Why I Don’t Teach Wire Weaving, and Resources if You Want to Learn

“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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Wire Wrap Tips and Tutorials Group on Facebook- This is a community of people of all skill levels sharing their projects, ideas, and resources.
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Pendants based on the Interlock Bail Wrap tutorial by Copar Aingeal: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CoparAingealTutorial

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:

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Cleaning Copper Jewelry

Copper is amazing. One of the reasons I love it so much is how much it changes over time. As it is exposed to the elements, it oxidizes, creating a blue-green patina on it’s surface. Not everyone wants that though, and bright shiny copper is lovely in its own right.

Patina and accumulated dirt and grime can be easily removed from copper jewelry with a few natural ingredients. All you need is some lemon juice, salt, and a small bowl to mix them in. My partner’s ring got covered in black acrylic paint and other gunk the other day, so I took a few pictures while I cleaned it!

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Ewwww.

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Juice 1/2 a lemon into a small bowl, and add 2 teaspoons of salt. You want just enough liquid in there to cover the piece you want to clean.
  2. Place your copper jewelry into the bowl and gently swirl the mixture around. Make sure that the piece is covered. If it’s not, add a little more lemon juice and salt.
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  3. Set your timer for about 5 to 10 minutes and let the piece sit.
  4. After 5 to 10 minutes has passed, remove the jewelry from the bowl and gently rub in with a paper towel. Most, if not all, of the patina and gunk should come off with minimal effort.
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  5. Rinse the piece in running water and then dry it with a soft, lint free cloth.
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There are a few things to keep in mind before you clean your jewelry. Some stones like calcite can be harmed by acids and it would be best to keep them out of lemon juice. It’s also important to be patient when you’re cleaning wire wrapped jewelery. Small wires can get snagged on rags or bent out of place if they are scrubbed with too much force. Instead, use less pressure and trust the lemon juice and salt to do its job.

If you have any questions or other ideas on how to clean copper jewelry, leave me a comment!