Wire wrapping has become one of the most popular jewelry making techniques in the industry. It looks extremely difficult but the truth is once you master the basic techniques, the sky’s the limit.
I was first drawn to this technique when I saw a beautiful amethyst gemstone which had been wire wrapped in silver at a bead show. It not only accentuated the color and body of the stone but it added flair and elegance to the stone, like nothing I had ever seen before. At that time I was taking a basic jewelry making course but after seeing that stone, I became curious and bought my first roll of wire.
It was then that I learned something valuable about this technique and its process. There are five skills one needs to master in wire wrapping:
- The Wire. When setting out to learn wire wrapping, it is imperative that you take time to learn about the various gauges of wire so that you know which gauge and type you’ll enjoy working with. Something important to know is the higher the number, the thinner the wire. Play with the gauges and feel how different they are to work with and in no time you’ll become best friends with one of them.
2. It’s All In The Wrist. I don’t care how many wire wrap artists you put in the same room, creating the same project, using the same exact design, the end result will differ from the person next to you, even if only slightly. The reason for this is because it’s all in your wrist. Writers use the same letters in the alphabet that everyone else has access to but the difference is in the way they construct words to formulate their voice and tone throughout their work. Wire wrapping is no different. All the creative energy you muster flows through your body and “your voice” is in your wrist. Your wrist is what controls the way you bend and form your wire, it’s where you develop style.
3. Lose Control. Guess what? When you’re first starting out and learning how to wrap your very first bead, allow yourself room to lose control. Relax and just experiment by playing with the wire so you can get used to handling it. You don’t have to try getting it right the first time, that’s way too much pressure to put on yourself. Have fun and flow with this new discovery. The look you are going for will come in time. Trust me.
4. Patience. Training your wire to do exactly what you want is like training a new puppy. The puppy is new to you and wants to do things its way because it doesn’t know what you want it to do so it does what it wants. I’m totally am not joking, like seriously the wire has a mind. The last thing you want to do is choke the heck out of the wire or squeeze and tug at it so bad that you strip it. Be gentle. Be patient. It will do exactly what you want when you love on it.
5. Practice. Practice is key. You probably thought I was going to start by saying that practice makes perfect. Nope. Absolutely not. There’s no such thing as perfection. I will say that practice makes you better. The key is to continue practice your technique until you’re satisfied with the outcome. And then….practice some more until you move past satisfaction. You’ll become a wire wrap diva in no time!
What’s the one thing you’ve learned while creating jewelry? Share your thoughts, I’d love to hear them.