Duality In Action…

A Preamble

I must confess that as far as religion is concerned, I’m something of an enigma!  I don’t profess to any religious leaning.  Like most people in the West, I was brought up in a Christian society, though not one that has taken its religion seriously since the  beginning of the 20th Century.  Still, as a child I was exposed to Christian imagery and teaching.  What’s more, I lived half way between two churches 🙂  That said, my father is, and has been since his service during the Second World War, an atheist and didn’t hide that fact.  So I think that was a fairly balanced upbringing with regard to religion.  Naturally, in common with many others, I’ve been through periods when I’ve sought for something that I could believe in with that blind faith that is such a mystery to most, and is at times envied by the majority for the comfort it seems to provide.  One thing is true: I have constantly maintained a respect for others’ beliefs!

So what am I babbling about really?  Well, I frequently find myself making crosses!  Yesterday was one of those occasions!

The Point of This Post

I wanted, inexplicably, to make a cross.  More, I wanted it to reflect the wire working I’ve been doing lately.  And furthermore, I wanted something that was genuinely different!  Well, I believe I achieved all of that, happily 🙂  I first made a cross out of 0.8mm (20 swg) silver plated copper wire, starting and finishing at the top, where the two cut ends could be made into a bail, which is a loop of the two strands twisted together, and then the longest tail used to create a wrap beneath the loop.  I then hammered all the wire except the bail, until the round wire was entirely flat, at which point I used the ball of the ball pein hammer to create a texture.  This whole process, I calculated, would make it easier to get the wire I’d use shortly to stay where I put it!

The next step involved first attaching silver 28 gauge craft wire from The Bead Smith (I don’t know whether this gauge is SWG or AWG!  If anybody out there does know, I’d love to hear from you :)) at the bottom of the cross, leaving about half an inch (12.7mm) tail, wound fou times round the bottom then four more times across the bottom.  I now started the beading.  First on the wire were two wooden beads.  I wrapped the wire fully round the cross, then, and made sure it fixed the beads in place.  Next came two faux pearls.  I didn’t make a full wrap after that though.  I proceeded to repeat these two beaded wrap steps until I got to the intersection with the arms of the cross.  I then took the wire to the far end of the left arm and repeated the process used in the vertical.  On reaching the intersection, I took the wire to the far end of the right arm and repeated what I’d done on the left arm.

When I returned to the intersection again, I now inserted a largish amethyst chip on the face with the wooden beads on it and a large faux pearl on the pearl beaded side, making sure that they were both seated firmly!  Finally, I beaded the top vertical section as the rest had been done.  All that remained to be done then was to hide the starting and finishing tails of the wrapping wire.  Happy with the cross pendant, I attached a small jump ring to the bail.  At first, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do about turning the pendant into a necklace 🙂  In the end, I opted for a fairly narrow cord, on the cut ends of  which I used small cord grips.  A couple more small jump rings and a ring clasp and I was done!

Cross (pendant)

The two faces of a beaded cross (pendant).

WHy did I choose to express this duality of the cross?  I’m not altogether sure how my mind works sometimes LOL!  Quite simply, the wood represents the wood of the crucifixion cross itself and the humility Christianity encourages in believers.  The pearls were a consequence of a vague feeling that they had some significance to Christianity!  My head is full of trivia, not all very clear and with no indication of where it all originates from 😀  However, in Christianity the pearl is a symbol of purity, tears, love and fertility and is believed to ward off evil.  The symbolism of purity, love and fertility (and possibly tears?) explains why pearls are associated with brides.  I’ll admit to the amethyst having been simply an addition that just seemed to fit with the wooden beads aesthetically!

I have tested this and, contrary to my fears, the cross sits perfectly even when the pearl side is against the body meaning that it rests on the single large pearl!

Another web site

Yesterday, I came upon another very good jewellery making site!  How-to-Make-Jewelry.com provides a considerable fund of information on jewellery making, including advice on selling your creations.  It is well worth exploring!





This pretty necklace has a mix of gemstone and man-made beads, plus lengths of coiled wire. It’s made on three strands, two gold and one blue. The featured gemstones are aventurine, smoky quartz and Picasso Jasper. The coiled wire I made using the Gizmo. The man-made include two heart beads, which I put one on each side. I also made sure that the bead weaving is mirrored, so the weaving on the left is the reverse of that on the right. I wouldn’t say Jenny liked it but I almost lost my hand when she saw it! LOL

St. Valentine’s Day

With St. Valentine’s Day closing in, I reckoned I should do something about it!  We actually rarely do much at all about St Val, as we feel we don’t need a special day to confirm what’s true every day.  However, with the Hell that’s gripped us over the past two years, with my health worrying poor Jenny so terribly, I thought that some small gesture would be appropriate.  I decided to make her a necklace…




I just hope that Jenny likes it…

Bead Weaving

Over the last fortnight I’ve discovered the joys (and frustrations) of bead weaving, using mostly seed beads.  There are many free patterns on the internet, and Jenny has several books.  In terms of complexity, it’s certainly challenging!  Far more patience is required, too.  Making jewellery with gemstones is a wholly different activity.  There may be areas where you have the choice between man-made or natural, but there are definitely times when man-made is the only option.  If you’re interested, I recommend visiting Sandra Halpenny’s site.

"Elena" necklace

"Elena" necklace

Bracelet - bead weaving

Bracelet - bead weaving

The Pleasure of Sharing

For the last few days, Jenny and I have shared our jewellery making hobby.  We’ve both been working on various projects, though for different reasons.  Most of what Jenny has made will be used for Christmas presents.  Mine, however, are simply a result of the pleasure I derive from making things!  It’s been rather magical though, both of us sat here surrounded by beads, findings and such, each enjoying the company of the other and sharing the trials and triumphs.

Obviously, as Jenny’s works are for gifts, I don’t want to risk them being seen so I’ll just display some of the pieces I’ve made:

To Boldly Go….

OK, so I’m not going where “no man has gone before” as in the quotation!  In fact, there are many men and women making jewellery.  Probably more than ever before in our history!  It is, however, very new for me!  I’ve spent years watching my wife Jenny working on various beading projects, from 3D animals and flowers to exquisite jewellery sets.  She’s tended to work mostly with seed beads and crystals as she loves their delicacy and flexibility.  Of course, I said on many occasions that there was no way I could do anything like it, especially with beads that I could barely see, let alone find the holes in!

A few months ago, in the wee, small hours of the morning (I have major problems with sleeping!), television was so entertaining that I was browsing through the hundreds of entries in the on-screen guide provided by Sky.  It was then that I discovered JewelleryMaker.Com.  I was immediately impatient for Jenny to get up LOL!  I just knew that I’d found a very valuable channel for her beading hobby.  What I didn’t realise, of course, was that my fate was sealed!  The more I watched, the more fascinated I became.  Before I knew what was happening, I was hooked!  I just had to get some gemstones and have a go…

I purchased a strand of purple/pink banded agate from Magpie Jewellery and a strand of peridot chips, of picture jasper rounds and a half-strand of faceted amethyst rounds, plus a set of antique gold tone heart-and-bar toggle clasps from The Crafty Beggar.  I’ve used findings provided by Jenny to produce several pieces, some of which are below:

%d bloggers like this: