Hooray! I made it to another Tuesday ready to post. I have to say that after last week, I enjoyed this so much I wanted to do it every day. Alas! if I did that I’d have to stop making jewelry and if I stopped making jewelry there would be no reason whatsoever for me to have a blog.
I decided to do a little segment on the little technique I use to make most of my jewelry or at least parts of most of my jewelry. I get this question a lot. So I took a series of photos depicting each step as nearly as I could. It’s not as good as a video, but I truly did not want to mess with video at this point. I hope ya’ll understand.
You start with what is known as an eye pin. Interstingly, this little piece of wire is what adds a significant amount of expense to some of my jewelry. At the cheapest, I’ve found them for $.11 each which doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you add it up it is not insignificant. Second and maybe most obviously, you need a bead. However, not all wire fits into all beads. You have to make sure you have the right gauge eye pin. I have found this out the hard way. My tiny freshwater pearls won’t fit on a 21 gauge pin. And the gauge numbers go up as the size of the wire goes down. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know.
These are round nose pliers. I use them so much some days that I get a little blister on the palm of my hand. With the pliers, I grasp the wire about 1-2mm up from the bead and bend it away from my thumb. This will create a nice little divot at the bottom of the loop – making it look more professional. Oh, the details!
Then I move the pliers up just past the bend and pull the wire back the other way, forming the back part of the loop. At this point, I have to take out the pliers and change positions so I can wrap the wire all the way around the nose. I leave the tail. Usually, at this point, I will simply go on to do this step 200-300 times, depending how big the necklace is. I find it is much faster if I get all elements of the same step finished before I move on to the next step. If I am making a necklace with clusters, I have to string some beads with a head pin instead of an eye pin as there will be nothing attached to the bottom of these and I wouldn’t want a bunch of stray loops.
For the purpose of this post, I wanted to show why I leave the tail on the pin. Once I have them all strung, I will often construct a strand at a time, leaving all the tails on and cutting them when I’m finished. I’ve started to use only fine gauge wire, so most of the time each pin needs to be readjusted after they are strung together so that the whole necklace won’t fall apart when I finish it. Often, when I get the pins, the eye part hasn’t been closed tightly enough in the manufacturing process in order to keep the find gauge of the next wire from slipping out. Anyway, I slide the loop I’ve just made, tail first, into the eye of the next pin until it’s all the way past the part where the metal overlaps. Then I take the round nose pliers again and adjust both loops so they are tight enough. Then, when everything is tightened, I take my wire-cutters and clip all of the tails.
Ideally, there is a nice, clean, professional finish and you can’t tell which eye was manufactured and which was created by me. As you can guess, this method is very time-consuming. It looks very nice, which is why I like it, but I have already started experimenting with some other methods that are a little faster.