“You should teach classes.”
Probably once a show or festival, someone says this to me. I usually have a handful of reasons on any one given day for why I don’t teach. When people used to tell me to offer classes, I used to smile nicely and say “Thanks, I’ll think about it.” Now, after having heard it so many times I laugh and respond with, “Absolutely not.” That’s jarring for a lot of people. I understand that. I’ve had at least one person angrily call me selfish and storm out of my booth since I started responding in such a way. I promise, there’s a good reason for why I have such a strong stance.
The main reason I do not teach wire weaving is because there are dozens of fantastic resources out there already (you just need to look for them!). From an ethical standpoint, I do not want to take business from the artists that I learned from, and from a practical standpoint these teachers are so good that it would be silly for me to do something similar. There’s no need for me to reinvent the wheel.
What I am more than happy to do is to direct you guys to the aforementioned resources. Here is a list of a few of my favorites:
- Fine Art Wire Weaving by Sarah Thompson- This book lays out weaves, tools, and techniques as well as supplying projects in varying levels of difficulty from beginner to advanced. The pictures are very helpful. I wish I’d had this book when I started weaving.
- Go Art Yourself by Nicole Hanna- A Youtube channel with extensive tips for weaving. She also records herself making full projects and gives commentary as she goes.
- Copar Aingael Tutorials by Julie Hulick- Some of my favorite tutorials on the internet. Tutorials like these are helpful because you can learn specific skill sets from them and apply them creatively to new pieces.
- Lisa Barth Tutorials by Lisa Barth- Tutorials full of helpful, large color photographs. Some of these integrate beading. My favorite tutorial, the Celtic Knot Bail, includes several versions of the bail and suggestions of different situations in which to use it.
- Wire Wrap Tips and Tutorials Group on Facebook- This is a community of people of all skill levels sharing their projects, ideas, and resources.
I learned the hard way, over a decade of struggling, that spending money on tutorials and books really helps you develop your skill set. Trust me- there’s only so far that free tutorials can take you. Paid tutorials and books are often far more comprehensive with many photos and clearly written instructions that allow you to work at your own pace. If you feel like you’ve hit a plateau and have only ever used free tutorials, give the paid tutorials a try.
A final piece of advice: like most skills, there isn’t a magical shortcut to getting good at wire weaving. At the end of the day, what it takes is actually sitting down and doing the work. I’m pretty fond of telling people that my secret is that after I get frustrated and throw a piece across the room, I pick it back up and keep working. Though I say it to be funny, it really is true. So try your best, learn from your failures, be kind to yourself, and most of all: