Sterling Silver and Pearl "Queen's Tapestry" Bracelet
Artist Molly McNamara of New Orleans simulates fiber through wire design.
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Molly McNamara is an artist who found a way to combine her academic and visual arts training with her love of jewelry. She has always been drawn to textiles and fabrics, and in this "Queen’s Tapestry" bracelet, she has succeeded in simulating the look and feel of fiber through her design of silver and beaded wire.
Materials and Tools:
square stock wire
beaded stock wire
24-gauge wire pins with a ball end
1. Draw a design for your bracelet. Fabricate the original model out of square stock wire and beaded stock wire. The parts are soldered into the square form along with jump rings where the pieces will be attached. Strategic holes are drilled on the sides for setting the pearls with wire pins.
2. Send it off to the caster for mold making and reproduction. The caster sends the amount of castings requested. Clean the castings. This involves sawing off the sprews, sanding off imperfect textures, tumbling in the tumbler to even out surface, patina, tumbling again, and soldering the toggle (clasp) to the piece for bracelet use. Then complete a final polish on polishing wheel.
3. To set the pearls: Prepare wire pins with a ball on the end created by touching with the heat of the torch. Pearls are then threaded into the piece where the holes were drilled. The wire now sticks out of one end, which must be balled up with the torch to match the other side.
4. The four pieces are attached with heavy-gauge jump rings and soldered shut. Some brass brush polishing may be needed for any element that was not polished on the polishing wheel.
Natasha Wozniak of Jersey City, N.J., has gone from polishing rings at a jewelry store to designing her own jewelry.