Earlier this week, I was honored to participate in our Component of the Month Challenge/Blog Hop for March. The components were lovely porcelain pendants created by Caroline Dewison of BlueBerriBeads...we all fell in love with her unique luna moths and bees! Here is what I created…
Most of the comments on my piece mentioned my clasp, which I sort of improvised for lack of anything better to use! It turned out pretty nice, sort of rose-like, and so I thought I should play with this design a bit more.
The original one is made from 18g brass…sort of lightweight for a clasp, but it has been hammered and tumbled for strength, and the lighter weight just seemed to work with the loop on the moth. I kept the hook long just for this purpose. This time, however, I wanted to go a bit more heavy duty so I bumped the gauge up to 16 and went with copper.
I have added it to a simple wire-wrapped bracelet of copper and faceted Botswana agate. Without any other embellishments, the rosy clasp also becomes the focal.
While I was creating this one, I thought…why stop there? These would make cool earring components! So, instead of creating the hook, I made a loop, then made a second similar component and created these…
|Copper, sterling earwires, and silver leaf jasper drops.
Clasp, earrings…what next? I went even heavier and bigger with 14g and turned the component into a pendant. Embellished with tiny faceted gemstone rondells (orange carnelian, citrine and tourmaline) and a pale green briolette (not sure what stone this is…similar to prehnite), this simple wire component makes a big impact.
Since I love you all, I thought I would show you how I made these fun and versatile components.
You will need:
- 8-10 inches of wire (I used 16g copper for this component)
- flush cutters
- round nose pliers
- bail making pliers
- flat nose pliers (optional)
- steel bench block
- rawhide or rubber mallet (optional)
- chasing hammer
- needle files or cup bur
- liver of sulfur (optional)
- File smooth, using needle files and/or cup bur (I love this tool…I use it all the time, especially on earwires).
- Hammer the end flat…this aids in starting the coil.
- Using your round nose pliers, start curling the wire around into the beginnings of a spiral.
- Position flat nose pliers right behind the coil and bend; reposition at the top of your first bend and repeat in the other direction. Please note that these do not have to be exact…as you can see, mine are pretty wonky, but that is what makes it so cool! You can also use your round nose pliers, or any others you have on hand. Obviously, for lighter gauge wire, you would want to go with a smaller bend.
- Once you have a few inches of bent wire, start coiling it around. You can hold the initial coil with your flat nose pliers or some nylon jawed ones, but I usually just use my fingers. You may need to make more bends as you go.
- Keep working the shape until it is pleasing to you.
- Work harden with a rawhide/rubber mallet (I skipped this and went straight to flattening with my chasing hammer, then texturizing with the ball peen side).
- Bend your wire straight up where you want your hook to be.
- Using your bail-making pliers, position behind the wire coming straight up from the component and form your hook. I like using the smaller side and keeping the hook and unobtrusive as possible.
- Not shown…while you still have the wire on the pliers, press down a with your fingers and curve the hook in toward the ruffled spiral to give the hook a nicer shape. You can leave the bottom straight, or use your flat nose pliers and give it an outward bend, like earwires.
- Not shown…measure the hook and cut if needed. File with needle file or cup bur. Work harden by tapping sides with mallet on the steel block.
- Optional…patina with LOS or your choice of patina.
- Add to your beautiful piece of jewelry
Melismatic Art Jewelry
Art. Life. Love.