Skill Level: Beginner/All
Technique: Coiling and Pendant Forming
The Tree of Life is an esoteric philosophy common to many cultures and mythologies. The Ancients envisioned the entire cosmos in the form of a tree, whose roots grow deep in the ground, branches reaching high into the heavens. You can choose different colored gemstone chips to create your tree according to a favorite season, such as amber and jaspers for autumn; or aventurine with sprinkles of rose quartz to represent a blossoming tree in spring.
Circumference of dowel + 2-inches = length of 16g wire
Measure the distance around the dowel and cut a piece of 16ga wire according to the Formula. From each end, measure 1-inch and mark. Use flat-nose pliers at each mark, to bend the wire out at a 90° angle (each bend toward the same side).
Working from the wire-coil and leaving a 1-inch tail, use the 24g round wire to tightly coil, from one angle just made, down the entire length of the 16g wire, to the other angle. Do NOT cut this coiling wire! (The entire length of 16g wire should be covered with one continuous coil, between the angles.)
Tip: I prefer coiling the wire by holding the one-inch "handle" and turning it in a circle while gripping 24ga wire with 16ga base between index and thumb.
Using the item chosen as the pendant size, carefully shape the coiled wire around it, until the two angled ends meet.
Leaving ¼-inch, cut the short tail of 24ga wire. Place the two 1-inch angled ends together, measure from the ends toward the circle 1/4-inch and mark. Hide ¼-inch 24g tail between them, and use the 24g wire still attached to begin coiling both of the angled wires together (which will become the bail). Continue until the coil reaches the 1/4-inch marks. Do NOT cut the 24g wire yet!
Slightly bend the bail toward the front and then, using any cylindrical device, (mandrel, bail pliers, pencil, etc) form the bail toward the back. Secure the bail by wrapping around the entire group of 4 bail wires, three times with the 24g wire still attached. Then wrap a couple times around the back of the bail and finally, trim the 24g wire.
Cut 4 pieces of 24ga wire 9-inches long (22.5cm) and 1 piece 12-inches long (30cm). Fold a 9-inch wire in half and place it in the middle of the circle's bottom (frame). Very carefully pull the wire ends so folded wire will 'hide' between coils.
Coil the 9-inch wire ends 2 times on each side, so each wrap lies between frame's coils.
Continue attaching the remaining 9-inch pieces of wire in the same manner, placing them so the distance between each is the same.
When attaching the 12-inch piece, fold it so that one end is just 4-inches long. This 4-inch section has to be on the inside, while the longest tail will be outside (red arrow).
Lift all 10 tails up, gathering them in a pinching fashion. In this step you designate the length of tree's roots and where the trunk will begin.
Create the trunk by using the longest tail (from step 11) to begin wrapping all 9 wires together. Wrap 8-10 times to show (or more if desired).
Separate all 10 wires into pairs as shown. Create each individual branch by twisting each pair together 4-5 times.
Add foliage to the tree by threading the gem chips and beads to each 'twig'. Place the wire with 'leaves' over the frame and wrap the wire tail 3 times around the frame. Trim the wire tail on the back of the frame.
Continue adding leaves and securing the 'twigs' to the frame until all branches have been anchored.
Use chain-nose and flat-nose pliers to shape the roots.
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