Posted on July 12, 2017
Wire Lace Supplies have been replenished and some new products added to the stock – and it is all just a click away! Etsy has improved shoppers experience and the new Etsy Studio platform is encouraging the Etsy shoppers to become Etsy makers. A good sign, I think, because people who make something themselves can actually appreciate work of others. In the new concept, the Etsy team acknowledged lacemakingas a discipline in a separate Tatting and Lacemaking category, which was a nice surprise. It is encouraging to see lacemaking craft growing and attracting more recognition. We are still far from being in the mainstream, but there is a steady growth which was marked among other things by WireLaceSupplies shop’s milestone of 400 sales that was reached last month. Thank you all for your support! Your patronage motivates me to develop the products and instruction to fit the needs of a creative worldwide lacemaking community.
Now, what’s new in the shop?
Medium Bobbin with Cut End joins the original Medium Bobbin with Pointed End, our most popular wire lace bobbin so far. The new bobbin is a close relative, having the same size and shape, just a different end. It is made from the same material, dense boxwood with wonderful look and feel that gets even better with time. The Medium Bobbin with Cut End is ideal for patterns that need many pairs and do not require lots of sewings, such as ground laces and free form creations. It works well for small to medium projects, and is really versatile. With a slightly lower price, it will be in direct competition with its Pointed Ended brother, but this should be a friendly match, because they both work together exceptionally well and can be mixed and used side by side in the same project.
Following Lenka’s Bobbins for Wire Lace tradition, the Medium Bobbin with Cut End comes in sets of 24 pieces, neatly packed in homemade cotton drawstring bag with a pocket and a ring clip for spare elastics. Because I believe that good, well organized tools, are essential for enjoyment of the fine craft.
With the new and old bobbins ready to take on any task, there is need for a good selection of wires. I added three new products to widen the range of wire lace possibilities: raw copper, silver plated copper and gold plated copper.
RAW COPPER wire is one gauge thicker than the regular stock enamelled copper wire: 0.24mm – gauge 31. The thickness is not so much felt on the pillow, because this wire works and tensions as easily as the 0.2mm – gauge 32, but it makes difference in the finished product. Lace is stronger and has more support, especially when worked in double wire, and this is a huge advantage in larger art works. Another asset that will make lace artist happy is the lack of coating: raw wire is not treated in any way, so it is in its original dead-soft state, wonderfully malleable and pliable. Because it is not coated, this wire would naturally tarnish over the time. But it also means that the raw copper wire can be additionally treated to achieve various effects, by means of heat treatment, applying patinas, or plating it over with precious metals. This offers exciting finishing options to creative lace designers, and brings lace art to the level of fine art and sculpture.
I have been exploring copper finishing techniques for the last 20+ years and still find them fascinating. A little bit dangerous at times, because most of the steps involve handling chemicals and heat, but full of creative potential. And very rewarding for lacemakers who like to experiment and play with fire once in a while. Just make sure not to burn and melt your lace, especially if you worked on it for weeks (an honest advice based on personal experience 😉
Responding to demands of lacemakers who pursue the more delicate discipline of wire lace jewellery, I have brought in two products that are building steps on that path: SILVER PLATED and GOLD PLATED COPPER wires. It is the same 0.2mm size soft copper wire that we have used so far, but instead of being enamelled, it is coated with a layer of precious metal, either silver or gold. These wires produce great effect in wire lace, making it look like a precious filigree. Traditional plaited lace patterns come alive in silver and gold, and show off the minute detail to the tiniest picot. Ground laces with gimp also benefit from light reflecting off the precious metals that gives the pieces rich, luxurious feel.
Plaited wires are a little bit more delicate than enamelled copper wires, and lacemakers have to take extra care of them. Working with silver and gold plated wires is therefore a very good training that prepares lacemakers for real silver and gold lacework.
The silver plated wire has a special coating that prevents tarnishing, and lace jewellery made with this wire should last longer, at least until you feel comfortable enough to switch to fine or sterling silver. Real silver lace jewellery can be cleaned and its shine restored. Gold wire does not tarnish at all. Therefore, they are the ultimate materials to use in jewellery making. But let’s not jump to quickly. Practicing with more affordable silver plated and gold plated wires builds skills and confidence, and also a collection of wire lace patterns. This helps to make transition from copper to precious metals much more sensible and cost effective.
Once you visit the my online store, you will notice that I also added thicker wires to the regular stock: 0.8mm (gauge 20) in both, silver plated and gold plated versions, just to provide matching wires for jewellery finishing. These wires can be used to outline the lace patterns, and also to make pendant loops, ear hooks etc.
If there is enough interest, I can do the same for enamelled copper wires. Just let me know.
Well, that’s all for today, let’s stop talking and make some lace!