Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wire to the Rescue!

Whomever Mr. Murphy was, he was either a pessimist or a realist. His long standing and much over-quoted law, “Whatever can go wrong probably will” is, however, a good one for teachers to take to heart. Try as we might to be well prepared for our classes, unanticipated stuff happens. 

I was reminded of that recently when I checked the tracking number of a package I was having delivered for Christmas. The package went to Ohio. I live in Florida. I chuckled to myself thinking of all the times I’ve sweated out the delivery of supplies in time for a class or workshop. Whew!

I’ve learned to have a few quickie projects up my sleeve. I try to always have a stash of emergency supplies tucked away that gives me peace of mind - just in case. A supply of fine silver wire and PMC paste will save the day and wow your students.

First, start with a lecture about the various gauges of wire. I keep a sample of brass and copper wire in assorted gauges, along with a wire gauge meter, that shows how to determine the thickness and number of the gauge. My lecture also addresses the overwhelming options – wire hardness, shape, size, etc. – which are available and how to properly order the wire they need for various projects.

Next, give a demonstration of how to create several different types of ear wires, clasps, and wire wraps for attaching beads and findings. This is a good time to discuss the proper tools for wire wrapping and forming. I encourage students to practice on base metal wire to develop their skills before moving up to the expensive stuff. This is also good time to show samples of fine silver embedded in metal clay and how to firmly anchor it so it won’t pull out post-firing.

Then, for a great take-away project that’s fast and fun, I take a length of fine silver wire (usually 20 g), fold it, and twist it back on itself, wrapping around and around from top to bottom but leaving an open loop (eye ring) at top and bottom. Next, take PMC paste and generously coat the wire with multiple coats to conceal the twists in the wire. Dry thoroughly between layers and fire. This technique produces terrific earrings, circle rings, links and more with very little effort.

Sending you and yours wishes for a joyful and prosperous New Year!

Creative blessings,

Linda Kline
Director of Education

1 comment:

Marilyn Davenport said...

Linda, Thanks for your tips. Great ideas.

Marilyn Davenport