Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bird Nesting

I'm completely obsessed with working with metal lately. I love reading about it and finding out the nitty gritty details. I've recently gone to the library and borrowed about 10 different books on metal jewelry making and metal and beads; I also got a instructional DVD! Haven't watched it yet and it might be over my head but I'm gonna give it shot.

Over the weekend I decided I wanted to try to make the ever popular wire wrapped bird nest ring. This ring basically involves beads and wire. I envisioned in my pretty little head a beautiful purple and silver bird's nest ring similar to some I had seen on Etsy.

So I figured the first thing I needed to do was go to my local bead store and pick up some silver wire, perhaps a mandrel (a ring sizing instrument used by jeweler, see how professional I'm becoming!), and perhaps a bead or two.

It turns out there is this great metalworking/ jeweler's store just 15 minutes from my house called Adornment! Jo-Ann Aiken, the owner, was very wise and helpful when I asked her numerous obnoxious newbie questions. I went into her store claiming that I wanted silver wire to make rings and she quickly asked me a series of questions:

"Have you ever worked with metal before?"
"Do you know how to make this ring?"
"How are you learning?"

I have to admit that I felt like I was back in 5th grade art class with Ms. Cook, so badly wanting to impress her with my juvenille skills and excitement!

Ms. Aiken suggested I use copper wire to practice before going to silver. She explained to me (and I know i've read this in books but I'm such a hands-on, visual learner. it's really better if you show me or make me do something if I'm going to retain anything) that copper was not only cheaper but also more maliable. Therefore I could bend it a lot before it would reach it's snapping point! Excellent for us full-of-flubs-beginners!

And so I left Adornment with one heavy-as-hell jeweler's mandrel, one key-sizing ring (to figure out what ring size my fingers are), and 3 different gauges of 5ft of copper wire to practice with!

I spent most of Saturday night practicing, ie: trying to drop my heavy-as-hell mandrel on my foot while pressing it against my stomache muscles and looping flimsy copper wire around it's cylintrical figure. And then again on Sunday, I played around some more, getting more inspirations from online etsy stores and different jewelry websites I enjoy perusing!

And now the grand presentation of my labor!

The White Pearl Nest
made with 26 gauge copper wire and a freshwater pearl

The Robin's Nest
made with 22 gauge copper wire and glass beads

The Plum Nest
made with 22 gauge copper wire and glass beads

The Fuchsia nest
made with 26 gauge copper wire and a freshwater pearl

Now, I realize these are not perfect and can well see the flaws in each piece, which...A. is why they are made from cheap copper!...B. I'm not selling them. and....C. Aren't flaws just a part of what makes indie art so great!

I'm really hoping to perfect something enough to justify a weekend silver purchase...practice, practice, practice!


  1. Sara! Thanks so much for sharing...these are beautiful! I'll keep coming back to see more.

  2. Great pictures of your creations. I am working in words but you make my fingers itch for a concrete medium! Brava, Sara!