I have read this thread with great interest. Living in San Diego
County, I am well aware of Arline Fisch works and greatly enjoyed
her Museum Exhibition.
I have taken Loren Damewood’s class and enjoy a lovely bracelet I
completed while in Tucson. I understand the quirks of wire and
discussed this at great length with Loren.
Some of the comments I have read indicate a problem with keeping the
wire pliable, For those who are familiar with annealing, that is the
solution. For those who have not used a torch or kiln while working
metal, this is a technique that will assist you in your final goal.
Best way of course is to take a metals course and learn how to do
that. Were that to not be possible, there are ways to learn on your
own. Wire work hardens as it is handled, to bring it back to the
pliable state, it must be heated. Find a hand held butane torch, as
low as 9 to 10 dollars at Harbor Freight. It can also be found in
stores such as Home Depot and Lowes, or similar.
You will also need a safe material to lay the wire on while
annealing (torching) it. This can be fire bricks, or a soldering pad
available through jewelry tool sellers, Rio Grande and 46th Street
Supply come to mind.
When you have the torch and fire safe backing, find a subdued light
area as you will have to see a color change in your wire as you
torch it. Coil the wire you are suing toward the already worked
area, place a metal clamp between the worked and unworked areas to
act as a heat sink to protect the work already completed. Direct the
torch flame on the coil and move it round and around the coil
heating it evenly. now begin to concentrate the flame at one end and
watch for a color change. Depending on the material you are using,
the color will vary. Make sure you move the torch to another area,
preferably adjacent to the prior one as soon as you see the color
change. Continue this until you have completed the entire coil.
You can let the coil return to room temperature and continue your
weaving, braiding, whichever process you are using until you again
feel the wire becoming less easy to move. You then need to repeat
the above process, as often as needed until you complete the
project. At that point you will need to clean all the residue from
torching your work and shine it as needed. Depending on size, if you
know about pickle, use it. If not familiar with this, and it fits,
place your works in a tumbler with the appropriate media and tumble
polish it. This will give you incredible results.
Were none of these options be available, you can use a hand held
tool such as a Dremel or Flex Shaft with polishing compound and the
appropriate wheels. Were these not to be a choice, then it is down
to using your hands and polish it the old fashioned way, plenty of
elbow power and patience.
Depending on your metal, there a variety of compounds to use such as
lemon and salt for copper to silver polish for silver. You can
create a texture by using various scrubbers, this is a good
experiment. First and foremost, do not be afraid, second use your
imagination. Finally enjoy your handiwork. Teresa