I first came across Nealay Patel's work when I got the chance to review his book Jewelry for the New Romantic.  I was suitably wowed with his innovative way with beading wire.

This Tulsa, Oklahoma art director keeps busy not just writing jewelry making books, but teaches workshops, and makes television appearances on Beads, Baubles and Jewels and Jewel School on the Jewelry Television Network.

Somehow he also managed to find time to create and roll out his Silversilk products. These are machine knitted fine wire mesh made from permanently enameled non-tarnish copper wire.  These tubes will be familiar to those of you who use wire spool knitting, Viking Knit and Yoola Design's Wire Crochet ISK techniques to make your own wire tube.

Well, Silversilk makes wire tubes much easier to design with because you don't have to make them yourself in the first place! In addition, these wire tubes are made from very fine wire - 34 - 36 G - much finer than the typical 28 G used by those of us who create them by hand.  As he says, "We knit, you create."

There are 5 different Silversilk products. Two of them - hollow mesh (smaller tube) and galaxy wire (larger tube) - gives you the option of filling them with your own beads, encompassing strung beads or to reducing them in size using draw plates.  Flat mesh is ribbon-like and will be adaptable for ribbon jewelry designs. My favorite is capture chain which encases ball chains giving the knitted tube structure and wire wrapping options. Pearlesque chain is the most complex because it consists of layered knitted wire over knitted thread and ball chain.

You can also purchase Silversilk from a number of suppliers such as Beadaholique and JesseJamesBeads.

Here are some wonderful inspirations from Nealay's Youtube channel  on how to use Silversilk:

This first tutorial is a basic one which shows you how the hollow knitted Silversilk Galaxy wire can be reduced in size using a draw plate. The mesh is then used to encompass beaded sections of a bracelet.

You do not have to be a wire wrapping wizard to make eye-catching pendants.  In this tutorial, Sara Ellis simply wire wrapped Silversilk Capture chain along a short C- shaped length of wire.  Notice how she wrapped in between the balls of internal ball chain? The loops at the ends hangs this component from the Silversilk capture chain being used as a necklace chain.

Clever use of a single Tierracast crimp cord end to suspend a large pendant!

This tutorial also by Sara Ellis shows how Silversilk Capture chain was used to make a partial bezel with additional dangles using simply wiring techniques. The result? A spectacular statement pendant.

Nealay shows how you can layer Silversilk Pearlesque chain with another chain on top of a copper bangle, again with basic wiring :

I love how Nealay used the Silversilk Capture chain in this tutorial in a winding fashion with different beads strung through the wire mesh.  This is a versatile idea as you can make those winding loops small or big. Vary the beads or use the same kind throughout. Another idea is to use the Silversilk flat mesh in a similar sort of way as shown in this tutorial.

You can also be more precise in how you shape the chain as shown in his tutorial for an antique copper motif pendant design.

Need more inspirations? Be a "silkie" and join his Facebook group.

Nealay has also written a project book using Silversilk : Jewelry Designs with Knitted Wire.

Before You Go:


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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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