Friday, October 8, 2010

Wire Wrapping~ How did it all begin?

Crystal gem wire wrap necklace Aquamarine Citrine Tourmaline Garnet Photo by Mandala Rain

I am a novice wire wrapper.  I look at some of the artists out there that also work with wire and I am ASTOUNDED by their work.  Absolutely astounded.  However, this does lead me to ponder how and where the art of wire wrapping started.  I plan to explore some of my wanderings through the history of wire wrapping with you today... only some.
Lightning Ridge opal, drusy diamond sterling and fine silver pendantPhoto from Bohemian Wire Wrapped Jewelry on the Rocks
Upon beginning my research I was astounded to see that many sources site that the earliest surviving examples of wire wrapped jewelry have been dated back to 1000 BC.  I also discovered that many of these early wire wrapped pieces showed signs that soddering had not yet been discovered.  So, essentially these craftsmen had to rely on their skills in their wrapping to hold the piece together.  And the fact that they have survived as long as they have is a true testament to the quality of their work and level of their skills.
Original wire work was done with thin strips of metal.  Metalsmiths would hammer bits if metal into thin sheets and then cut those sheets in strips, thus creating wire.  Filigree was the most common use for this 'wire'.  Bits of it were woven much like baskets are woven to create settings for stones.
Interesting links for further wire wrapping history information:

Many cultures have some form of wire wrapped jewelry in their history.  I was fascinated to discover how world wide the artform has been and still is. 
I plan to continue to study and perfect and expand on my wire wrapping designs and techniques in the hopw of someday being half as good as some of the artists whose work I have shown here.  This last picture is my latest wire wrapped creation.

1 comment:

GlitterCritter said...

Thank you so much for posting this, I learned something new today, I never knew that the first "wire" was really thin metal ribbon, as I picture those thin metal strips. That that is what filigree is traditionally made with makes sense from what I've seen of Turkish and Slavic jewelry.
I like the direction you're taking with your wire work, very unusual and creative!
Thank you so much for using my picture and posting a link to my studio,