Playing with Wire


I’ve been fascinated with wire for as long as I can remember.

I love its versatility and strength for jewelry making. You can bend it into shapes, use it for connections and wrap it around beads. And it’s such an accessible form of metal, requiring only a few simple hand tools to manipulate into a beautiful creation.

When I was visiting my son and his family in Albuquerque last November, we visited a LBS, Mama’s Minerals. It was a good thing that Brendan was with me or I would have become lost in the vortex of bead lust, putting myself into extreme debt and not being able to close my suitcase! If you’re ever in Albuquerque in search of beads, I recommend a stop at this amazing store.

Anyway, we had decided to create a bracelet for my SIL for Christmas and it was up to Bren to choose the beads. I love his choice, don’t you? Before he started his quest, I gently suggested beads that had a southwest feel to them and these Saturn jasper beads he chose, in bands of turquoise and brown, are just perfect.

I love the look of the antiqued, coiled wire against the striking banding in the stone.

Shortly after I came home, I picked up Kerry Bogert’s book, Totally Twisted: Innovative Wirework & Art Glass Jewelry, at the library and became enchanted with Kerry’s colorful wire designs. I chose the project on page 88, “Framed”, for the bracelet.

You can’t really tell from the photos but the wire coils are made from copper wire and the wire wraps on the beads, as well as the clasp, are made from sterling silver wire. I love the look of mixed metals and silver and copper are my favorites.

This was a great project to hone my wireworking skills, especially for wire coiling. I used a tiny double pointed knitting needle for that job.

I love this design so much that I think I’m going to make a bracelet for myself now! I have the beads picked out already – round coins of earthy Owyhee jasper. This is a great description I came across recently – “soft earthy colors of clay, teal, sage, brick, sand, umber with brush strokes of bark brown”. Wow.  It’s a beautiful picture jasper, mined in southern Idaho/eastern Oregon.

When I was a kid, I owned a well thumbed, dog-eared copy of a pocket-sized rocks and minerals book. I used to pour over that book for hours…I just love rocks.

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12 comments on “Playing with Wire

  1. Sandy says:

    That is a beautiful piece, Karen. Very professional. I love wire too, but I haven’t made something this beautiful.

  2. artandtea says:

    Thanks so much, Sandy! It was a fun piece to make.

  3. Kerry says:

    I love how your bracelet turned out and the mixed metals are beautiful. I am honored that you were inspired by my book. Keep up the beautiful wirework!

  4. Cindy says:

    Sandy, your bracelet is just gorgeous…just look at that craftmanship! Each and every coil and link is perfect. You are a wireworking natural. This is one of my favorite projects in Totally Twisted as well.

    • Cindy says:

      Karen….ooops! Was just looking at the comment above when I typed “Sandy” instead of Karen! Just noticed this when I hit the Post Comment button. 😦 Sorry about that!

  5. artandtea says:

    Hi Kerry! Oh yes, I was very much inspired by your lovely designs, in fact, I rarely buy jewelry books these days (I own way too many books, lol) but I purchased a copy of yours because I loved it so much! Your work – both lampwork and wirework – is amazing. Thanks for being there and for visiting me! Come back and visit anytime. 🙂

    No problem, Cindy. 😉 Thanks for your very kind words about my bracelet. And thanks for your inspiration, too!

  6. Judy Shea says:

    My heart be still. Karen, just beautiful. I can’t “wrap”..ha get it? my brain around this skill and talent you have. BRAVO!

  7. artandtea says:

    Thanks, Judy dear. You always make me smile. 🙂

  8. Bobbie says:

    OMG, Karen. What a fabulous job you did. YIKES! I am interested to know what brand tools you use. Did you use a coiling tool for the coiling? If you finish a bracelet you are planning to make for yourself, please bring it to the next guild meeting.

  9. artandtea says:

    Thanks Bobbie! I use Sears Craftsmen pliers and wire cutters I purchased about 15 years ago. I used a tiny dp knitting needle for coiling the wire.

  10. Amy Crawley says:

    Beautiful bracelet, Karen. I love the combination of wire and stone. Brendan did a great job picking out the stones too. I’m sure your SIL loved the bracelet too.

  11. artandtea says:

    Thanks Amy! Yes, she did. I have a picture of her with it in my FB photo album and she has a big smile on her face. 😀

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