Non Essential Wirework Tools

This is another post about tools, but this time, they are not so essential (in my opinion) as the previous ones mentioned.

Here goes…

1     I have mentioned previously how round nose pliers and nylon jaw pliers are essential wirework tools, however, put them together in one tool and you have nylon round nose pliers.  I personally am not that keen as they don’t offer the strength or support needed. Better used for coloured coated wire where you don’t want to scratch them.

nylon round nose pliers

 

2     This is an Ear Wire Jig.  In itself, it is a great idea.  This is the French Wire version; there are other versions available.  The reason it is on this list is that there are other tools (probably already in your stash) that can create perfectly suitable ear wires.

ear wire jig

3     This is a wire bender. Place your wire between the cogs and created perfectly formed zig-zags or curves, depending on the cogs selected.  I’ve had this tool a while now, but simply not used it yet.

wire bender

4     Next is the Wire Writing kit.  I think this would make an ideal present for a child, but if you’re serious about wire writing…do it freehand.

wire writing set

5    Finally, this odd looking contraption is for wire twisting.  I am being a little unfair here, because the tool itself is brilliant.  Clamp the wires in the jaws of the pliers and click to secure (this does require great strength to do this!).  Attach the other end of the wires in a vice, then pull the pliers up to tighten the wire, let go and let the pliers twirl away.  Keep repeating  until you have the required twist. It does take practice, but this really is a fun tool to use.  I just haven’t incorporated twisted wire in my designs yet.

wire twister

So there is my list of tools that I don’t use that often.

Do you have any tools or equipment that you don’t use that often? Or are any of these tools essential to you?

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5 More Useful Tools for WireWork

Yesterday, I mentioned my essential tools for handcrafting wirework jewellery.

I have some more to show you – these tools are a great asset to add to your tool stash.

1.   This funny looking thing is a wire straightener.  It must be the most simple but baffling invention yet.  Place your wire on the rollers and roll the rollers up to form a triangular shape – pull the wire through – and voila, you have straight wire. Genius!

wire straightener

2.   This tool has a wonderful name – it is called a Gizmo.  The vice like tool attaches  to your work table.  You place the “handle” through the holes (there are several thicknesses to choose  from), attach the wire, then twist the handle to create a coiled wire tube.  These tubes can be used for decoration or used to create jump rings, depending on the size of your wire.

wire coiling gizmoblack agate with clear quartz pendant

3     This tool has another wonderful name – it is a WigJig.  Used to create curved shapes for your creations.  It is ideal for making ear wires too.

wigjig

4     These are Bail Making Pliers.  A bail is the looped area at the top of a pendant where you thread your chain through.  The stepped area on these pliers allows different size of bails.  Again, an ideal tool for creating ear wires.

bail making pliers

5     This is a Pin Vise.  Actually, there are 2 tools shown here.  The pin vise is the hand held component which you can twist wire with.  It is also known as a miniature drill, as you can add a bit piece to it.  In this case, a small burr has been added which will smooth the end points of wire.  Essential for that professional finish.

pin vise

Well, I hope I’ve given you some ideas to supplement your wirework tool kit.

Tell me about your favourite tools for your craft, hobby or DIY.

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5 Essential Wireworking Tools

Here are my top 5 tools I use for my craft of wirework.  I have chosen these because these are the ones that I can use to wrap and weave, and they are portable to follow me where I go…If I have these, I can create.

In no particular order…

These are my chain nose pliers, used for precision positioning and creating angles and much more.  This is probably the tool I use the most.

chain nose pliers

These are wire cutters.  A must for achieving flush edges.  Not for memory wire though!

wire cutters

Round nose plies for bends, curves and perfect spirals. I shall show you how to create a perfect spiral at a later date.

round nose pliers

Nylon jaw pliers used to straighten wire and to keep wire weaves tidy and uniform.

nylon jaw pliers

Needle nose pliers used for precision and tucking away wire ends.

needle nose pliers

These are my favourites, but I have more to show that are very useful, and not so useful.   Watch this space.

What are your favourite tools?  Please Tweet if you think others may find this useful. #KarenJJewellery for a RT from me.

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Amazing Quartz

Quartz word bubble

What exactly do you think  about when I say “Quartz”? It is a gemstone…it is used in jewellery…it’s a mineral…it is found in watches.  I am assuming these were some of your answers.

It is one of the well known minerals on earth, but did you know there are many types of Quartz…and I mean many.

Just to give you an idea, here’s a list:

Quartz-Chlorite
Chlorite
  • Tangerine
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Rose
  • Smoky
  • Snow
  • Natural Rainbow
  • Golden Healer
  • Harlequin
  • Lithium
  • Natural Titanium

    laboratory quartz
    Laboratory Quartz
  • Tibetan
  • Rutilated
  • Tourmalinated
  • Lithium

There is also Phantom Quartz –

Phantom quartz is a variety of quartz, or “rock crystal”, that, over the course of millions of years, forms over earlier rock crystals that already existed. (Wikipedia)

Quartz wirework Heart Pendant
Quartz Wirework Heart Pendant by Karen J Jewellery
  • Amethyst
  • Chlorite
  • Smoky

There is also laboratory Quartz

  • Aqua Aura
  • Rainbow
  • Opal
  • Rose
  • Ruby
  • Sunshine
  • Siberian Blue Quartz

    Rose Quartz Donut Pendant by Karen J Jewellery
    Rose Quartz Donut Pendant by Karen J Jewellery

Phew!

I work a lot with Quartz as it is readily available,  is quality and above all, is beautiful.   It has also made me realise what a whole new world is embedded in my work by way of gemstones. It can be a great talking point to my customer’s when they are interested in one of my pieces.

Quartz is just the tip of the iceberg.

What do you think about Quartz?  Where you aware of its many varieties?

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Tree of Life

2014-11-09 17.52.58 HDR-2tree of life

I have only ever made three Tree of Life pendants and sold all three.  It wasn’t until a lady was overheard admiring a necklace when I realised it was the pendant I created; but the lady was in awe at “Tree of Life.” It was only then that I realised, I didn’t know anything about the Tree of Life.

Tree of Life appears to  be known globally, incorporated in many cultures, philosophies and religions.

Ancient Egypt – Tree of Life represented a chain of events that brought everything into existence.

Buddism – The Bo or Bodhi tree is said to be where Buddha sat when he attained Enlightenment.

Christianity – In Catholicism, it is the immaculate state of humanity free from corruption whilst  Eastern Christianity depicts the Tree of Life as the love of God.

Church of the Latter Day Saints – sees the Tree of Life symbolic of the love of God and Salvation.

China – Chinese mythology shows Tree of Life with a phoenix and dragon where the dragon represents immortality.  The tree bears a peach every three thousand years which represents immortality to those who eat it.

This is only the tip of the iceberg – see Wikipedia for numerous more interpretations from other cultures and religions, but to summarise, immortality and eternal life appears to be key.  Further investigation shows roots represent a reminder of the past, the body represents the present and the fruits represents the future.

The Tree of Life is a big design feature in jewellery making, but you may also recognise these famous artists/designers representing the Tree of Life in their work:

William Morris                            Klimt                                          Celtic Tree of Life

William Morris Tree of LifeKlimt

I know my designs have certainly gained a lot of attraction, and now at least I can give a little background on Tree of Life when I design some more.

Where you aware of Tree of Life and what it symbolises?

If you are on Twitter, perhaps you could tweet this post for me. Mention #KarenJJewellery and I will RT you.

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Anyone for a Donut?

If you like donuts, you’ll like this – but there is a little sugary twist – you can’t eat these donuts!

Here is a step by step image gallery on how I made this wirework donut.  The stone is Howlite Turquoise and I’ve used 925 silver plated copper wire.

Enjoy!

Donut 1

donut 2

donut 3

donut 4

donut 5

donut 6

donut 7

donut 8

Donut 9If you have a Pinterest board, please feel free to pin this to it.  While you’re there, follow me on Pinterest too!

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Size Matters!

If you have signed up to my newsletter – Why Pendants are the REAL Girl’s Best Friend – then you will have seen various ideas on how to wear your pendant (and you thought it was just around your neck!)

When you purchase a pendant from Karen J Jewellery, I provide a complimentary chain or leather thong.  I do invite you however to swap and vary your chains.

Did you know that the length of your chain can make all the difference on how your jewellery is presented.

Have a look at this chart.  You can see each length has a different name.  I bet you never thought jewellery was so technical!

Necklace Lengths

That’s the great thing about pendants – you can experiment with your outfit just by varying your chain.

Do you have a favourite chain or do you mix and match?

If you want more ideas on how  to use your pendant, please sign up to my newsletter – you can find the link at the top of the page.

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Look into My Tiger’s Eye

Today, I have a smile on my face as I write about one of my favourite gemstone’s – Tiger’s Eye.

If you haven’t heard of Tiger’s Eye, I urge you to check it out as it is such a beautiful stone.

First, let’s look at a picture of some of my Tiger’s Eye collection – I hope I am justified in saying just how striking they are.Tigers eye blog2

Another reason I am smiling is that since I started jewellery making, I have discovered a new word.  I may add it has become one of my favourite words too. Chatoyancy. (Sh-e-toy-ancy). Go on….say it out loud.  Chatoyancy.  This is where the colour or luster of the gemstone changes colour depending on the angle of the light.  Tiger’s eye couldn’t demonstrate this better.tiger's eye pendant side

There are also other colour variants of this gemstone, for example Blue Tiger’s Eye (sometimes known as Hawk’s Eye), Green/grey Tiger’s Eye (sometimes known as Ox Eye) and also Red Tiger’s Eye.

Tiger’s Eye is a member of the Quartz family and the presence of brown iron gives the gem its golden yellow hues.Tigers eye pendant

Sourced from South Africa, Mexico, North America, India and Burma, its healing properties purport to aid night vision, repair broken bones and heal throat and reproductive organs.  It is also said  it can help differentiate between wishful thinking about what you want and what you need.

Well, that last sentence actually resonates with me as what I really want and really need is more Tiger’s Eye!!

Have you heard of Tiger’s Eye before?  What stones are you attracted to?

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Why Buy Handmade?

Handmade

The craft scene has exploded in recent years which means “Handmade” is big business.  What exactly attracts us though to handmade?

Here’s what I think:

  • You can expect quality because the seller has made the item with love.  you can expect their passion to shine through.
  • You know you have something original and unique. You can be confident of your individual product with the knowledge that it hasn’t been mass produced.sun pendant 1
  • Handmade items speak out.  They are personal for both the buyer and the seller.
  • Handmade items showcase talent.
  • Handmade is inspiring.  How often have you said in awe – “is that handmade?”
  • There is great availability as there are so many outlets to buy handmade.  Online has numerous sites (including my own!) and many items are available at independent shop outlets as they appreciate quality and saleability.
  • You are supporting small business and local artists.  Your support is greatly appreciated
  • Consider how your friend values receiving an handmade gift compared to a mass produced gift.
  • A handmade gift is so much more thoughtful. It is saying you care.
  • Be the first to discover a new design or designer.
  • Getting to know the designer may lead to a customized or bespoke piece being made.

    Bespoke make by Karen J Jewellery
    Bespoke make by Karen J Jewellery

So there you have some of my reasons why you should consider buying handmade products.  Let me know if you have any of your own.

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The “I” Word

Inspired

It is my personal opinion that any creative person or artist needs inspiration to thrive.

There have been many occasions where I have come to my work space with such enthusiasm, only to end up just staring at my materials or just having a rummage through my gemstones.  Instead of feeling inspired, I feel deflated.  Do you ever feel like that?

lightbulbInspiration is defined as the arousal of the mind to special unusual activity or creativity.  For me, inspiration comes from books, magazines, patterns, designs – anything visual that speaks a different design, technique or process.  Auditory compliments work for me also, as well as sales, for example.  It provides that initial boost which says “well that was successful – I need to do more.”  Nature also inspires me, for example, when I see  bark on a tree,  I could visualise a wire weave design.  It’s now on my “to do” list.

Inspiration is such a positive feeling, not necessarily self-gratifying, but encouraging progress and improvement.   Lack of inspiration leads to lethargy; there is just no desire to proceed.

I asked my 8 year old son what he thought “inspiration” meant?  His response was

“Inspiration should be colourful like your jewellery

and inspire other people.”

I was a little taken aback as I made no reference to my jewellery when I asked him. Bless him.

Although I seek inspiration all the time, that doesn’t mean I receive it.  It just means the inspiration flame is a little dull and waiting for that moment to reignite.

What inspires you?

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