Fashionistas and jewellery enthusiasts will recall those countless guilty purchases at the cash register; that moment when deep down you know you really don’t need to spend on another piece, but one extra necklace in the collection won’t hurt and it goes nicely with that killer outfit you just bought, so you do it anyway. But who says you have to compromise on treating yourself or stepping out glamourously? Start a new hobby or a small business making your own jewellery. That’s right! Do it yourself!
Think Cleopatra – rich, bold and exquisite. The Wire Wrapped Viking Knit technique, which dates back to ancient Egypt epitomizes the term ‘statement piece’ and is a welcome departure from the ‘same old’ pieces you’ve grown weary of seeing in every jewellery collection in-store. Professional Jeweller and Product Development Officer at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation, Donna-Gay Uter explains that as the name suggests, the technique consists primarily of wire and resembles the weaving pattern used in crocheting.
How to Viking Knit (Hand Knit)
To do a basic wire wrapped piece, you will need the following: 20 guage copper wire, a wooden draw plate, a wooden dowel, a pair of flat-nosed pliers, cellophane tape and a two-inch card. Having acquired the tools, it’s time to wire wrap. Begin by wrapping the wire around a 2-inch card 6 times, fasten the loose ends together, remove the wrapped wire and open and twist to form a 6 leaf clover. Affix the clover to the wooden dowel using the tape, cut the braiding wire at 26 inches, use the flat-nosed pliers to create a spur bend to one end, secure one end of the clover and start looping the wire in and out of the clover in a right to left direction (like crocheting). Add more wire for the desired length, whether it is an earring, bracelet or necklace. Pull the knitted wire through the wooden draw plate to the desired thickness, then add jump rings to both ends and place a hook or clasp to create a closure for the ‘perfect finish’!
The ‘Perfect Finish’ Workshop
The ‘Perfect Finish’ headlines the JBDC’s upcoming Wire Wrapping Techniques workshop. The Workshop is designed to assist local jewellery producers to explore the design and product possibilities available through the utilisation of the wire wrapping techniques to create unique and exceptional pieces of jewellery. The Workshop will however be paying special focus to the finish of the pieces that are produced during the workshop. It has been difficult at times, for many producers and retailers alike to produce/access pieces that are not only creative but that also possess a high quality finish that will set the product apart from its competitors both locally and internationally. This workshop represents part of the solution to that problem as the focus this time will be on wire wrapping.
Renowned local Jewellery Specialist, Valentine McLean will be lead facilitator at the four-day workshop set for March 15, 22, 29 & 31 at the JBDC’s Incubator & Resource Centre, 76 Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston. Visit www.jbdc.net for registration details. It’s time to make a statement, handmade by you!