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!

Lighting Up Your Life!

Started yesterday, and finished lunchtime today, these earrings feature mookite, Botswana agate, amethyst and red manmade crystals. The findings are handmade.

Chandeliers

Chandeliers

I departed from jewellery making briefly, to make some novelty items for the grandchildren.  Here’s one as a sample:

Wyatt

Wyatt


I’d like to point you to an online shop for handmade jewellery.  CinLynn Design and Boutique offers some really beautiful jewellery, and her prices are extraordinarily fair!  In fract, having seen many of the items she has made, I’ve even been converted to pearls!  You certainly won’t regret visiting her shop!

Give Us A Ring Anytime…

A few days ago, when we were making the Trees of Life, I found an amethyst chip that struck me as being perfect for a ring!  Amethyst being Jenny’s birthstone, it just had to be made for her, of course 🙂  I’d had a few goes at making rings but I’d never been entirely happy with them.  This time, it turned out much better!  In fact, I’ve been asked to make one  like it for a friend 🙂  Have to get some more amethyst chips first! LOL!  Many of these rings have the actual ring wrapped with a lighter wire, but I opted not to wrap this one.

Amethyst Ring

Amethyst Ring

There are many sites online that can help if you’re inmterested in wire working.  One of the best is Wire-Sculpture.com, take a look at Gold Filled Wire for one of their popular lines of wire!  You’ll find that there’s a wealth of information there.  CGMaille.com and MAIL (Maille Artisans International League) are excellent sites for information on chain maille.  I certainly recommend having  a go – it’s very rewarding!

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

 

Beads of Clay

I was recently persuaded to have a go with polymer clay by Jenny. I’ll admit that one thing I was lacking was confidence! Combine that with no more than scraps of knowledge and I was definitely not working from a position of strength. Regardless, I had a vague idea of something to make as a major item, plus some smaller items. Of the smaller items, one set will appear at a later date: filigree bead caps. The rest of the items were all used in this project! I used Sculpey clay, which is less prone to staining hnds or oher surfaces.

In addition, this project features, in its simplest form, another new activity: Gizmo wire coiling! The Gizmo is a simple tool that can be used to achieve some remarkable results. In essence, it makes coiling wire extremely easy, and it’s in this most basic way tht I used it for this project, using light wires.

Sculpey Garden Necklace

Sculpey Garden Necklace

Sculpey Garden Necklace Close-up

Sculpey Garden Necklace Close-up

 

The close-up shows the polymer clay elements more clearly. The pendant has peridot and amethyst chps embedded in it, which are supposed to suggest flowers. The hexagonal bead and the three yellow beads lead up to the gemstone beads of the neckace. It is rich in gemstones! Aventurine chips, smoky quartz nuggets, amethyst chips, Picasso jasper rondelles, snowflake obsidian rounds and garnet rounds all combine with brown, red and bright copper wire in creating the necklace.

Plaiting

I was watching JewelleryMaker the other morning and the guest designer (sorry, his name escapes me) explained a technique that I really liked the idea of.  It’s very simple: plaiting the stringing material!  Done right, it can give the impression of chain.  Of course, I had to try it out as soon as I could!

I have fallen in love with a reel of bright 24 gauge copper wire (from Bead Smith).  It’s wonderful to work with!  I guesstimated a length of it based on making a bracelet.  With this cut into three equal(ish) pieces, I tied one end in a loose knot and fixed this to an anchoring point, with a foldback clip.  I then commenced plaiting the three strands – yes! just like plaiting hair.  Once I’d gone to a length I chose arbitrarily, I slipped a 4mm garnet round onto the middle strand.  I added another garnet each time the same strand became the middle one (assuming that that would space the garnets reasonably equally, which it did), until there were five garnets threaded on.  I then finished plaiting the strands to match the length before the first garnet.  It was now time to fit it to Jenny’s wrist, to fit her as she preferred.  I now made one end into a loop, anchoring the end to itself and trimming the excess.  The other end, I bent back about 1.5cm so that it could simply be hooked through the loop. The cut end of this hook will “grip” the plaited wire by just wrapping it gently.

Red Heat of Love Bracelet

Red Heat of Love Bracelet

This bracelet was apparently loved by everybody who saw it!  In fact, I’ve since made two more….

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