Daily Wire Tip July 15: Developing a Wire Instinct

By on July 14, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
July 15, 2010


I’m still trying to understand the uses of different gauges and shapes of wire and their uses. If I am pleased with how my design came out, whether in a necklace, ring, bracelet, etc., does it really matter the type of wire used? Thank you!

-Ruby in Cumming, Georgia


No Ruby, a lot of folks try using gauges and shapes that are different than whatever the chosen pattern suggests is used for a particular design. This is one of the ways that you can become more proficient with your gauge/temper skills. When you experiment with a variety of wire types, and those choices “work” and you are pleased with the results, you are on your way to becoming a designer!

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  1. avatar

    Catherine Franz

    July 15, 2010 at 10:27 am

    I’m a beginner as well. I enjoyed this question because it was hovering in the back of my mind as well. I create test pieces all the time by experimenting with different wires or wire combinations. Last week I did wire twisting trials. It was so much fun.

    This week, I’ve started a notebook. In the notebook I’m keeping a test piece and/or picture along with notes on what I used and how long it took me to make one.

    Do you keep such a notebook? If so, can you share with us what you’ve included in it?

    Appreciate any ideas you have. Or maybe some of your readers have.

    • avatar


      July 18, 2010 at 5:52 pm

      Hi Catherine! Yes, all of the WS Faculty and I keep ‘design and inspiration’ notebooks, and throughout my DVDs as well as in a lot of the Daily Tips answers, I constantly recommend that folks keep notebooks. Included in such a tablet can be a combination of sketches for future design ideas, important notes that are taken as a new design is ‘worked out’, mistakes that you do not wish to make again, and absolutely anything that will help you continue on the ‘learning curve’. Sometimes I also add a picture cut from a magazine, tape that has been used to plan wraps on a certain size/shape stone or cabochon, measurements for a specific width of ring and how much of a certain gauge wire it took to wrap it, as well as ideas that pop into my head for a design that is totally different than the one I am working on at the moment.

      We also keep pricing notebooks (mine are stacks of memo pads) that include the piece being made, how much of what wires, stones, beads, time used, etc. Later, this info is used for pricing as I assign inventory numbers to my finished works.

      Personally, I also keep a show notebook and include info such as: what the weather was like; the economy of the area; what time was the first and last sale made; how the promoters treated their vendors; what the average age of the attending customers was; how was the advertising; how many pieces were sold each day and their average price; what was the vendor/product ratio; etc. I use this information to decide if I am going to do a certain show again . . . or not.