November 7, 2010

Jungle Love - the start of a long relationship with wire working!

"Jungle Love" a mixture of glass and sterling silver

I love working with wire!  And I never thought I'd be shopping in the Sears tool department but there I was yesterday, hunting down for a good pair of needle nose pliers and wire cutters!  I remember one Christmas my Dad bought me a tool box with an assortment of tools.  It was the year that I became single again.  When I opened my present, all excited at what it could be, maybe a bread machine or a photo box to keep my tons of memories in!  To my chagrin, it was a bright orange tool box.  And anyone who knew me then - orange was my least favorite color athough now I like it mixed in with a hue of yellows and browns.  It's like when you just detested pea soup or corn chowder but as your taste palate changes as you get older - you now love what you truly hated as a child.  It's sort of like when someone insists you will like it, you rebel because you want to claim that decision yourself.  I do like fresh pea soup now but still can't get into the corn chowder groove.   It's the New England substitute if you couldn't afford to buy clams or real cream.  And that was the only thing I felt my momma didn't make well because she would stretch that chowder which made it watery.   She had a large family to feed and then there was my brother to feed.  He could scarf down a whole loaf of bread and a gallon of milk in one sitting.  I kid you not, I watched him do it with peanut butter spread between the slices of bread no less!   And he was skinny as a rail for as long as I could remember!   My mother always served us, no family style (none of us girls would get anything if that happened!).  And for some strange reason even unknown to her to this day, she served my brother first.  We were a family of  seven - four girls, one boy plus parents.  Eight if our nanny stayed with us, which she often did because my grandfather needed a break.  So when my mother would finally fill her plate and just sit down, my brother would ask for seconds!  We were still picking our plate and he done clean his until it shined!  My mother would say "Don't you ever chew your food".  My brother would just stare back.  The ONLY food he "chewed" was soup.  Yes, soup.  He hated soup and the more liquidy it was the longer he took to chew it.

I took a class in intro to wire work yesterday at Tatnuck Beads Westborough with Diane who owns the sister store in Worcester, which was the first store to open.  She gave a history and explainaton of the tools, and components of wire working, which was very helpful.  Needle nose pliers and wire cutters are basic essential tools for jewelry makers.  And although there are also basic techniques on shaping wire, once you get those down pat, you can create as endless as your imagination can carry you.

I used needle nose pliers to shape the silver pieces and then with a mallet and metal block, I hammered each piece flat.  If you use the ball part of the hammer, you can give your flatten piece a distressed look.  I opted out on that to save for another design.  The beads were flat as opposed to the square box glass beads our instructor provided.  I felt this bracelet should lay flat against the wrist as opposed to the chunky look, which is also nice but gave a different textured look. 

I called my piece Jungle Love because the pattern of the beads and the shades of brown against black reminded me of lions, tigers in a endless jungle.  The silver "squiggles" reminded me of doodles on a page like when you are talking with a loved one perhaps a new love - doodling on a pad, writing their name over and over.  Or perhaps writing what they are saying or just a subject word that encapsilates what the topic of conversation is at that moment.  The doodling is never meant to be a distraction just a factor of being fully engaged in a momentus conversation, which either can break or strengthen a relationship.  Being an incurable romantic myself, I'd err on the side of strengthening!

I wanted the earrings to conplement the bracelet which I felt needed to be showcased more so I elected to do only one "squiggle" at the top using a long silver head pin instead of cutting wire.  Same technic was used. 

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