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Update from wire artist Paul Bishop

Artist: Paul Bishop
Bishop Wire & Bead
Bishop Wire & Bead shop

Paul has been writing and sharing wire tutorials with us for several years now.  I am more grateful than I can ever tell you, because wire is just not my primary thing, and I think that in order to be really good at it, it has to be your thing!  Paul did an artist profile for us too, which you can read to get even more insight into his creative process.  And if you drop his name into the little google searchbox in the sidebar on the right of this blog, the links to all his wonderful tutorials will pop up for you!  Stay tuned, because Paul has a BRAND NEW tutorial for us that you're not going to want to miss that will post next Tuesday, June 14!

Paul writes: 

Several visitors to my booths in the last year loved the elegant and creative swirls of my wrapped cabochons and heart stones. However, they did not purchase them. These people desired a more simple style with less coverage of the stone face or making the wire more functional than decorative.

One of the outcomes of working with that idea was my heart wrap Boudicea (shown above and below). The very large jade stone is wrapped in copper with a spiral on the front. My other heart wraps use a harness style that is connected and closed in multiple places. In Boudicea's design, the stone is being kept in place by a wrap that enfolds around the stone but is not closed.

This makes the spiral at the front both a creative element and a functional one. The bail wire is also the wire that becomes the spiral and holds the heavy heart in place. However, it was not secure. Two more short wires are wrapped with the bail wire on the back (curled on the bottom). These two wires are the same ones that curl above the spiral at the top front of the heart.

Until I folded these two wires over on the front, the wrapping was open. I could have experimented with other stones if I'd wanted before finishing the piece, which is not a luxury you always have with closed-wrap designs.

The size of a stone dictates how much fancy wire designs you can use before the stone is overpowered by its wrapping. The rough sapphire gold wrap (shown above) is much like other cabochon wraps you've seen, however, it is the smallest stone I have ever wrapped. It is a little larger than an American penny and smaller than a nickel.

The features of a stone should also be emphasized rather than obscured. I originally had a very complex harness-style wrap for the Kingman turquoise shield cabochon (from cabbingrough on Etsy) but the lovely bronze veins were too obscured. The final design (shown at the top of the post)  is a variation on a project from Dale "Cougar" Armstrong's book "wirework", page 104. The wrap is five wires wide, and the natural points on the stones were perfect locations to fold over the wire corners to hold the stone in place. The five wires became ten at the top join, plus two folded over to make the bail. I clipped several of the wires so the bail was manageable. This piece sold at the first show it was available.

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Thank you Cyndi, for sharing the update on Paul Bishop. I'm just starting to get into wire wrapping. I love what can be done with wire and stones. Paul's pieces are beautiful and I really like the technique used on the big Jade heart.