I’ve always been interested in stones/minerals and have collected them ever since I was a child. Going to the science museum and seeing wonderful specimens and beautiful jewelry, like the Hope Diamond and Faberge Eggs, has always fascinated me. I would dig through bins in the gift shops looking to spend what little money I had on polished stones, crystals, and fossils. I never thought of doing anything with them except carry them in my pocket for show and tell. I just liked looking at them I guess, holding them in my hand and feeling the smoothness of a stone or the point of a crystal.
It wasn’t until my 20’s that I discovered wire wrapping when I saw a friend with a piece they were wearing. It was just a simple spiral around a tumbled stone and I though “I could do that!” By then I had filled an old clear pretzel barrel full of tumbled stones and interesting rocks I picked up here and there. So I went to the craft store and picked up some hobby wire and a set of pliers and just started wrapping it around the stones and making simple spirals for a design and loops for bails.
I gave my pieces to friends and family, hung them from the rear view mirror, attached them to lamp and fan pulls, and just about anywhere else I could put them. I gave one to my older brother who began to whip it around like a bola and the stone flew out and across the room saying “that wasn’t made very well”. Putting anger aside at the fact that someone would treat a piece of jewelry like a toy I decided to start “brother proofing” my wire wraps by adding support wires into the spiral.
This worked, but it was difficult to keep the loops tight and and the spiral close to the stone. I probably scrapped half of what I made and started over or just gave up in frustration. There had to be a better way to secure a stone that was easier and didn’t take away from the stone as much.
While on vacation, I saw what I was looking for in a little gift shop. They had those simple twist wire wrapped crystals, that I now know come from Alibaba. I bought one and deconstructed it to see how it was made. It was so simple and easy, just 2 wires twisted together on the sides and tightened around the base and top of the stone. My early ones were sloppy and not very tight, straight, or consistent in the twist. After making dozens I started to figure out how to tighten the base, hopefully without breaking the wire, and how to get the wires evenly spaced with consistent twists.
Little did I know this was just the beginning. I still had no idea there was a whole world of wire wrapping out there that would fuel my interest and turn this interest into a serious hobby.
- Part 1: How it all started - Interest to Hobby
- Part 2: Hobby to Passion