Sharilyn Miller is a prolific wire jewelry instructor with many books to her credit. She brings considerable handmade style to jewelry designs. Those who know her work will also be familiar with her tool expertise. Indeed I learned about the bail forming pliers, one of my favorite wire tools, from her.
Sharilyn Miller's Big and Bold Wire Jewelry Class on Craftsy teaches the learner not only how to put together that distinctive Boho look she is best known for but more importantly how to work with heavy gauge wire, typically 10-12G. The thick wire is visually appealing especially when it has been hammered and textured.
The focus is on wire manipulation so Sharilyn recommends students have prior experience with wire. It is harder to bend thick wire. But I think beginners still benefit from this class because of the unintended benefit with the basics (Lessons 1 and 2). Sharilyn's expertise with tools and how she teaches is so clear when thick wire and large tools are used.
The lessons are structured such that the student learns to make increasingly complex wire forms. Once accomplished, these formations can be put together in distinctive ways. The two necklaces on either side of Sharilyn above are made up of the components taught in the earlier lessons.
As with all Craftsy classes, the format is such students can watch the class when and where they want and as many times as necessary to learn a technique. You will be able to ask Sharilyn any question.
Lesson 1 teaches basics of heavy gauge wire including what sort and even brand of tools you need to cut and work with such thick wire. Sharilyn is a certified Wubbers instructor. She didn't use the bail forming pliers but her class shows how she uses the jumbo tapered coil making pliers (at the bottom left of the top photo). I loved the tip on how she stores multiple reels of wire and makes it easy to access the wire.
This connectors lesson covers the basic double wrapped beads, figure 8's, how to make jump rings and how to assemble an easy rosette necklace. I thought I knew how to make those basic double wrapped beads but Sharilyn really shows how they should be done. The best instruction for this technique I have seen!
Lesson 2 moves on to the coiling of thick wire - all by hand. She does not use any coiling tool because she prefers the handmade look. She covers how to make coiled wire beads and to make a clasp.
Lesson 3 is a fun project using metal strips to make tornado earrings. Sharilyn shows how to texture, anneal (with a torch) and to form the spiral shape. Great easy tip to let you know when the metal strip is sufficiently anneal.
Like many parts of her class, you get to learn invaluable tips from a seasoned artisan. She uses just a regular round nose pliers to form the double loop on top of the bead dangle below. Personally, I would use one of the bail forming pliers to do this step. But she demonstrates how both loops can indeed be made of equal size with the round nose pliers which is tapered.
Lesson 4 was one of my favorite lessons where Sharilyn teaches how to create a wire foundation and how to use different embellishments to create a unique focal such as this example below. She carefully goes over the layering steps for adding beads and wire coils.
The section where she demonstrated all the different types of textures you can make on wire and metal strips was a lot of fun! I've put the dimpling pliers on my wishlist!
Lesson 5 Being able to fuse wire together increases the design possibilities. I liked how she taught just fine silver fusing. This is the easiest type of torch fusing to do because you do not need any chemicals like flux and solder. She is also the first instructor I've come across to advocate proper safety glass like those used by glass artisans to protect the eyes from the glare of the flame.
This lesson begins with jump ring fusing. Using thick wire means those jump rings can be easily made into simple fine silver rings. Simple texturing, filing and sanding and viola!
Lesson 6 really homes in on why it is so beneficial to learn how to fuse jump rings - not just for extra security but the potential of fusing all sorts of wire shapes together.
Sharilyn teaches how you can form a number of shapes from just basic fused jump rings.
And to make your own loop connectors. Got a fusing boo-boo? She has the perfect solution to recover and reuse expensive fine silver.
Lesson 7 shows how to fuse chains of jump rings together without accidentally fusing the other links in the chain! Hate accidentally hammering your fingers? Sharilyn teaches the proper way to hammer.
This lesson also includes force tarnishing of fine silver. Whether one wishes to do this is definitely a personal choice. Fine silver is almost 100% silver. It has no copper in it unlike sterling silver which contains 7.5% copper. It is the copper which makes sterling silver tarnish so easily. So fine silver will stay shiny for a long time. Yet some people like the aged look and want to add patina even to fine silver. It can be done.
I highly recommend this class for anyone working with wire and who like making a lot of wire components.
Books by Sharilyn Miller
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Note this is NOT a free class. If you would like to win 1 of 3 50% discount classes off Sharilyn Miller's Big and Bold Wire Jewelry Class, please make a comment below. Make sure you leave contact info below if you do not have an online shop or blog.
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This giveaway is international.
Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower etc. If you also do shout outs about this giveaway, those will count as additional entries too! Please say so in the comments.
It ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Monday, November 16, 2015 . I will pick the winner randomly and announce the results as soon as possible after. So be sure to leave a contact email if you don't have an online link or make sure you come back and check! Otherwise I will redraw in a week. Good luck!
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