I purchased a new book a few weeks ago - Brenda Schweder's "Steel Wire Jewelry " and it is the best book I have purchased since I started purchasing books about making jewelry about 6 years ago. I buy books more for the tips and background of the material rather than for ideas or how to make a specific thing. I am one of the fortunate ones who is usually overflowing with ideas, I poccess a kind muse. But I might need help getting a certain finish on metal or just to see a process - I bought a book on making beads and I am never going to make beads - but I so admired this artists' beads that I wanted her book to see what she went through to get the product that I admired so much. Basically the same thing happened with Brenda's book...I was looking through the class schedule for Santa Fe and saw one of her pieces, and loved it. A little while later, I got an email about Tucson and some classes that were being offered - and again there was a piece that I loved, and it was the same person I'd admired from Santa Fe - so I did some Google work and finally found her Etsy shop...bought the book and a bit of wire and I was hooked.
I found out that steel has been used for jewelry since forever and that steel is one of the most recycled materials in the world and is the most recycled material in the U.S.. I also found out that Alexander Calder did much of his jewelry in annealed steel...anyone who makes jewelry should take a look at some of his pieces. He made a chandelier earring that I think was big enough to use as an actual chandelier. By the way, annealed steel is steel that has carbon added to it, but not more than 2%. It is soft and very workable, and unlike other metal wires - it does not get brittle and break if you work it too much. It usually has a coating on it, that needs to be removed for most jewelry, this is put on as a rust inhibitor. That is the one drawback to steel wire - it can rust, but if it is coated with an archival wax, like Rennaisance, that won't happen.
These are some of the pieces that I have created with steel wire and I have loved every minute of the creative process. Before this, copper wire was my favorite medium, but the steel is a little firmer and it most certainly is more forgiving. Steel does not require the lengthy finishing and patinas that copper does either, so the process is less expensive.
shop as soon as I have a few free hours - it's such a time consuming boring job to enter pieces and pictures onto your website and I do tend to put it off as long as possible. These are the first pieces that I made and I do like them allot.