Friday, February 28, 2014
Create this verdant tribute to the classic daffodil in gold wire and delicate spring hues. By Sue Mason-Burns
Sue is a wirework designer and maker, originally from New Zealand. She now lives and works in Birmingham, where she creates her unique range of wirework jewellery from her home studio.
Spring is the season of renewal, when the world awakens from the long sleep of winter and new growth emerges. And what better way to symbolise spring than the quintessential daffodil? When the daffodils start to appear it means that warmer weather is on its way. The daffodils are designed by the very talented Elise Canning of Artisan Flower Beads by Elise. They are a vibrant yellow with a shimmery centre, and they just scream springtime! Sue has surrounded them with delicate greens and golds and just a hint of purple, reminiscent of fields of bluebells.
1mm (18 gauge) gold-plated wire
0.3mm (28 gauge) gold-plated wire
Polymer clay daffodil beads
18mm gold-plated sieve disks
6mm x 4mm green faceted abacus glass beads
Assorted 6mm and 4mm beads in greens and golds
Clear crystal drop beads
Purple Lucite flower beads
4mm x 5mm x 0.8mm gold-plated crossed chain
6mm gold-plated jumprings
4mm gold-plated jumprings
Gold-plated trigger clasp
Bent nose, round and chain nose pliers
Steel bench block
Polymer clay beads:
Flush cut 50cm (20in) of 1mm wire. Use a flower template, either one you have drawn, or downloaded and printed. Tape one end of the wire, with a 2cm overhang, to the template along a line of one a petal. Use your fingers to gently follow the lines of the template with the wire. Grip the wire with bent nose pliers to allow you to follow the bends of the petals.
When all the petals have been formed, remove the tape and join the wires together by laying them parallel and coiling seven times with one end of a 1m (3ft) length of 0.3mm wire. Form a loop in the shorter wire tail and a spiral to the longer wire tail. This spiral will form a platform for the daffodil bead to sit on when it is added to the design.
Use a chasing hammer on a steel bench block to hammer the wire flower shape flat. This will also have the effect of allowing your flower to hold its shape, as the process of hammering, or forging, hardens as well as flattens the wire, giving it rigidity. Make sure that you do not hammer the coiled section of the flower as this will break this part of the wire.
Thread a daffodil onto the 0.3mm wire. With the base of the daffodil bead sitting on the spiral from Step 2, secure to the opposite side of the flower shape by coiling the wire around the outer wire of the spiral and a curve between two petals. Coil three or four times for security. Use the 0.3mm wire to add faceted green beads, coiling around the frame between each addition.
Add crystal drop beads in the centre of each petal by threading the bead, narrow end first, followed by a 4mm bead. Take your wire outside the 4mm bead and back through the crystal drop bead and secure to the frame of the flower. Continue adding an assortment of 6mm and 4mm beads, using the beads to cover any wire that is showing. Secure to the flower frame between additions.
Centre a sieve disk over the rear of the design, covering where the beads have been secured to the frame. Attach by taking your wire through the outermost holes of the sieve and securing around the flower frame. When all holes have been sewn through, secure the wire to the frame and trim. Make two further flowers, slightly smaller in size, omitting the crystal drops.
Centre a 4mm bead onto the 0.3mm wire and thread both ends through a purple Lucite bead. Take the larger flower and one smaller one and lay the sieve disk over the ends of a petal of each. Continue adding Lucite flowers with 4mm bead centres to the sieve disk, securing the petal frames as you go. Add 4mm green beads to the sieve disk to cover any gaps.
Add a sieve disk to the back of the disk added at Step 7, lining up the holes. Use the wire tail to attach the two disks together through the outermost holes. Add 4mm green beads to each pass of the wire through the holes to cover the edge of the sieve disks, making sure the beads lay at the front of the design. Repeat for the other small flower.
Attach three sets of two 6mm jumprings to an upper petal on each smaller flower, attaching each set of two to the previous set of two. Cut two 12cm (5in) lengths of chain and attach to the last set of jumprings with a 4mm jumpring. Attach the clasp to one end of chain with a 4mm jumpring and a 6mm jumpring to the other end of the chain.
For a different effect, try using the ball end of your chasing hammer to apply texture to your wire design.
The sieve disks are great for covering unsightly wirework at the rear of the design, but they would also make an attractive flower centre.
Run your fingers across the back of your work to make sure there are no wires sticking out that could snag clothing or skin.
Extra projects, make a ring and a brooch:
Follow the instructions for the necklace to make the larger central flower and simply add a brooch back finding, rather than the sieve disk, to the rear of the flower.
Using a longer piece of wire, make a smaller version of the flower. Use the extra length of tail wire to wrap three times around a ring mandrel, trim and finish with a small loop. Add the daffodil bead and the surrounding beads, making sure to secure the small loop when you coil around the frame.