wire crochet: the power of letting random into the mix

Last Saturday I took a wire crochet class with Laura Sultan at the That's Women's Work art gallery. I've fiddled around with wire crochet on my own a few times, which mostly meant I'd used up a lot of wire and got nowhere.

During the class we learned how to make a wire and bead necklace using one of my favourite design approaches: something that is more complex when finished than it was to actually make. It's one of the best things about DIY — a dollop at randomness at just the right time in the process creates something that's both unique and aesthetically pleasing. Basically, you give up total control and let the universe have a hand. That's something that factory-made jewelry, clothes, and other items are never able to replicate, and it's why DIY is still so important in a factory-transformed world.

All right, so what did we do? We learned how to chain stitch wire with beads, and then weave strands of beaded chains together to create necklaces. At the end of the class, my strands looked like this:

I finished the ends with short lengths of chain and a clasp at home, which created this finished version:
The really cool part (besides learning something new) was that everyone else's work used different beads and different coloured wire, and in each instance it totally transformed the work. It's similar to what happens in knitting when Kaffe Fassett's Persian Poppies "rules" get worked in different colourways.

Besides getting to see how dramatically different one construction method looks with different materials combinations, the class structure gave us a lot of time to talk about different ways to work with the technique, the effects of different colourways, and other things which are essential to jewelry design, but often get lost in classes because all the attention is being focused on the working, not the designing.

We got spoilt with tea and fancy baked goods, and in the second half with wine. It was a very full two hours in more ways than one!

Laura teaches this class, classes on chain maille, and others on a regular basis. Check out her Meetup group for details.