Dreams of Gold

Posted by Amelia Upton on 6/13/2012 to Students

    Gold in all of its karats (10K,14K,18K,22K, 24K) is and always has been a precious material. Even today, gold is a high commodity. Valued highly all over the world, especially in the world of jewelry. Gold is commonly thought of as being outside of one's budget. Yet many successful artists have found a way to incorporate gold into their jewelry designs while keeping within a budget. 

But how do they do it?

Mary Lee Hu Bracelet

Washington's very own Mary Lee Hu is an excellent example. Mary Lee Hu is an extremely talented weaver of metal wire, most notably gold wire. Her recent exhibition at the Bellevue ArtsNeckpiece #18 Museum Knitted, Knotted, Twisted & Twined (also the name of the book that was published of the exhibition) showcased over forty years of her gorgeous work.

    Paraphrasing from Mary Lee Hu's book, she found that when working with wire, she was able to use the “phoenix feather” (aka chain link fence process) to cover a great deal of space while using a minimum of materials. (pg. 49)

The effect Mary Lee Hu created can be easily seen in her work entitled Neckpiece # 18.

Wrap, Stitch, Fold & Rivet

    You too can take up a few pairs of pliers, a bit of planning, and completely transform a piece by adding composed wire forms! Mary Lee Hu found her inspiration from weaving, textiles, animals and so many other sources. Woven wire forms has become Mary Lee Hu's hallmark. For more specific instructions on wire wrapping and weaving, check out Wrap, Stitch, Fold & Rivet By Mary Hettmansperger

Mary Lee Hu Form #3Wire is an easily accessible material, that she transformed for a unique look and feel. Often times, the most inspired work comes from the materials and objects that sit right under our noses each and every day. Take a minute to be inspired by wire this week!

If you missed the exhibit at the Bellevue Arts Museum, you can always visit Mary Lee Hu's pieces at the Facèré Salon in the City Center in downtown Seattle. http://www.facerejewelryart.com/

You can find more images (like the three pictured above) of Mary Lee Hu's work on her Pinterest!

Tune in Friday for Leah's Fun Copper Earring Project!


Date 6/14/2012 11:54:48 AM
Wiring Jewelry as well as other items is very creative. In fact it is something I truly love to see as well as buy. I wonder if Gold is as easy or easier than other wires to use in jewelry making or any type of creative wire bending. Leah have you personally worked with wire yet? If so what would you say?
Date 6/14/2012 1:05:42 PM
Hello Eli! Both Leah and I have worked with gold, silver, copper, and brass wire! Gold is certainly softer than other wires, though any wire is easier to work with after it has been annealed. There are many excellent wire how-to books out there! I recommend checking out Metal Jewelry Made Easy (EDU313), its a great over view of metalwork and starting out with wire! Julia Lowther is also local to Seattle and has exquisite wire work! Let us know if you'd like some more recomendations!

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