Friday, July 2, 2010

First steel project

My friend and the President of the Loose Bead Society, Brenda Schweder, makes the most interesting jewelry.  Steel wire is the main component in quite a bit of what she does, and her projects have been featured in many magazine articles.  She even has written two books (so far)!  I have links at the bottom of my post to the books on Amazon so you can easily check them out.

Anyway, before I start sounding more like a Brenda commercial, I'd like to tell you about my first "foray into steel".  I took a class from her at the Bead&Button show to learn how to work with steel and to make a "Winterfrost Pod" necklace which mixes steel with Swarovski crystals.  Brenda's a Swarovski Ambassador on top of everything else!

The coolest thing about working with steel is that you get to use hammers and anvils and steel wool and all kinds of "guy" tools.  For the list of tools I asked Steve to help me, but even he didn't know what they all were.  I had enough of what I needed, once I purchased the most adorable little anvil, and was soon cutting and bending and hammering.

I gotta tell you... there is something quite freeing about flattening the wire with a hammer.  I don't really understand how it works, but once you flatten it with a hammer, it gets hard.  They call that "work hardening" the wire.  It's something to do with the atoms moving around.  I was surprised that the wire got HOT after hammering it.

Anyway, I was talking about the "freeing" feeling of hitting wire with a hammer.  I found myself laughing and really enjoying myself.  I picture my hair being blown back by a huge wind and me being Thor, smiting my foes with my enormous hammer.  Okay, that's a bit of a stretch (I was using a little ball peen hammer, and there was no wind), but there was an element of power there.

We couldn't finish the project in class, and I was itching to finish it up.  All of the steel had been cut and bent and hammered, but I needed to clean it, wax it, and finish assembly.  I wouldn't let myself do it until I finished that green necklace I posted about a few days ago.  With that project done, I was free to work on this one!

Here's an overall shot of the necklace:

And here's one of me wearing it (I really need to start making bracelets so I don't have to take so many pictures of myself!):

This necklace could be a bit longer around the neck, too, but then I'd have to have a very low neckline to show all of the dangly bits.  I think this is fine, and I gotta say (ok... Mom and Mama - don't read the rest of this paragraph!) that I feel a teeny bit sexy with it on... plunging neckline, steel that I worked with my own hands, dangly bits all the way down...  Whew!  :::fanning myself:::

Ahem.  I'm back now.  So sorry.  :)  Making this necklace was a great experience, and I'm looking forward to making a bracelet to go with it, and maybe even another necklace.

The instructions for how to make this necklace start on page 52 of the "Wirework 2010" magazine and can be found on here on the Art Jewelry Magazine website for only $7.95!  There are chain mail projects, ways to form earring wires, projects with chain, and much more.  I haven't done much with wire, so I'll have to try some of the other projects in this magazine!

I know I'm back to sounding like a commercial, but don't forget to check out Brenda's books!



  1. Don't you love hammering away on the steel wire? I love the necklace you created. Tres, tres chic!

  2. It's gorgeous. :) I'm also thinking that hammering would be great therapy after a stressful day.

  3. You rock, Sexy Traci! Thanks for posting your version! You did a fabulous job! xoxoox!