You might be familiar with Jodi’s many class offerings at BeadFest and as a contributing designer inWire Style 50 Unique Jewelry Designs. I’m excited to share our “wire rap” with my Beading Dailypeeps. I had some pretty important questions (at least in my mind) about Jodi and her new book,Weave, Wrap, Coil: Creating Artisan Wire Jewelry.
Kristal: How did you get started in wire working?
Jodi: When I first started making jewelry in 2001, I used memory wire only, all the while looking at jewelry magazines and always being amazed by wire jewelry. At the end of 2004, I went to the library and a local bookstore and looked at multiple books on wire wrapping. I ended up buying Mark Lareau’s book All Wired Up and taught myself how to wire wrap.
Kristal: What was your fave part about writing this book and how long did it take?
Jodi: My favorite part about writing the book was designing.
When I first started the book, I had 8 projects, and I needed to create 17 more designs! I had lots of ideas-for example, I knew I wanted a steampunk key and some 3-D pieces. I worked on the designs off and on for six months, all the while writing.
Kristal: What are your top 3 tips for a newbie entering the wonderful world of wire?
Jodi: 1. Buy good tools. Remember, you get what you pay for. Inexpensive tools can potentially hurt your hands and won’t last in the long run. I first bought Swanstrom tools in 2005, one at a time as I could afford to, and paid about $50 per pair. Although they are now worn out, I still have them, and I did not replace them until 2009.
2. Use good body mechanics. This is one of the first things I go over in all of my classes, and I cannot stress enough. I see students time and again overextending/over-rolling with their tools. I see students rolling their pliers, for example, to make a simple loop and trying to make the loop in one turn of the wrist. They then end up turning their shoulders into the process. This is really bad body mechanics, and after a while, your wrist and shoulder will start aching. Mark the pliers with a marker (this wears off over time or can be removed with a cleaning cloth), roll the pliers to a comfortable stopping point, reposition the pliers in the loop, then complete your roll.
3. Maintain stability with your wire. Where you hold your wire with your nondominant hand plays a big role in achieving uniformity in your designs. I am right-handed and hold my tool with my right hand. With my left hand I hold the wire next to the tool as I am making a loop or a bend. This creates stability, does not allow flexibility in the wire, and leads to uniformity. In Weave, Wrap, Coil: Creating Artisan Wire Jewelry, there are several projects with what I call “open loops.” These are created by making a simple loop, then changing the position of my left hand and holding the wire away from my tool and continuing to roll. When the wire is held away from the tool, there is not as much stability and allows flexibility in your wire.