Saturday, January 16, 2016

herringbone wire-wrap; see also: how to wreck your hands

It's been a productive few days, which I am thankful for because I was briefly afraid that this would be my view for a while...

But it's really just about not overthinking it. Sit down, put some material in front of you, and instinct tends to take over.


This morning I was browsing jewelry inspiration pictures and came across a bracelet that I was instantly captivated with...

I *had* to find out how to wrap beads this way and decided to get to work learning all about this technique. Apparently, I also woke up feeling masochistic this morning because if you are not already frequently working with wire and decide that you must master any technique that involves wire (especially in one day), then your hands are going to learn what calluses are all about, as mine have today.

After watching a few how-to videos, I decided that this was my favorite one because I could totally relate with the comments this lady made. She described herself as not being a wire-person and also claimed to "half-ass" it a lot (her words). She also said "shitty" a few times and I am always a fan of colorful language in how-to videos. Videos that give it to you straight without ridiculous background music or condescending directions are the best. 

I figured that it made sense to attempt to teach myself this using a variety of bead shapes and wire types. Quickly, you realize that it is all about the wire selection for what will make the wrapping process either heaven or hell; bead shape and size is secondary. 


I made 6 attempts today, pictures and notations below...


Immediately, one of my loops broke off. This was just due to the quality of wire and too much wiggling it around. But other than that, this first try was actually easier than some of the others and I like the idea of just one loop for some pieces.


This second one pissed me off because one side was longer than the other, the bead shape was weird, and I ran out of wire before finishing the wraps.


This third one was my favorite to complete. The wire was sooo easy to work with after the other two and it really flowed well around the bead. What's funny to me is that this wire is probably the cheapest I had in my mixed bag of wire. I believe I found it in a discount box at Walmart for $1.


Not much to say about this one. The colors annoy me but I was just experimenting.


The fifth try was the worst. An absolute pain in the ass which I stopped early on and threw down with a "fuck this." I had wanted to use a variety of bead shapes, as I mentioned, but this choice was ridiculous and the wire was awful. Very hard to work with and didn't want to bend at all. But what this one illustrates well is how, for me personally, the wrapping on the second side is always so much easier to do and turns out so much better than the wrapping on the first side. The difference is the wrapping is so noticeable and it looks like two different people were working on it. I've decided that it's because the length of wire worked with on the first side is so much longer than on the second and that this just has a natural inclination to fuck up the wrapping if you're not careful. 


By this time, my hands were killing me but the last bead and wire choice made this one really easy to make. The grooves in the bead helped quite a lot.

Torturous, but pretty.

So after that shit show, I had two stones left to wrap, but these would required practicing another technique I have needed to become more familiar with. These stones are not drilled as standard beads, so they needed to be wrapped a different way. In the past, I have usually done this with either some type of thread or with leather, but love the way a decent wire wrap looks around a stone. This time around, especially after the herringbone, wrapping the dendrite agate and carnelian was pretty painless and I like how they turned out.

So final thoughts are that it is all about the wire and that in the future, I want to make the herringbone ends shorter in length. I think a number of great pieces will come from this technique. 

Also: callouses. 

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