W is for wire and Weasels

Wire. Wire, wire, wire.

Seems like that’s all I’ve seen this week, though I know that I also was working with some interesting beads and working on cutting an Amethyst cabochon.

For the last show of the year, I’m working on stock starting from both ends of the price spectrum.  The expensive things take a lot more thought, which I do while I’m making 20 or so wire elements for more reasonably priced items.

One of the wire projects is a butterfly design that I came up with a year or two ago.  The design has been kicking around in my brains, so I decided to do as much with that little butterfly as I could.


Each Butterfly needs two pieces of wire for the wings.  I clean up each wire end before shaping a wing and then I anneal the wire.

Annealing make the wire soft again and I need it to be quite soft as I’m going to hammer it flat and then texture it.

If I had a hammer... and I do!!!

If I had a hammer… and I do!!!

Once it’s all textured (and I have hammered my thumbs a couple of times) its time to put these two wings together. To the solder station!

burnt wings

Yumm!! Extra crispy.

We’re looking ugly now.

Depending on what I’m going to do with the butterfly, I might leave them dirty and continue working on them (sometimes having a dark base is a good thing), but these need to be shiny. Into to the pickle pot for a bath.

clean wings

Better. But still not very appealing.

Got to clean these up and form them into a nice butterfly shape. This means sanding. I spend a lot of time sanding, which turns my fingers odd colors and I often sand off part of fingernails.

formed wings

Copper butterflies on velvet.

So much better! To keep these a bright copper color longer, they got sealed with an acrylic. Copper will oxidize, even when sealed, over time, so this really only postpones the inevitable. Still, even as these age, they will be pretty.

Ear wings

Barry Kripke says ‘earrings’.

Each butterfly gets a tila bead body and brass antenna. Suspended by silver plated wire s chain (more wire, filing and forming) from a Sterling Silver ear wire.

All that from two beads and some wire.

In the meantime my brain was working on the elaborate project. Here’s a sneak peek at what I’ve been thinking about

In progress, but most of the kinks are worked out.

In progress, but most of the kinks are worked out.