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!

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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

 

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

Looking to Christmas

Well, I’ve definitely gotten hooked on jewellery making 😉. Today I ordered Christmas presents for both Jenny and myself 😄. Placed the order with JewelleryMaker.com, for a chasing hammer and steel block (Jenny’s) and a small tool set (mine – shame they only do pink 😝). I also ordered a bead mat and bead tray for myself (though Jenny will probably take them for wrapping with the tool set!). While I was at it, I also ordered a set of gemstone strands that had somehow survived being price slashed! Sodalite and jasper – beautiful set.

I really need to build up my stash of gemstones. I’ve very few left, mostly peridot chips. Of course, it would be so much easier to get a good size stash if I could afford to buy more – at the moment, I’m usually using up the few gemstones I’ve bought in no time at all 😄

That’s all for now. Hopefully the next post will be of more interest!

Getting Started

Jewellery making is one of those activities where you can make a start without a huge load of stuff.  However,I really don’t recommend starting without certain basic items!  Yes, that means making a significant investment but you will not really hurt for it.

So what are the basics? I have no wish to be controversial about this, so just let me stress the point that this is my personal view. A good set of tools are going to be very important, however don’t be tempted into buying just any tools!  Poor quality tools are simply going to frustrate and dishearten you.  Also, you’ll usually find that it is more economical to buy a set rather than buying individual tools.

In addition to a basic tool set, a bead mat and a bead tray are going to be very useful. Bead mats are a soft, feltlike material, which stops beads rolling about.  Bead trays help in designing and preparing to start projects these two you should shop around as there is a ridiculously wide price range.  For example, we’ve seen bead mats priced at anything from £0.50 to £7.50!  The next thing is storage.  This can take almost any form but, personally, I like to use trays that have snap lids and several compartments, preferably the type where the compartments can be configured to suit.

That’s all for now.  Have beady fun!

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