Thursday, October 2, 2008

Notes to Self - Wire Coil Techniques

In my September effort I learned 2 new techniques: both are wire coils but they are each different from the other. The one is a 3D spring that can be wound upon itself to make a really interesting bead. Leaving it as a spring without the extra twisting gives you a bugle bead. Play with the colours of the wires you use, even the gauges of wires gives such interesting versions on the lowly spring. It uses a 'Gizmo' TM but any knitting needle, shish kebab skewer, ... will do. That's its picture in the top left.
The 2nd method is a flat coil using a pair of round nose pliers. Instead of each round being the same size and shape as the previous, each spiral goes around the last and gets bigger and bigger. It is a flat coil. Oh, but what you can do with a flat coil. That's its picture in the bottom right.
I also learned something about memory wire: let my godlette, Serendipity, help you. My hands ached and throbbed and refused to make a fist and had difficulty holding important things - like my pliers. Thank goodness one holds one's teddy bear in one's arms and not in one's hands.
What I had decided was a complete flop turned into quite a decent shape - even for memory wire.
Do you want to know the techniques for wire coils? I've added them to my other blog.


  1. Helene - I am really confused. The BJP focuses on bead embroidery of some type, but it seems you are making jewelry techniques. Do you have plans to work on bead embroidery?
    Thanks, Susan

  2. Those are cute, what will you do with them?

  3. Hi Helene!
    You've been an inspiration. I created a replica gizmo that works okay and I'm having fun with it, but I've decided to order the real thing anyway. I enjoy your posts!
    -Anna Lee

  4. Excellent examples of wire work! I bought some thin-gauge wire a while back in the vain attempt to do some wire crochet. Needless to say, that lasted about all of 5 minutes! I admire anyone who can work with wire!! :)

    Beautiful Bloggie!


  5. Very pretty Helene, but I am missing which piece is for the BJP? I like how you don't let things beat you down!

  6. Well - about my piece being wirework vs beads. Here's my opinion.
    While the Spanish Bracelet with the wire spirals may not be 'beaded' - I checked out a very knowledgeable source just to be sure - The memory wire piece certainly does belong.
    I wrapped wooden beads - a technique from stumpwork which is definitely a artform of needlework. Another technique used in stumpwork is using dissolving fabric, many on the market so you can take your pick, applying a wire framework and filling in with small stitches of many techniques. A butterfly wing appears like magic and the 'ground' fabric melts away.
    Who said you have to use needle and thread and conventional fabric in this challenge?
    I challenge you to go to the hardware store and get some stringing material. Maybe it's a thin thin tube or some copper wire. Put some beads on it. Have you not just made something that could be a part of stumpwork - or any embroidery?!Spread your wings. Try something different. Don't be so conventional and limited by sticking to what has already been done.
    Go to the outdoorsman shop and get some fishing line - it can be used as thread. Right? And get some weights and spinners and ... apply all that to your chosen ground by couching - another very old technique in embroidery.
    Do you consider beaded flowers a form of embroidery? The French did in the 18th century (or maybe the 17th or 19th - I don't 'do' time very well.)
    Is knitting with beads considered 'okay' for BJP? If no - why not? It is a ground fabric with bead embellishment. The same holds true for crochet with beads. How about if the 'thread' or 'yarn' is a metal wire? Knit up or crochet the thing and add beads. Does it matter if you add the beads after the piece has been knit or crocheted? Try adding beads in mid process.
    Use your imagination. Isn't that part of the unwritten rules of the BJP? Stretch yourself. Step out of your box. Look around and be inspired by the methodology. See things differently. Be 'green': re-use, recycle and by doing so, reduce. When fiberoptics was invented, phone companies were left with huge - I do mean HUGE - inventories of copper wire, covered with coloured plastic. Enter 'artistic wire'.
    There is an artist who used to live in the Vancouver Canada area whose medium is textiles and mixed media. One of her 'fabric' installations was hung in the HSBC bank: it was plexiglass tubing filled with just about everything. It definitely is art and it's embroidery, too. The tubes were connected to one another and that made the ground fabric. Instead of adding her threads and wools and such on top, she stuck them into the tube - literally inside the embroidery.
    I think my jewellery can be considered a valid form for my BJP entries. I have read and re-read the 'rules' and nowhere does it say one must embroider a fabric 'page': one must find a medium and stick with it for the 12 months is what I read. My medium of choice is jewellery and I am adding beads to a 'thread' of wire in the September entry.
    I am a passionate embroiderer. I have been at it for over 40 years. I have done the conventional and made some really beautiful pieces of my own design (I'm not bragging - I've been told my stuff is beautiful) and I have 2 pieces, done as challenges, published in an embroidery-centric magazine. I am a life-member of EGA and a member of ANG. I have dabbled in Japanese silk embroidery. My workroom has only 1 frame on the go at the moment but other frames can be found in my bedroom and in the sitting room. I have beads hiding under every stick of furniture in the house - including in my sister's bedroom. If I need soothing, a needle and thread, or wire,or wool, is put in my hands. Immediately my stress level begins to lower.
    Do you feel barraged by this comment? I'm sorry.
    Just don't get me started on what's fit for embroidery. This BJP is not an embroidery only challenge: it is a bead challenge. And I am using beads.
    Helene - Glass0Beads