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Monday, April 9, 2012

Wire Charms from Scraps of Left Over Wire

I've been on a quest to find a book, magazine or blog article that focuses on wire charms.  Several hours of searching on Google and Amazon and I came up with zilch, nada, zero, none, zip.....I'm puzzled.  How come?  Why can't I find a resource?  Am I the only one that wants to know more about wire charms?  How weird if I'm the only one.

The upper left resembles the swan clasp design and it has been hammered.  The next looks more like a swan or duck.  The lower row are simular with the exception of the use of a soft bend on the bottom, versed sharp bends and how much wire was used or left over.  The final two shows the difference that can occur with a bit more wire.

On a whim I made the upper portion with big swooping movement and the round nose pilers.  Then I got daring and decided to make a coil on the top two; the botton two have spirals, but since the amount of wire was different the spirals took on different sizes.
Charms, typically are preformed or cast and have served as jewelry enhancements for a long time.  As a little girl I envied my cousin's charm bracelet.  Her parents would give her a new charm whenever she became involved with a new activity, like her little ballerina charm. I've started making some wire charms.  They aren't specific to an activity.  They have an abstract form.  Little spirals, curls, coils and crinkles can be made.  Some are hammered to add another design feature.  I'm working on adding colors to some of the charms and sealing them.   There are ideas in my noggin for little daisies, hearts, dragonfly's and butterfly's.  My imagination is soring with more ideas.
These embellishments can take a design up a notch and really put the icing on the cake.  I like adding them to the bottom of pendants, or dangling from a bracelet and if I make two that are identical they will transform a simple drop bead earring into something extra special and unique.

I had learned to make a leaf form from Linda Jones.  Since my left over wire was small these leaves became charms and a spiral or spirals were formed from the left over wire.  The bottom two remind me of goddesses.

Here I went wild with tiny squiggles and added different types of spirals on the end.  The charm on the far left has the spiral up a bit and over lapping the squiggles.
After I have made some jewelry I usually have several pieces of odd lengths of wire left over.  Those bits that remain after that final snip of the wire.  These pieces can be anywhere from 1" in length to several inches and the gauge of wire varies.  Sometimes, when time is short or my hands are tired, I save these bits and pieces.  These can be round wire, hammered and textured flat wire or twisted wire, etc.  Sometimes I delve right in with my pliers and start to take that tiny bit of wire and transform it into a charm.  I have found that many surprising designs can appear from the wire, especially when I'm not planning a specific design.  I just start to curl, twist and move the wire.  Some of these charms end up really ugly and they are quickly put into the trash.  But most of the  time some sort of design comes from the wire and it becomes a keeper.  I try not to think about the charms final purpose and what it is for or how it will look in a piece of jewelry.  I'm just saving that small bit of wire and keeping it out of the trash.  Once a charm is made, I try not to judge it.

The top two charms I bent a piece of left over wire sorta in half.  I say sorta, because I didn't measure.  The bend was placed on the round nose pliers and then I twisted the ends around.  I then formed coils, they were all stretched out in a random pattern without much thought to their final outcome. From there I made different types of spirals on the botton of some. 

The other day I was cleaning out my studio and came across my batch of charms.  I was surprised by how many had been made and how much wire that had been saved from the trash.  I decided I would oxidize them all.  After they dried I sat in front of the TV and started to polish each one.  It became very therapeutic.

Here's a picture of my found batch of charms that I made here and there with my left over wire.

More sqiggles, but they all look so different because of the variation of wire gauage and length of left over wire.
Throughout this post I've inserted pictures of some of my little charms.  As I look at them I can see that some of the designs came from forms I've seen or adapted from others.  I'm sorry, but I don't know who the original designers are.  Plus, there are many charm forms that came from my allowing the pliers and wire to just make a form and I'm certain there are many new designs just waiting to come into form.

The spiral we all know and love changes it personality lickadee split when the guage of wire changes, twisted wire is used, or when it is hammered and tectured.  The patterns seem endless.  Perhaps that's why we love the spiral so much.

I was attempting a design by Cindy Wimmer and was doing a terrific job of failing.  Mostly because I didn't have a heavy enough gauge wire, nor was the length long enough.  But, there was a silver lining because I was left with a new charm design.

Jeanette Blix has a wonderful pair of earrings on her blog.  In my vain attempt to recreate a pair for myself I am left with a huge batch of cool charms.  As you look closely you will see the variations of wire gauge used and the different lengths of wire.  There are a couple that don't even have a loop for attaching, so I'll add a jump ring.  Maybe one day I'll master this techinque, but in the meantime I'll make charms.

Have fun with your wire.  Have a wonderful and joy filled day,  Linda

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Thank you for your kind words. I'll answer any of your questions very soon. Linda