A lenient twist on the "item a day" craft challenge

The "item a day" craft challenge has always intrigued me. But it's a huge commitment! Lots of crafters have work, families, and other obligations that may prevent them from crafting every single day. So I decided to see if I could make 7 things a week. Let's see how long I can keep this up.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Week 33: Ring Week, Round 2

Before this week's projects, I hadn't tried wire wrapping my own ring shanks in a reaaaaaaaaally long time.  Years, even.  I didn't have a lot of luck the first time I tried, and it really put me off the whole making rings idea.  But this time around I had several more years of wire wrapping experience and an actual ring mandrel to use which helped immeasurably.  While none of the results are perfect, none of them are too bad for what basically amounts to practice pieces.

Fluorite Vortex Ring
Traditional "vortex" style wire wrapped ring with a fluorite focal bead..  This was my first attempt at wire wrapping a ring shank, and while the focal piece looks good, the shank itself is kind of wonky.  Lesson learned!  My next experiments improved greatly from learning what went wrong with this piece.
Wire Wrapped Ring Shank
This ring shank was made from a single piece of 16 ga wire, which I then shaped  and added the eyes to.  Then I added an amazonite bead and some bead caps, and used the eyes to secure the focal beads.  This ring was also a learning experience; it is huge!  The next time I make this style of ring I'll be sure to use less wire for the shank so it can actually fit me.  : )
Twisted Wire and Stone Ring
This ring was the beginning of my real experimentation.  I decided to make a ring that had a beaded frame around the focal bead.  The design turned out pretty well, it isn't exactly symmetrical but that's ok for a first try.  When I do end up making this style again I think I'll steer clear of using twisted wire: it's super fancy and adds a very refined look to a piece but it's much harder to work with than regular wire.
Coral and Turquoise Ring
About here is where I really started to hit my stride.  I have these cool double drilled coral beads, and I realized that the natural curve in them meant they'd make great additions to a ring.  I went ahead and wrapped the ring shank, then secured the coral bead.  The coral bead looked pretty bare on its own, so I added some wire wrapped lapis, onyx, silver,and turquoise beads to give it some extra embellishment.  The results are quite fancy!

I liked the style of the coral ring so much, I decided to make a bonus project for this week and used the same technique again!  This time I didn't add a focal bead, and simply wire wrapped larger beads in the same style as the embellishing beads on the coral ring.  I used a larger wire gauge to give the ring some stability.  All in all I think this ring is pretty great, and it's an excellent example of how one technique can look amazingly different when you use different materials!  
Copper and Quartz Point Ring
Once again, I couldn't resist using some of those double terminated quartz crystals that I have.  Instead of doing a vertical wrap like I did last week, I tried wrapping this piece horizontally.  While it's not the fanciest of the rings this week is is my absolute favorite.  I'm going to wear this until it falls apart!
Autumn Jasper Wire Wrapped Ring
Right about here is where I decided to try and get super fancy .  I wanted to see if I could wire wrap a cabochon onto a ring base.  The answer is yes, but it takes a hell of a lot of time!  I used this cool "spider web" technique where you wrap four wires into a star shape, creating eight prongs.  Those prongs are then used to secure the cab.  Because the back of the ring was so much smaller than the front, I overlapped the prongs and secured them by making spirals so the cab wouldn't fall out.  I think I'll want to try this style again and see if I can find a way to secure the cab without covering quite so much of it up.
Fluorite Cabochon Wire Wrapped Ring
Finally, my favorite of the batch! Learning from my cabochon wrapping adventures above, I chose a smaller stone and parcel wrapped it.  I used lots and lots of strands of 26ga wire instead of using just a few in 22 ga wire.  This allowed the stone to shine through, and the ring isn't quite as busy as the one above.  Sadly, it turned out to be a hair too small for me to wear, so I'll have to find it a good home.
Finally, I seem to have gotten over my ring-making hump.  I expect that you'll see more rings before this 52/7 project is over, as I'm way less shy about experimenting now.  Yet one more great thing to come out of making myself make seven things a week.  I'm surprised that after 33 weeks there are still so many projects that I've meant to try and haven't gotten around to yet.  I'm beginning to wonder if I'll need a second year to get through everything I want to do!  : )  I'm sure I'll feel differently when tax season is upon me, but for now I'm all hyped up.  See you next week!

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