Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wire Inspirations

  How many of you receive 'The Jewelry Making Daily" email? This morning's email began with a promising title  "Wireworker​s: Did you know you're a metalsmith​?".

  The article was a particularly good one for the daily email but it wasn't about wire working at all. It was an encouragement to wire workers to move into metalsmithing and supposedly expand their techniques. Which, to my mind, was sending a subtle message that wire holds you down and to truly advance you need to move into working with sheet or solder.

  One tiresome factor (for me) in all the daily newsletters from the jewelry industry is a push to teach you the next new thing. They glorify the idea that it's good to seek after every jewelry making technique that comes your way. That we should always be open and expanding ourselves into new mediums.

  My local bead store ladies often give me puzzled looks that I don't take a class in polymer clay or the latest free class offered on pouring resin. It isn't that I don't value other forms of jewelry. I admire and delight in many other styles of work and other people's creative techniques and strengths. Some polymer clay artists just break my heart with the beauty of their works and I'm tempted to go tearing off in a new direction and spend my time and energy learning silver clay instead of wire.

  The point of my post today is not to discourage anyone from trying new techniques or enjoying new classes if that is their hearts desire. The point of my post is to offer a counterbalance against the constant need for new. I want to remind you what can happen if you stick with something.

    Here is a list of great wire artists who have stuck with wire for 20-30 years. Look at what they can do:

Lynne Merchant has finally updated her website and it contains every article/interview written about her for free

Here is a link to the Jewelry Making Daily email today


  1. You are so right :).
    Thanks for the links :)!

  2. Thanks Jaana!! I appreciate your comment.

  3. Excellent point, Mary! Do I want to excel at one thing or be mediocre at a dozen?

  4. Message received, loud & clear!!! Thanks for posting some great links!!!

  5. I see the other comments got lost from earlier postings. As you and Nancy stated, this is so true of what I am seeing with other jewlery makers. They are continually jumping from one band wagon to the next and not really mastering any of the techniques completely.
    I learned long ago not to venture off course simply because the two mediums I work in, scrimshaw and wire, have to compliment and support each other. So, if I do venture down a side road, it's when I'm burnt out and need another creative outlet strictly for playing.
    Your statement as well as Nancy's vanished one were so true and to the point.

  6. Hi Mary! Thanks for your comment! I know blogger has been having some trouble the last few days and that is why comments have been getting lost.

    I imagine that Scrimshaw is a very demanding mistress, who needs another one? hehe

  7. Mary, Thanks for the great reminder and for the links to some jaw dropping sites. I also have two mistresses, wire work and pine needle basketry. Sometimes, I panic and think I should be learning this or that.. especially when sites try to sell the latest and greatest techniques. I appreciate the thought of sticking with what you love.

  8. You are right. Many wire artists have this feeling that when "grow up" they will be metalsmiths. And many metalsmiths actually look down upon wire work. Its strange, but it happens.

    I am one of those who keep jumping from one thing to another, without mastering any. But that's the way I am. Its not just with jewelry making...its with everything in my life. I feel sad about being a Jack of all trades and master of none. But finally at this age I realized I should just accept myself as who I am. Its true I will most probably never master anything in life, but this is who I am...I need to do too many things, I need to jump into everything, taste everything. And again...not talking of just jewelry making.

    Now I'll go see the links you have posted. :-))

  9. If wirework ever got boring for me, I would look for something else! I bore very easily and I haven't left, yet. It seems like the article suggests that there is something WRONG with wire work and that just makes me angry and sad at the same time. When will this artform get the recognition it deserves? We don't need fellow artists looking down their nose at us.

    Thanks for the article, now I have to go finish the piece I was working on... :)

  10. I had the same reaction you did. As you know, I've commented about this attitude as well. I can incorporate techniques that can be used on sheet metal as well as wire. I've been at this for over 16 years now, and haven't gotten bored yet! I think the more the wireworking community sticks up for itself, the more recognition it will receive. We devote ourselves to the same level of excellence and professionalism that the other forms of metalworking ask of themselves, we just need to show it.