Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Memory Wire -- Yes ! NO!

Okay I started with memory wire early on in this last venture of mine into jewelry making. I started jewelery making in high school in the '60's so when the --reject all things manufactured--unless you recycled it or bought in a thrift store
evolved in the late '60's
early '70's, I was right there.


Back to my point--memory wire. When I started this latest venture into jewelery making I embraced wire wrapping and tried to make myself into an Eni Oken plebe. No stringing, molds or touches for me. . . also at that moment my job, commute and family life didn't leave me the time or access to learn these techniques. Then. . . there it was in my local craft store, a little plastic bag next to the beads--memory wire! And it came in 2 size--choker and bracelet and silver or gold tone or base metal. How could I not be attracted? And while it wasn't wrapping with wire, my first project-a delicious cuff of gorgeous gems on memory wire brought a lot of positive attention and a good price. I had it on display at an event to promote a class I was teaching. A future client followed me around until I (gladly) sold it to her. In fact I hated to let it go and she was willing to pay a proper price for it. I was very complimented and felt she understood and appreciated my efforts. By the way, I never took a photo of that cuff but I tried to recreate it with smaller stones and it sold for a smaller price.

It seems the main thing with memory wire is strategy,
  • organizing the order of the beads,
  • balancing the weight the components.
But here's the thing, there is something very easy and yet irritating about memory wire. Wire wrapped beads and beads that are strung (on fiber of any nature) flow around the neck or wrist. Memory wire is "there!" It stays where you put it. It does not caress the body it doesn't quite resist the body. The body and the adornment exist in the same space. I guess they compete and the job of the designer is to find a way to bridge the two, body and adornment, into one.

Wearing and making jewelery are visual and tactile acts, so let me move past words and to the visual but before I do here are my questions to you. Do you use memory wire? What are your feelings about it? Can it be tamed? Memory wire. . .Yes? No?
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