Friday, 30 July 2010

The WireWorkers Guild

I'm sure that a lot of you
are away on your Summer
Holidays and if not away,
might be surrounded by
demanding children!
However, for those of you
who have a little 'ME' time
to spare ... here's chance
to create a beautiful
and timeless CLASP,
which is perfect for a
double strand necklace.

I call it:
as it is based on a traditional
Egyptian chain design, which
some of you might already
be familiar with.

I love creating my own clasps, as not only
do they look much better, but I can co-ordinate
the style and gauge of wire with the rest
of the piece so that it becomes totally
integrated and blends perfectly - creating
a finished piece with harmonious continuity.

Below are a few other designs that I create
for necklaces and bracelets.

But now back to the

You will need some 0.8mm (20-gauge) wire,
a hammer & steel stake, round, flat and
chain nosed pliers.

1. To begin, cut approximately 5" (12.5cms) of wire
and double it, by folding in half around the end of
your round nosed pliers.

2. Using your flat nosed pliers, squeeze
the wires together so that they run parallel.
(Optional: Hammer the tip of the doubled
wire end on a steel stake to work-harden).

3. Create spirals on each
end of the wire, curling them
up (outwardly) towards the
doubled end.

4. Using the widest part of your round
nosed pliers, bend the doubled end around
to form a hook. Use the tip of your round
nosed pliers to create a tiny 'lip' at the
end of the doubled hook.

5. To make the 'EYE' LOOP or other side
of the clasp, cut approx. 4" (10cms)
of 0.8mm (20-gauge) wire and fold in
half around your round nosed pliers
to make a loop. As before, start
creating spirals on each cut end.

6. Stop curling the wire when
the spirals are level on each
side and hammer the top loop to
work harden and flatten.

7. Here's the finished item, ready
to be connected by 2 jump rings at
either end, or crimped onto nylon
filament, etc...

I've provided some basic wire measurements
to get you started, but you can use more wire
to increase the length of hook, or create
bigger spirals. Or try working with thicker gauges
for a chunky look for a heavy beaded necklace and
coloured wire for a modern twist. Alternatively,
use your flat-nosed pliers to create a square end
to the 'eye'loop ... just play around
and experiment with the style.

Here's a clasp with a
a 'heart' theme ...

... and finally, here's one of
my new flora clasps.

Be experimental with the wire and invent your
own distinctive findings. These little details
will set your pieces apart from the constant
stream of mass manufactured High Street
retail jewellery.

... and here is the classic Egyptian Spiral Chain
that the clasp is based and inspired by ...

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

The WireWorkers Guild

Look Out for the AUGUST edition

I was unaware, until very recently,
that the magazine was under new
editorship - and it's definitely
had a makeover and is packed with
information and projects ...
well worth a look, if you haven't
seen a copy of it yet!

... and if you go to page 62-63
you'll see my 'Meet & Greet' feature.

Also, if you haven't had a chance to see my new book yet -
well, all I can say is ... don't wait too long ... it's packed
full of projects, with a great diversity of techniques and
styles and will suit the beginner as well as the advanced
wire jeweller, as they will be able to improvise and customise
any of the projects!

I've also recently, had a spark of interest in
people wanting to know how to create a simple
R I N G. I have a whole chapter dedicated
to this in my book ... and in all my other
books too! However, if you're itching
to create something simple that's quick and
only involves one bead and a length of 0.8mm wire,
well, here goes:

MATERIALS: 1 x 8mm faceted bead, 12" (31cms) of
0.8mm silver wire.
TOOLS: Ring triblet or cylindrical mandrel, hammer,
chain- or flat-nosed pliers.

1. Start by cutting 31cms (approx. 12") of 0.8mm wire.
Thread your chosen bead onto the centre of this length
and place the wired bead onto your mandrel, wrapping
the wire around the circular shape, with the two cut
ends projecting out in the front by the threaded bead.

2. Holding everything tightly against the mandrel,
take one of the wires with the tips of your flat/or
chain-nosed pliers and wrap it around the perimeter
of the bead, as tightly as you can.

Keep your ring on the mandrel when you're wrapping the
wire around it - one wire should go around the top
of the bead and the other should be wrapped around the
base. Don't worry too much about keeping the wrapping
too neat - the randomness of it all, is part of the
'charm' of the design!

Use up all the wire, and push the ends into the back
of the ring behind the bead.

Keeping the ring positioned on your mandrel, spend a little time,
re-adjusting the wrapped wire frame by squeezing it with your
flat-nosed pliers around the focal bead until you are totally satisfied.

You can also gently 'stroke' hammer the back shank (2 wires)
of the ring to work harden them.

Alternatively, you can twist or tweak one of the
wires on each side bead, to produce a little
decorative detail - and this will also create a
space between the 'shank' wires at the back of the ring.

This is such a simple, yet effective ring for
a single bead - so have fun experimenting with it!

Variations can be created by using MORE or
THICKER GAUGE wire. Also, try wrapping the ends
around on each side of the bead, near
to the wired mount. Alternatively, you can use
the tips of your pliers to twist and tweak any wires
around the bead to produce wiggled shapes within
the frame surrounding the bead!

(Above) you can see a little bit of 'tweaking' has
been going on - using the tips of your round nosed

(Above) You can use the projecting wires
to secure on either side of the wrapped
bead. Whilst the 'amber' ring, has also
been wrapped around the back 'shank' using
another length of 0.6mm wire, with the ends
securely finished with spiral finials which
are 'stroke' hammered.

... and back to the Spiral Bead Maker for a coiled wire shank.
This ring is created slightly differently and in two parts ...
but it might spark off a few more ideas!


If you are a Guild member and would like exclusive instructions
of how to make these fun flower rings, just:

with subject heading: WWG Flower Rings