Maille and more

In amongst the clutter of ideas that is my mind, there appeared a new phrase: chain maille. Now I know where it came from – Jenny!  She became enamoured of this fascinating technique for using wire in making jewellery.  It was almost inevitable, then, that I’d become infected eventually.  It finally happened during our wire working activities at the weekend!   I had resisted but then it became necessary for me to actually get involved in order to provide a suitable chain for a pendant.  I won’t pretend that it isn’t a challenge, but the rewards are great.  In fact, it provides a huge number of possibilities for jewellery making!

My first piece uses the Helm technique:

My Heart In The Maille

My Heart In The Maille

The stone appeared earlier, in the The News on the Wire post.  It isn’t a gemstone, as far as I know, but I’ve actually had it for many years, since it was picked up on a local beach.  I should say here that it is actually illegal to remove anything except trash from beaches!  It’s a simple fact that if everybody did remove say a kilo’ of stones from a shingle beach, that beach would soon be facing a crisis unlike any natural erosion!  In this case, I had maybe six stones, ranging from very small to barely medium sized.  One or two stones, rarely removed, shouldn’t create a significant problem.

There are numerous resources on the web for wire working and chain maille.  Wire working is something I’d recommend every jewellery maker have a go at.  You’ll need a good selection of wire gauges, and colours, and a basic set of tools, to which you can add a chasing hammer (a small ball pein hammer) and a steel bench block to act as an anvil.  For chain maille, you’ll need much the same plus mandrels and other equipment for making your own jump rings (unless you intend to buy ready made jump rings in bulk), to which you can add: patience!

Advertisements

The News On The Wire…

Yesterday (Sunday), saw an increase in activity involving wire. Jenny and I were both working on different projects, with the sole exception being wire wrapping undrilled stones. In fact, I made a fairly good number of things. Unfortunately, I don’t yet have a photo of one of the items I’m particularly pleased with. I find wieworking challenging but it offers vast possibilities for expressing what creativity I own 😉  This is exhibited by the first item I have to show:

Summer Days Comb

Summer Days Comb

This is a first. Hopefully I can improve on the look and how to make decorative combs. As I was making it all up as I went, I’m kind of pleased with the result. The comb was well hammered to help harden the wire, before the gemstones were added.  The gemstones were aventurine, Botswana agate and mookite chips.

Second is a variation on the Tree of Life, using a single interesting stone, which has no value but for that:

Tree of Life Pendant - Front

Tree of Life Pendant – Front

Tree of Life Pendant - Back

Tree of Life Pendant – Back

Third, another piece involved wire wrapping an undrilled stone.  This was kind of heart-shaped and a very deep red-brown.  I couldn’t possibly not turn it into a pendant:

Red Stone Heart Pendant - Front

Red Stone Heart Pendant – Front

Red Stone Heart Pendant - Back

Red Stone Heart Pendant – Back

 

By Moonlight…

Very recently, our eldest (Damien) gave me some beads, including moonstone!  Now moonstone is one of my birthstones, so it was very appropriate.  It was essential that I make something special, with other gems.  After some thought, I decided to make an illusion necklace, combining aventurine and moonstone, on monofilament thread.  It would be my first effort!  I’m quite pleased with the outcome 🙂   Strangely, the moonstone round reacted powerfully to the flash,  producing a fiery glow!

Illusory Moon Necklace

Illusory Moon Necklace

The wire cone I made myself, using my round nose pliers.

In my stash was a strand of Picasso jasper puffy coins.  While using these, I noticed that some had such beautiful markings on their faces that it would be a shame to, effectively, hide them by stringing them normally.  As a result, I turned four of them into a pair of earrings:

Picasso Jasper Earrings

Picasso Jasper Earrings

Half-and-Half

FiftyFifty

FiftyFifty

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

Wrist or Ankle Decor

Why do I always describe things as bracelets if they’re small circlets?   It’s quite wrong of me, of course.  They could, after all, be either bracelets oranklets!  Anyway, whatever they may be, ultimately, here are two of them:

Carnelian Drop Bracelet

Carnelian Drop Bracelet

A gold-look chain with a single wire-wrapped carnelian and custom catch.

Circle of Delights Bracelet

Circle of Delights Bracelet

A charm circlet with garnets, two snowflake obsidian rounds, metal spacer beads and charms that represent (hopefully) things which delight some folk..

                                E     X     T     R    A                               

If you own an iPhone or iPod Touch, Ring Sizer is an app I’m delighted to recommend.  The very clear name of the app sets the standard.  Easy to use but remaining attractive.  You can obtain accurate measurements of existing rings or any finger/thum (no, I haven’t tried it on toes!).  Measurements can be set to whatever national system you prefer.  There’s also a comprehensive conversion chart.

Apps for Beaders and Gem Lovers

I’ve only been a convert to the value of m0bile apps since the end of June 2011, when my family bought me an iPod Touch for my birthday.  Now, I’m lost without that or my iPhone.  I did try a Blackberry but was utterly unimpressed – compared to Apple’s mobile idevices, Blackberry is unbelievably limited and cumbersome.  I’ve not had the opportunity to try an Android or  Windows ‘phone.

With the birth of my interest in beading and gemstones, I started looking around for good apps.  First on my list has to be A Text-Book of Precious Stones for Jewellers and the Gem-Loving Public by Roger Lichfield.  In fact, this work was authored by Frank B. Wade (in 1918) and I assume that Roger Lichfield simply convrted it into an app.  If you’d prefer, you can download the free ebook here.  This work is an excellent reference for anybody who wishes to know more than just the names of gemstones!  Priced at just £0.69 (GBP), it’s worth every penny!

Second on my list is Gemstones by Varietal by Darren Gates.  A pictorial database with over 2000 entries, this app is another excellent reference work.  It supports searching, editing entries and adding your own entries.  This is again priced at just £0.69.  Finally, for now, is jtv from Jewelry Television.  This free app includes the very useful Gemopedia which provides more information on gemstones.  It also includes some very useful videos.

I hope to bring you news of more apps in the future.

A Chain Of Flowers

I’m finding Mary Ellen Harte’s book, A Treasury of Beaded Jewelry: Bead Stringing Patterns for All Ages (published in 1999 by Eagle’s View Publishing Company), a great resource!  The patterns provide what amounts to a set of excellent tutorials.  The concepts are suited to adaptation, opening up limitless possibilities.  So, apart from providing attractive projects, it inspires growth as a jewellery designer.

My first project was the Pansy Necklace:

Pansy Necklace

Pansy Necklace

 

This can, of course, be made in any combination of colours, to suit tastes and bead availability.  This was my first experience in using two beading needles! I’m now working on the Princess Necklace pattern.

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: