Speciality projects using wire and different weaving methods to create objects is referred to as wirework. Jewellery designers will often implement wirework techniques to create different types of decorative wire to encase or embellish a jewellery piece. The wire is shaped, curved, bent or coiled until a shape or object emerges. Thicker wire is often used to develop woven wire strands for specific weaving techniques such as the basket weave. Making a basket weave wirework panel is used as another element for the jewellery piece. Designers use wirework woven panels as decorative features for jewellery items such as flat-backed pendant necklaces.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Wires (your gauge choice)
- Wire cutters
- Heavy book or clipboard
- Round-nose pliers
Cut three wires with your wire cutters in the length of your project. For instance, if you are building a wirework panel for a large 3-inch square flat-backed pendant, cut the wire 4 inches longer in length than the pendant. The length will be reduced as the wire is wove into other wire strands. You will use the tails at each end to wrap the braided strands in place. Keep in mind that the higher the wire gauge, the thinner the wire.
Evenly space three separate wires vertically on your work surface, such as one-half inch apart. Use a heavy object such as book to hold the top end of the wire strands in place. As an alternative, clip the strands to a clipboard.
Overlap the left wire over the centre wire, leaving a 1-inch tail at the top. The left wire will be in the centre and the centre wire will be on the left.
Overlap the right wire over the centre wire, leaving a 1-inch tail at the top. The right wire will be in the centre and the centre wire will be on the right.
Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the three wires are braided. Make sure to leave a 1-inch tail at the end as well. Keep in mind that the looser you braid the wire, the more you will be able to see through the weave.
Bend the top right wire tail in a 90-degree angle with your round-nose pliers toward the centre wire.
Wrap the centre wire with the right wire tail. You will continue to bend the wire around the centre wire in a loop-like shape until the tail is completely wrapped.
Repeat steps 6 and 7 with the left tail end. Bear in mind you will be wrapping over the looped wire. The thicker your wire gauge, the thicker the wrapped ends. Trim off any excess wire with your wire cutters.
Repeat steps 6, 7, and 8 with the bottom wire tail to encase the strands.
Repeat steps 1 through 9 for each woven wire strand needed to form the basket weave. For instance, if you are building a wirework panel using six vertical strands and six horizontal strands, you will need to cut 18 wires to complete the vertical section and 18 wires to complete the horizontal section.
Position your woven wire strands vertically on your work surface. Use a heavy object or clipboard as in Section 1, Step 1. This will be your wirework grid.
Pass one woven strand horizontally under the first vertical woven strand. Slightly pull it through for the next pass.
Pass the horizontal strand over the second vertical strand.
Continue to pass the horizontal strand in an under-and-over pattern through the subsequent vertical strands until the last strand on your grid is wove. The under-and-over pattern is referred to as the basket weave.
Repeat steps 2, 3, and 4 in this section until you have finished weaving all woven wire strands. You will have formed a basket wove woven wirework panel for your jewellery design.
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