Okay, all you Orchidians out there...I am stepping out of my comfort
zone to post this.
I really want and would love to have a place to share what I do with
gems and jewels, and I like to think I have some skills. I would
love to do this on Orchid. But I am scared to request a blog and put
my work up for you to see because (gasp) I am a wireworker.
There, I've said it. I work wire. I don't make what I think of as
strange creations of wrapped wire and whatever unpolished rock takes
your fancy, but I do take some very nice stones that my talented
lapidary husband cuts for me and give these the best wire settings I
can make to show them off. I take a lot of time and care to make
these as best as I can. People do seem to like them and they buy
them. I teach classes on how to do the art. But since I don't use a
torch, saw or hammer to do this, I feel...intimidated.
Some of you with tons of years at the bench would probably laugh at
me or tell me to crawl back and lurk as I usually do. (Yes, those of
you with GGs and master smiths that are here, you do really
intimidate me.) It's not that I don't know the basics of
silversmithing and gems. I do silversmithing and like it. It's not
that I don't want to learn more from others. I have learned a lot
here and want to learn more. But my wire and I - we are old, good
friends. And I am afraid you masters would laugh at me and call what
I do worthless and cheap, which it really isn't.
So here's my question. Would you welcome a wire wrapper's work here?
Or should I just crawl back to my corner and lurk?
The Amethyst Rose
Welcome to Orchid Caren!
Orchid is a public forum which is open to anyone who is interested
in topics of jewelry making and
Conceived and maintained free of charge by jewelers, for jewelers,
both the experienced professional and the beginner - Orchid is
dedicated to the exchange of substantive technical content, covering
the full range of requirements. With list members from
all over the world, speaking from a wide range of technical and
aesthetic experiences, this lively forum addresses questions about
every aspect of jewelry making today.
In short, you are more than welcome to read, lurk and talk!
Thank you for being with us
Would you welcome a wire wrapper's work here?
Of course dear.
Hi Caren.....I know how you feel....(I'm a middle-aged newbie just
getting acquainted with the torch...)
for what it is worth, I'd welcome you.
There is an interesting thread currently, Re: manners, education (or
the lack of it), etc.
There are some strong opinions.
My position is that education -- in all its forms -- is
wonderful....AND....you start where you are, love what you do, do it
to the best of your ability....and stand proudly. And it doesn't
matter where that place is. Yours is the land of wire work.
There will ALWAYS be people 'jockeying for position'....people
needing to be right......needing to be 'better than thou'.
Keep focused on what YOU do and how you do it.
We need to keep thinking of Orchid as a community where we
share.....not a club reserved for luminaries.
I'll show you mine if you show me yours?.....
...oh, and don't let Leonid scare you......I like to think of him as
the curmudgeonly* *jeweller...kinda like the cranky uncle.....I'm
confident he has a lot of really great qualities.
Of course you are welcome. One of my friends does wire wrapping, and
I am really impressed with the artistry of her work.
It's the passion that matters. I am no one of consequence really but
truly in a world with billions of people - who is? My best friend
does beautiful wire working and despite the fact that I can
fabricate - I do not know wire wrapping and consider it very artful.
Don't short change yourself because of experience. We all start
somewhere and variety is the spice of life. Welcome to the forum!
Karen I am so glad you put something on Orchid. After seeing you
Saturday I was hoping to encourage you.
I know your work...it is incredible. I have taken a couple of classes
from you. Wirewrapping is not for me, but you did teach me to make
Glad you have joined.
Rose Marie Christison
Why not?! We all start somewhere. I like wire too.
Orchid is a great forum. Phil
Sounds like good advice Audrey. There you go Caren, have fun learn
lots! Thomas III
I'm a student as well and beginning in beading and in metal clay. A
lot of people pooh-pooh media as sub-strata. I don't let that bother
me. My position is that the best place to begin any art form is here
and the best time is now. "Here" means wherever you are and "now"
means when you start. Keep going on your journey of learning your
craft. And welcome to the forum where everybody learns something and
everybody can contribute something. The people who don't learn
something are the people who died a long time ago and just don't know
Of course anyone making jewelry or craft that they consider
adornment is welcome it is an open forum for anyone- particularly
novices! As for wire work : recently there was a thread on this exact
subject..While it is absolutely true *many *closed minded
"professional" jewelers don't consider wire wrapping to be on the
same par as jewelry- there is a vast divide in wirework of all
kinds..for example the school age child ( or 40 year old) that wraps
a piece of copper wire around a crystal or tumbled bit of
semi-precious something may not be "jewelry" to anyone but the kid
and its parent(s) or teacher, and they may show up on Orchid asking
how to finish it so it hangs round one's neck..not knowing the
terminology or what a bail is! then there ae those that make
spectacular work of tedious and precise bends that are perfect
examples of the craft- i have seen some pieces of solid gold selling
for over a few hundred bucks that are well done- and though it may
not be to everyone's taste, historically jewelry probably began as a
wire of solid gold wrapped into a band and having a simple setting
fashioned with a blow pipe and open flame.Does that make it less than
any other form? no.It is all about the maker's degree of striving for
perfection in the work and the buyers taste's in adornment. So don't
let those that may espouse their disdain for wire wrapping, wirework
9 filigree is a professional form of wirework..as is cloisonne'
enamel in that the cloisonne is filled with packed glass and fused to
the metal which takes a good deal of practice and keen knowledge of
temperatures and the nature of the materials used to get a good
result-Marianne Hunter,Patsy Croft and other's are great jeweler's
whose "wirework" with enamels should be at least, looked at.Their
pieces sell in the thousands and are collected by some of the most
prominent museums in the world) I don't know many jeweler's that
totally fabricate their pieces start to finish that result in a pair
of 12mm discs as earrings that command $3500.00 a pair ! Patsy
Croft's do..Marianne Hunter's work is absolutely wonderful and unique
and worth every dime considering the knowledge and skill required to
get such a result..So the terms "jeweler". metalsmith, and other
names that one may use to describe their craft and their art are
relative- the proof is often in the proverbial "pudding". If it's
done as a livelihood the proof then is how well one supports themself
and the demand for their work.
The bottom line is that any jewelry form that is beheld as beautiful
by the maker and perhaps a buyer, requires a skill set that develops
over time and with effort/practice. there are many who call
themselves jeweler's that simply buy castings and drop a stone in
them, but haven't a clue how to even size it or further, where to get
the materials to size it, much less the correct shape of wire to make
the operation successful, and thus send it out to a professional to
have the real work done, or in many many cases, perfected.Retailers
are a good example of this: a chain jewelry store may say they can
sell you a selection of mountings and offer you some diamonds to look
at on the spot, but you must wait up to three weeks in most cases to
"get it back" because it is all contracted work! In my opinion these
are not jewelers in any sense of the word more so they are only
salesmen trained to spout off a few terms they were trained to
use.Put a torch or welder into their hands and they would be totally
lost. So jeweler is also a subjective thing..one falsely uses the
term to describe where they work, but they largely have no skills
with which to fabricate jewelry at all. Your skills at wire fall onto
continuum of "wirework"..if you want to reveal it to the world put it
on the internet and get some feedback if you can handle the negative
responses you may get from those that will argue it's not
jewelry...just dismiss their opinions to close mindedness and
welcome whatever constructive commentary you may get-if any.
I am not one of those masters that have a ton of years at the bench.
In fact my metalsmithing skills are only a couple of years old, and I
am very aware of how much I still have to learn. Before I started
learning these new skills though, I was a.......wait for it........a
wireworker! I do understand how intimidating it can be and how
unworthy I sometimes feel trying to rub elbows with people who
produce such magnificent works like I've seen in the Orchid
Speaking of which, I do believe I have seen more than one wireworker
with galleries here. Which means that there is a place for wire
artists, and I would encourage you to show everyone what you can do.
And remember, the only thing that limits your talent is you......not
the medium you use!
With my humble opinion,
Lora Lora's Creations
I started out 15 years ago making one of a kind beaded art jewelry
primarily using wire to connect beads. I never got into wrapping
stones or making wire findings simply due to personal taste as I find
it a bit fussy. Unfortunately where I live, any method of stringing
beads is not considered original art, it is considered assembly and
it is banned from all of the important art shows where I live. This
is not what I personally believe, it is just reality. There are craft
shows where this medium is accepted, but the market is so saturated
with beaded jewelry it is almost impossible to get a spot. Most of
these shows are owned by two separate promoters and they have had
their own vendors in place for more than 30 years. Most cities around
here simply sell the festival concession to the promoter. While I
have had some modest success with my stuff, I had an ah ha moment
several years ago knowing if I did not make a shift I would not be
able to supplement my upcoming retirement as I originally hoped. I
went back to school six years ago to study metal arts and
fabrication. It has made a huge difference. It ought not, but it has.
I get so much more respect for the new work and I am now accepted
into venues that would not take me before even though my original
work had passed some of the toughest juries in Northern California.
My college experience added a whole new network and my professor has
recommended me for participations in several local woman's art
events. I still design and fabricate beaded jewelry. I love it. I
just do less of it now.
Having taken a class in basic wire wrap techniques, I must say that
the skill and patience required to manipulate wire into a gorgeous
piece of jewelry are qualities that I greatly admire and wish that I
could master. Some of the most interesting and intricate pieces of
jewelry that I have seen are wire wrapped pendants created by an
artist named David DeGraff of Morrison, Colorado.
Welcome and there is no need to humble yourself to this group. We're
a friendly bunch most of the time. Although you and I have never met
I have seen your work and it is assume. We do business with many of
the same people in Colorado.
If I'm not being too forward I would also like to mention that Caren
and her husband are geologists and her husband Bob is an accomplished
Lapidary and an acknowledged expert in the turquoise field. So Caren
has a ready source of stones for her work.
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Welcome Karen to the group..
I started out over 40 years ago doing wire wrapping.. at my age now
I can say I have been one of the top in the world in this field of
jewelry designing and goldsmithing..
Hang in there and all ways keep focused on where you want to be in
You too can be on the top.
Takes a lot of time and a lot of hard work and dedication but if I
could do it then there is no reason you can not do better then I.
Enjoy your craft and ask lots of questions we are all here to help
all are welcome here. Wire wrapping can produce beautiful jewellery.
I have seen some steampunk that combines wrapping with traditional
jewellery skills very impressive. Torcs are wire wrapping in many
cases and were/still highly prized.
Heck, YES. You are now part of the Orchid community. Be ready to
share your knowledge and insights. Just be tactful to us that have
limited abilities in working wire. OK?
Judy in Kansas, where the weather threatens rain, but I don't
believe it! We are in a vicious spiral of too dry to allow rain to
reach the ground, so the rain doesn't fall.
This group is for all of those who want to share their jewelry work,
share their Re: techniques and sources, share their
perspective on our field, and, most especially, for those who want
to learn by signing onto the forum and/or searching the ganoksin
As stated on the home page of the ganoksin website, it's mission is,
" to educate, improve working conditions and facilitate sharing
between goldsmiths globally. Ganoksin continues improving access to
for productivity, safety, skills and education of all
jewelers, professionals and hobbyists."
It is the most welcoming community for jewelry internationally.