Friday, September 28, 2012

Wild Wire Women: First Day!

Our first day of a very intensive wire workshop series began this morning, and I have to hand it to my students, they are very ambitious! And hard working, with great attitudes and patience with the process of learning skills that are entirely new to them. Before we began making things, we talked about the different tools used in wire jewelry making, including pliers, hammers, bench block, cutters, jeweler's saw, and how to flush-cut wire properly. Then we started with a simple project: jump rings. But shortly after that, I challenged my students to twist heavy-gauge wire in a drill to make twisted wire jump rings (see Barbara in the top photo).
Besides learning how to use the different pliers and flush cutters and the Pepe jump ring maker, we also tried out the jeweler's saw. Only one broken blade all morning! I think that must be a record. I also taught the ladies how to make wrapped eye-pin loops and double-wrapped eye-pin loops to make bead connectors for bracelets and necklaces. A lot to learn in just one morning...
We broke for lunch, a fabulous salad bar (if I do say so myself) including organic lettuces, steamed and chilled broccoli, my famous egg salad with white truffle oil and capers, chicken salad, and more... mmmm!
Our lunch also included lots of raspberries, cottage cheese, fresh tomatoes, avocados, green onions, and cauliflower as well as yummy dressings, chips, and beverages. I want my students to be well fed while they're here, because we burn a lot of calories bending all that wire!
Here's Barbara and Iryna just before lunch. Right afterward, we went back into the studio for more wirework intensives! First, a review of what we had already covered. It's really challenging when you're completely new to wire jewelry making, remembering all the steps involved in making even the most basic links and wraps. We reviewed the wrapped eye-pin loops again, and then we made something fun: cage beads. Barbara and Iryna made several, which they linked with their twisted-wire jump rings and other beads.
We also made some cute spiral charms and I can honestly say, these ladies now know how to make spirals with tight belly buttons! By the end of our second session, both ladies had completed a bracelet which we will be artificially aging later, using liver of sulfur.
Now the house is quiet while my guests have a quiet dinner at Gastronome, and I have some time to put the dishes away and finish up my blog post...
Tomorrow, we'll tackle the Metallo del Fiore bangle bracelet, which is going to be lots of fun because there's so much sawing involved, and texturing, engraving metal, dimpling, dapping, filing and polishing. Then we assemble a beautiful bangle bracelet with wire and beads and a handmade clasp, and, time permitting, we'll make some wire charms too.
I'm already looking forward to tomorrow's class—stay tuned!
Happy wrapping,

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