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Wirework Book Review

Art of Wire Wrapped Jewelry

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Wirework: An Illustrated Guide to the Art of Wire Wrapping

Wirework: An Illustrated Guide to the Art of Wire Wrapping

Interweave Press
Wirework: An Illustrated Guide to the Art of Wire Wrapping by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong (Interweave $22.59 US) teaches readers how to make wire jewelry without the need for solder. Well-known wire artist and instructor Dale "Cougar" Armstrong shows off her tried and true methods for making wire jewelry using hand-tools, precious metal wire, and gemstones.

Techniques and Tools

Though techniques are discussed some in the tools area of the book, it primarily explains how each tool is used for wire wrapping. The bulk of the techniques are covered in the beginning sections of each project chapter. For example, the rings chapter first has a "Ring Basics" section where the author explains methods commonly used to make wire wrapped rings. Then the projects that follow expand and demonstrate how these basic methods are turned into finished jewelry projects. Designs also include bracelets, pendants, earrings, and necklaces.

The Projects

There are 18 fully-illustrated projects showing how to wrap wire to create a large variety of jewelry designs, often incorporating loose gemstones and some beads. I have to admit that though I use wire a great deal in my own jewelry designs, I've never been a big fan of wire wrapping. To often the designs are overly large and ornate for my personal taste; however, I found that I liked a lot of the designs in this book, especially the earrings such as the "Gem Drop Earrings" project. It combines wire, chain, and loose pear-shaped gemstones. The stones are faceted and you would typically expect to see them in a pronged ring, but they look great in this long dangling design.

Concluding Thoughts

I found many of the designs to be both practical as far as being wearable and attractive, not your typical wire wrapped jewelry. Along with the projects, there is a scattering of variation projects to inspire and show what is possible with the techniques offered. The information provided is explained clearly enough to get the beginner started, though I would warn complete novices that like any jewelry method, wire wrapping can take some practice. Obviously, the author has had plenty of it, and she has brought her expertise from the classroom into the pages of this wonderful book.
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