Wire Weave Bangle

Time for a wire weaving project!

I made a wire-weave bangle last week, with a pearl bead duo forming the focal element.

Wire weave bangle

Wire weave bangle

Or it could be a wire-weave tiara, if you ask my favorite model, Penguin. πŸ˜‰

Wire weave tiara?

For this bangle, I used three 16-gauge base wires and a 24-gauge weaving wire, both in a gold color. (Yup, I still use the thick wires that I ordered a long time ago.) I cut the base wires just a tiny bit longer than the intended circumference of the finished bracelet, because I wanted to add some small focal element in the end to actually finish it.

I kept my weaving wire uncut, since I’m still not good at estimating the length of wire I might need. I’d thought of measuring the wire as I unwind more and more of it, but somewhere along the way, I lost track. (This is what happens if you watch movies while working on projects! πŸ™‚ )

I left a margin of about 2-3cm (1″) when I started to weave. The pattern is an uncomplicated one — loop twice around bottom two base wires, loop twice around top two, repeat. The weaving itself was fun, since I also had the aforementioned movie-watching to accompany it. When I reached the end, I left the same margin as the beginning. At each end, I curled the middle base wire into loops, and bent its companion wires around it. That was the difficult part — since these are 16-gauge wires, it’s pretty difficult to make minute adjustments with them, and it was impossible to not nick the wires.

I then gradually curved the entire strip into an open bangle. To close it, I strung two pearl beads onto a length of wire, added eye loops at both ends of the wire and attached it to the loops of the bracelet.

I’m pretty happy with this bangle. πŸ™‚ My next bangle will have a new weave, of course, but I’ll also make at least one more of this one, maybe with a different color of weaving wire, since both my sis and my mom like it!

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Textures and Molds

Now that I have new clay, I went through my paltry stash of textures and molds, and wondered if the items in it work for the techniques that I see in jewelry tutorials and courses. I’ll not be ordering internationally any time soon because of the recent tax restructuring we’ve had here, and it looks like my orders will become more expensive than they already are right now, and burn larger holes in my non-existent women’s jeans pockets. πŸ˜‰

The texture sheets with me are mostly the flowers-and-leaves variety — not really meant for jewelry. There are one or two patterned ones too, which I thought I could use. These are good for applying post-texture surface treatments like Perfect Pearls, but since they’re not that deep, they’re not really suited for much else. I used one of them for making earrings (picture below), and that was as deep a texture as I could get. I couldn’t do much else with it, so ended up adding a border and some Perfect Pearls. As for the other texture sheet, I’d used it to try out my first Sutton Slice recently, and it was hard, hard work — I’d wanted texture sheets with more depth even then. πŸ™‚

Earrings - texture tryout

Earrings – texture tryout

As for the molds, again, most are flowers and such, and a few gear ones that I can probably use for Steampunk jewelry. There were a couple of small ones that I used a while ago to make button beads, which I then used for some beaded jewelry. No larger ones that I could use, though. I finally used a vintage art decor mold to see if it’d work as a pendant, and made a hollow pendant (picture below.) Not too bad, but not too good either. Also, this too depends on the shiny stuff, because trying to use a patterned sheet etc. with this mold will distort the design. I reused a Perfect Pearls bedecked flower that I’d created from a mold for an earlier notebook cover project. This flower can make some nice tiny stud earrings, right?

Pendant - mold tryout

Pendant – mold tryout

Well, at least while I tried these experiments, I realized that I’ve now gotten pretty good with Skinner blends. πŸ˜€ I like the green-to-yellow gradient here. I’m also getting the hang of making hollow beads / pendants, so that’s good.

Later, my sister mentioned that the mold I used was one of her purchases, and then we ended up going through her card-making stash of stamps, which I’d somehow thought was only comprised of flowers and critters. πŸ™‚ Some of the stamps might work for a few polymer clay techniques (hopefully.) There’s also some foils that we bought recently, so I’m looking forward to more experiments!

Another Notebook Cover

Whoo! My first ‘combination’ project from the PCA courses — another notebook cover, which isn’t remotely similar to the first one I made.

Notebook cover, from multiple PCA courses

I used Sculpey Terracotta clay for the cover’s base, Sculpey III and Fimo Effects for the components, and a whole lot of TLS to bind things together. I’ve used learnings from all these courses —

  • Notebook cover fundamentals from Anke Humpert’s course — the most difficult part here was getting a uniform base layer, since the layer’s bigger than my pasta machine. πŸ™‚
  • Inlay pattern from Suzanne Ivester’s course — this was the one that took the longest time. Also, the non-uniform depth of the stamping at the very edges — I need to figure out a way to handle this. I tried using a paper layer between the clay and the stamp’s edges to prevent it from pressing too much into the clay, but that didn’t help much at all.
  • Succulents from Cindi McGee’s course — I wish I had chalk pastels for subtle shading. I tried paints and it didn’t look so great. Perfect Pearls it is, then!
  • Flower shaping and mosaics from Christi Friesen’s course — I used Perfect Pearls for the shine. I have other ideas for gold leaves / foils, and hopefully they’ll turn out good.
  • Stripey borders from Lisa Pavelka’s course — Of course, the Terracotta clay turned out to be too smooshy to retain the uniformity of layers while cutting, but that does contribute to the organic look, I think?

I’d originally thought of only 2, or 3, projects to combine, but as I kept working on this one, I just kept adding stuff. Good thing I stopped eventually, huh? πŸ™‚

I hope this cover lasts, and doesn’t get damaged while handling. I’ve kept even the raised elements close to the ground, so to speak, so there’s less danger of them getting chipped, but one isn’t usually very careful when using a notebook, right?

Beaded Earrings for a Set

I made companion earrings to wear with my beaded pendant — the image-transfer one. While I was looking up stitches to use, I ran into a tutorial by Bronzepony Beaded Jewelry for exactly the design I had in mind! That’s the second time this month I’m running into ready-to-use recipes for stuff that I want to make. (The first one was for my latest knitting project.)

Beaded earrings using CRAW

Beaded earrings using CRAW

For these earrings, I used the size-8 green beads and smaller size-15 brown beads that I’d used for the pendant. I made 12 units of Cubic Right Angle Weave (CRAW) with the larger beads, and embellished them with the smaller beads — one small bead between two large ones on the inner curves of the cubes, and two small beads in a similar fashion on the outer curves.

CRAW was not difficult to understand at all — not all difficult. I mean, it’s way too easy to imagine constructing a cube — first a floor, then walls, then ceiling. The execution of the first unit, though, was a different matter. Invariably, while I pulled the thread through the beads, I would lose my grip on the tiny setup that I created thus far, and then, it would be extremely difficult to bring the orientation back to where I was, and figure out which bead to go into next. I would just turn and turn the connected beads in my hand, all the while scratching my head. I tried to use the stop bead as reference, but it didn’t work for me. I even tried Jill Wiseman’s ‘taco’ style of construction, but with similar confusions.

After a couple of failed starts, I solved the problem by threading my stop bead into position at the center of the reinforced first square. That helped provide a ‘proper’ reference point for me. It was smooth sailing from then on.

When I was done constructing the drops, I threaded a couple of faux pearl beads into head pins, and attached each pearl-duo to a piece. I made eye loops at the top, and added ear wires to complete the earrings.

New Clay

It’s been a while since I made something from clay, and thanks to a friend who was willing to haul back my order from their short visit to the US, I now have newly-bought clay to work with!

New clay

Of course, I’m still sticking to my plan of combining salient learnings from more than one PCA project into a single project. It’s fun trying to imagine which projects might work well together! I hope I manage to make something this month.

I’ve also been looking at some beading stitches to decide which one works well for a jewelry set I have in mind. I hope that materializes this month too! πŸ™‚

Totem-Inspired Beads

PCA: Totem beads jewelry

PCA: Totem beads jewelry

My version of Mihaela’s course from PCA. As usual, I used materials locally available to me to make these totem beads, so they don’t quite look like hers. πŸ™‚ Mihaela uses quite a few surface treatments to make her colorful beads, whereas I used one treatment – the Perfect Pearls treatment. πŸ˜€

One technique that I have watched in tutorials a few times, and have now finally tried, is the Sutton Slice, and I used it for the patterns on the black bead. I found it wasn’t very easy to slice the clay off cleanly, and had to try quite a few times to get a good enough coverage on the texture sheet that I used. Not too bad for a first attempt, though, and I do like the technique enough that I want to perfect it eventually. I’ll need to try it with even deeper texture sheets next time, and see if that’ll make a difference for the slicing. I think I’ll also need to try out Mokume Gane, just to see if I do better with the slicing there. πŸ™‚

All in good time, though. I’m slowly running out of clay in my stash, but I don’t see fresh stock showing up in any of the stores I usually shop at. I obviously don’t want to buy old clay, since I’ve faced enough hardships with that, so this calls for clay rationing. I think for my future PCA projects, I might combine techniques from more than one course into a single project…

Wire Weaving: Inspired by Calligraphy Pendant

Wire Weaving - Calligraphy Pendant inspired

Wire Weaving – Calligraphy Pendant inspired

I was thinking I’d make my mom some jewelry as a gift for Mother’s Day (today) but she has specific jewelry tastes. I’ve been working so much with polymer clay (notwithstanding short bead weaving runs) that I’d almost forgotten about the weaving wire that I have. So it was time for some wire weaving!

Rather than try something on my own and end up with insufficient wire to finish the project, I thought I’d follow a free tutorial – The Calligraphy Pendant by the amazing Nicole Hanna. (Spoiler: I still ran short of wire in the end. πŸ™‚ )

Of course, my stash doesn’t include the gauges suggested in the tutorial, so I used the ones that I have — 18 and 24. Yes, I’ve learned that they end up really tough on the fingers. That’s one of the reasons I don’t wire-weave too often. πŸ™‚

Well, back to the project. I used an irregularly-shaped glass bead of about the same dimensions suggested in the tutorial. (I just love its color!) I figured the lengths of the base wires from the tutorial should work, but cut slightly longer lengths anyway. Strangely, they turned out really short. I probably needed at least 50% more wire. I don’t understand this huge discrepancy. Since there was no way to ‘fix’ it, I ended up cutting my project short and finishing it early. It’s not bad at all, but it’s not what I wanted. I couldn’t make another one since my fingers were crying for mercy already.

Turns out my mom too thinks it looks good. Now I’m waiting to see when she’ll wear it… πŸ˜‰