The “back to the beginning” in the title is a reference to where I started with jewellery. A pair of round-nosed pliers, a pair of snipe-nosed pliers and some wire-cutters rattled around in my first tool-box and I worked with silver-plated wire and crystal beads from a well-known hobby store (in the UK).
That was about five years ago and my first pieces were wire-wrapped earrings. I soon progressed to sterling silver wire and semi-precious stones, but it wasn’t until I got my blow-torch that I really started to broaden both my skills and designs. (I had learned to solder and arc-weld at college w-a-a-a-y back in my youth as an art student.)
The reason I’m in the reminiscing mood is because I’ve had to put down my torch for today. My little girl is a bit under the weather and we’ve had a lovely day doing nothing-much but watching films and playing Lego Rock-band. Not wanting to disappear to my bench, I decided to make something while we sat watching another Scooby Doo film.
That meant that I could only use enough stuff that I could sit on a tray on my lap and only cold-connections. I’ve got some lengths of gold-filled (better than gold-plated as it’s got thicker layers of gold and is more resistant to polishing and general wear & tear) round wire that I’ve not really found much use for (it can be really hard to solder without the gold fading by being absorbed into the core metal). Well, I’ve had an idea for a dragonfly brooch for a while and so today seemed a great day to try it out.
I found a picture of a dragonfly that I liked:
I sketched it out on paper and decided on how the wire would have to be wrapped together to make the shape. Then I got my first piece of wire and made the first loop (for right at the top, so it could be a pendant as well as a brooch if needed).
All the crystals used were either Swarovski® or Czech crystal beads. I used two black ones for eyes and Light Sapphire for the body with the “tail” in Metallic Crystal Blue ABx2 (twice coated in the Aurora Borealis finish, which gives the crystals a multi-coloured sheen), and the wings in a mix of AB crystal in different sizes/shapes.
The main outline, including the wings and legs, was made first out of 0.8mm gold-filled round wire. Then the eyes, body and “tail” were beaded. I added a brooch fitting (sadly in a base metal, as I didn’t have any other and wasn’t going to make a brooch pin as I wasn’t soldering today) and wound the wire round to secure it.
I didn’t totally fill the wings with beads – I liked the lacy look came with having spaces in-between the beads.
This piece turned out bigger than I actually had expected. It measures approximately 7.5cm across the wings and 7cm from head to tail.
It reminded me of how difficult I found this type of jewellery – I find it really hard to make the wire-wrapping neat, and tight against the wire. I’ve always had respect for those who can make beautiful things without being able to solder or rivet; but today has reminded me that I shouldn’t neglect to refine all my learned jewellery techniques and still strive to learn more – as they are all facets of this craft that I love.
Update: I’m so sorry that this didn’t make it onto the blog yesterday (when I wrote it), I thought I had posted it but only noticed that I hadn’t when I came to write today’s post.