simultaneously. Then, she bends one piece of wire at an angle to create a loop at the top, which serves as the attachment point.
Using her flat nose plier, she wraps the wire around the other side a couple of times and trims off the excess. A simple adjustment with the round nose plier creates a neat loop, and voila! You have a lovely pair of hoop earrings. If desired, Susan suggests hammering the shape gently with a rawhide hammer or flattening it on a bench block for added precision.
Now, let’s move on to the leaf shape. Susan grabs another foot-long wire and folds it in half using her flat nose plier. By squeezing the folded wire tightly, she creates a pointed bottom, emphasizing its natural leaf-like appearance.
Opening up the wire slightly to form a V-shape, Susan places it on a ring mandrel or dowel to achieve the desired curvature. For more definition, she gently squeezes the bottom of the leaf. Next, she follows the same process as with the hoop, bending one wire at an angle, wrapping it around the other wire, and securing it in place.
Trimming off the excess and creating a loop at the top completes the leaf shape. Hammering or shaping on a bench block can refine and strengthen the leaf, depending on personal preference.
Lastly, Susan introduces a fascinating tool called the triangle mandrel. With this tool, she demonstrates how to craft a kite shape out of wire. She selects another foot of wire and places it between the jaws of the triangle mandrel, closing it to create a complete triangle.
By adjusting the opening of the triangle, she can customize the size of the kite. Squeezing the two sides together, Susan ensures a secure shape. Following the same wrapping technique as before, she finishes off the kite shape by trimming the excess wire, bending it to the side, and creating a loop at the top.
Once you’ve mastered these basic shapes, you can experiment with different variations and combinations. For example, Susan often incorporates gemstones or beads into her wire shapes. She attaches them by creating small wire loops or by wrapping the wire around the stone securely. This adds an extra element of beauty and customization to her jewelry pieces.
To take your wire shapes to the next level, you can explore various wire-wrapping techniques. These techniques involve using thinner gauge wires to wrap around your basic shapes, creating intricate patterns and designs. This opens up a whole new realm of creative possibilities, allowing you to create intricate wire pendants, wire-wrapped gemstone earrings, and more.
Susan suggests practicing with different wire gauges and experimenting with different shaping tools to find your preferred style and aesthetic. You can also try using different materials like copper, sterling silver, or even colored wire to achieve unique looks. Remember, wire art is all about exploring your creativity and allowing the wire to take shape in unexpected ways.
As you gain more experience and confidence in wire art, you can expand your skills further by learning techniques such as wire weaving, wire coiling, and wire soldering. These advanced techniques require additional tools and knowledge but can result in stunning and intricate wire jewelry designs.
Lastly, Susan encourages you to join local jewelry-making or wire art communities where you can connect with other enthusiasts, attend workshops, and learn from experienced artists. Sharing your creations and getting feedback from others can be incredibly inspiring and help you grow as a wire artist.
Remember, wire art is a continuous learning process, and each piece you create is a unique expression of your creativity. So have fun, embrace the imperfections, and let your imagination guide you as you explore the fascinating world of wire art jewelry.