Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Woven Sterling Bracelet

This bracelet was hand woven from 22 gauge sterling silver wire. When finished its diameter is about 3mm (0.1181 inches). Once the wire was woven it was "drawn" to make the weaving more uniform and tighten the weave. Drawing is the process of pulling the wire through an appropriate size hole in a metal plate. Once the woven wire is "drawn" it is cut to the proper length and end caps are soldered on to accommodate a jump ring and lobster claw. The wire for this bracelet was cut to 6.5 inches once the end caps and clasp were put on it was a finished length of 7 inches.

Interesting fact:
It takes about 1 foot of wire to make 1 inch of woven bracelet.

Behind the scenes:
These are the tools I use in the weaving process. The whole thing begins with a spool of 'dead soft' wire. The wire is cut into 1-2 foot lengths for weaving. If the wire lengths were any longer they would become difficult to use because of a process called 'work hardening' which is where the wire gets harder and stiffer as its molecules align from being worked with. The wire cutters are an obvious choice of tools as something is needed to cut the spooled wire into shorter lengths ;) The ice pic is used to form the wire into each loop as it is pulled through a previously made loop. The jaws of the pliers are smooth so that they will not mar or pinch the wire as they are used to pull the wire through the weaving proces. I have found the glove to be a very important part of making woven wire. I only wear the left of my winter gloves as that is the hand that I use to hold the wire while weaving. It is not absolutely necessary to wear a glove while weaving but when I don't my pointer and thumb fingers get very tender from the pressure of holding the wire while weaving.