Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bead Chat magazine - the test group :)

I became part of many interesting jewelry related groups - and one of them is Creative Bead Chat, Melinda Orr's baby, along with Artisan Whimsy. As part of Melinda's continuous efforts to improve the group and the AW community - she recently started a digital magazine.

Not only that - she also came up with this gorgeous idea of having one artist providing 5 samples to 5 testers, and the AW Test group was born. I had the pleasure and opportunity to be part of the first group and we were gifted wire samples from Melinda herself.

The wires were different gauges and materials (copper and brass) - and a surprise: a new flat aluminum wire. When I received the package and I felt the softness of the aluminum wire I knew immediately what I want to try first - and out came the embossing machine :)

Since the wire has a small width (3mm and 5mm) - the embossing worked well, but it wasn't very prominent. After a few failed trials of giving it some sort of a patina or colour, one of the other testers pronounced the magic words 'alcohol inks'. Many trips to many hobby and art stores and I ended up at Michaels and the proud owner of some (expensive) bottles of alcohol inks.

Now we were talking!
This is some sort of a pendant - I have an idea on how to finish it, and as soon as I gather some time I will try to see if my idea works as planned :)

Melinda included 12 ga copper wire in perfect bangle-size length. At first I thought I would make some bangles, then another idea crept in and... after some texturing, colouring, wire wrapping and forming I ended up with this:
There is an almost sad story behind this bracelet / cuff / bangle. Because I was unsure on how it will look like I didn't form the bangles and solder them prior to wrapping the aluminum in between. After finishing the wraps I found myself wondering how am I going to finish this now?! And I cautiously tried to solder the 2 copper 'walls' together... which had 2 side effects:

  • it almost took the colour off the aluminum area 
  • it beautifully patina-ed (making up words) the copper
I was almost crying thinking I destroyed the aluminum area - when I realized it's not destroyed, just beautifully 'aged' somehow in an interesting way. And the patina on the copper is absolutely delicious!

At this point I wanted to try one more thing - so a bit of extra hammering and a bit of colour gave me the almost-ready components. A bit of wire wrapping was needed and I used the almost black wire - which is absolutely fabulous! I messaged to Melinda immediately asking her what is that wire: it is the Parawire vintage bronze (20 ga). It is so easy to handle, so nice on hands, I couldn't believe. Now I understand how  people can create some of those beautiful wire wraps I admire: with this soft wire the intricacies will surely be possible! 

Aren't they cute?!

This is the story of my testings - I still have lots of the wire and it will be used well :)
Thank you, Melinda, for the opportunity. Thank you to the March testing group members, it was fun to work along and chat and exchange ideas!

Ali of Northwoods Creative Studio
Alicia of All Pretty Things <= you're here
Kristing of YaY! Jewelry
Kumi of Malie Kai Design
Linda of Lindy's Designs

And last, but surely not least: please make sure to visit the AW digital magazine - for amazing designs, vendors, and latest news on Artisan Whimsy:

Artisan Whimsy April 2013 Bead Chat Magazine


  1. It's a nice coincidence to see you using the flat wire here, Alicia, as I am awaiting an order with 1/8" wide flat copper and bronze wire (they called it bezel wire). I was wondering what you used to seal the alcohol ink... whenever I put it on metal I find it so sticky (I use the Ranger Adirondack brand). I was going to try applying some Renaissance wax to seal. What do you think?

    I had seen the flat wire used extensively over on French blogs to make really interesting and dramatic pieces. I have always wanted to try it myself with polymer clay! If you google "Fil d'Aluminium Plat" you will see all kinds of ideas. One artist who makes really cute shaped pendants with polymer clay and the flat wire is Clafoutine:


    I am definitely going to go have a look at what the other testers in your group have made!

  2. I cannot wait to see what you do with that coil, Alicia~the second I saw it, an idea popped into my head. I am eager to see what idea you have for it. That cuff is WONderFUL! If I saw that at a show, I would just have to put it on. Gorgeous!

  3. Alicia, great job with the aluminum. That bracelet was a great idea and turned out awesome. What a fun process this was.


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