Wire can be used in many ways to create jewelry, including wire wrapping, wire knitting, wire weaving and formation of shapes, either using a jig or working free form.
Wire wrapping, that is, wrapping wire around wire to form shapes and create designs is a basic technique essential for many wire work pieces.
INSERT PHOTO--SIMPLE ONE WIRE AROUND ANOTHER
A thicker gauge wire, sometimes referred to as the base wire, is shaped into aesthetically pleasing forms to create pendants, earrings, and bracelets. It is possible to add beads to the wire as well as to create a frame of wire work to hold stones or crystals. To create complex designs, a wire of thinner gauge is wrapped around the base (or thicker) wire to create patterns, different shapes, and to display various weaves. Designs range from very simple and completed in a short amount of time to intricate and complex necessitating hours or even days to complete.
INSERT PHOTO OF EARRING, BRACELET, AND NECKLACE
Wire work requires the use of specialized tools, such as round nose pliers, chain nose pliers, bent nose pliers, and flush cutters, to aid in shaping the wire.
The most important tools are your hands--to bend, twist, and manipulate the wire, and your vision for ongoing assessment of both aesthetics and craftsmanship. It is vital to continually check that the piece is holding its shape and that the wrapped wires are consistently formed and correctly placed.
In this photo, there are two copper bands. The artist's first attempt is the bottom band, which is less well formed. It is possible to see that the band is uneven. The top band shows greater mastery of technique and is the result of much practice.
Insert the two copper band photo.
Wire work can be done with "common" metals such sterling silver, copper, and gold as well as base metals. Copper is popular: it is attractive, holds it shape, and is affordable. Often an artist will practice a design on a base metal (i.e., aluminum, stainless steel) as it is less expensive. When the artist feels that the design is achieved as well as the mastery of technique for that design, the artist may then transfer the design to more expensive and aesthetically pleasing metals.