Sunday 23 March 2014

Variations on a Teardrop Chain...

After seeing this chain on Pinterest this morning...

Tutorial for a handmade chain, from Lampwork Etc., tutorial available here.

...I was meandering around in my mind as I often do wondering how I could improve on this. Because I tend to not like "open-ended" anything -- if for no other reason than I have long hair that gets caught in everything, not to mention if I'm wearing anything expensive or precious, it's guaranteed gonna get snagged and ruined -- I came up with this variation where the round loop carries to wrap and contain the teardrop end.

I have been making a lot of wire "bone" chains in copper and decided to try this new chain in tinned copper, my other go-to metal since I'm also using a lot of handmade, raw and matte stones, pewter pendants and coin silver anything these days. FYI, I was at Arton Beads in Toronto the other day and noticed that while a bit shiny it's a grey shiny: their white gold plated jump rings actually have a pewterish colour to them, which makes them a bit more blendy than regular silver-plated jump rings with the tinned copper wire.

After a bit of experimenting with the wire and pliers (I arbitrarily picked 20 gauge wire for this, and worked off an 18-24" piece of wire) this is what I came up with. At about 1/2", I found the little ones are too stumpy, although they'd make nice dangles for something with another bead hanging from them. The longer links forming the chain run from 5/8" to 3/4" in length.

This now kinda looks like barbed wire to me... which is interesting, because one of my intentions is to make more guy-ish jewellery and this would make a cool bracelet or choker/necklace for guys and not be that expensive. Looked up barbed wire images on Google and found this...

Bwcollage1 well as all kinds of jewellery with barbs... so I guess I'm a little late to the party. Story of my life.

Pretty simple. Also the hammering isn't that loud. Tinned copper wire is very soft and it only requires a few taps to work-harden the links.

Pix are fairly self-explanatory. Let the wire poke out a bare 1/2", then wrap the wire around your pliers.

Bend wire straight back at a 45 degree angle, and 45 degrees to the plane of the teardrop loop.

Do a regular wrapped loop...

(After you've completed your first link and before completing your wrapping on the second link, don't forget to string the first teardrop to start the chain.)

Wrap three times. Cut the wire so that when you squeeze it in, the cut end will line up between the two parallel wires at the top of the teardrop shape. Try to goosh it down in between the two wires a bit. Use a file to smooth off any rough edges.

Ready to hammer... voila.

Chain in progress & some variations:

I had some 6/0 seed beads handy, so I tried a few links with them. You'll need to straighten out the wires at the top of the teardrop so they're parallel and squash them flat a bit to get them both into the seed bead, then complete the wrap up top. Be careful to wrap firmly but not too tightly or you'll break the bead.

Then I got to thinking... my barbed wire has turned into a noose... This would make a nice earring.

This is the part of making something where things get a little fuzzy: as in, have I started to lose the concept? Does this still read as, say, a stylised barbed wire chain, or a noose design... or is it kind of a nothing now with the skulls included???

I'll send this to one of my guy customers and get his input.

What are you working on these days? Thanks for looking!


Unknown said...

Hi I love this tut for the wrapped version, I am skittish about snags and loosing jewelry.

thanks alot

P.s. I love the skulls

Barbara said...

Thanks, Anzia. This is also a much stronger design than rosary-style loops, especially with finer/soft-tempered wire. Takes a few seconds longer to make and a bit more wire, but I think security is a big selling point.

Anonymous said...

Barbara, I look at this and see precision, masculinity, and still a whiff of the barbed wire theme.
Your work is so perfect it looks machine-made…
And, there's something darkly humorous about this chain….I love it

Barbara said...

Machine made... dunno if that's a compliment or not, but yes, I prize precision in most things. Comes from a lifetime of drafting, typesetting, layout, etc. Good thing life is so messy, and mine is a perfect -- hah! -- example of that. I love that you see dark humour in my work. That is a wonderful compliment. Thank you!