It’s been a veritable factory in here the past few weeks as I created ornaments for fairs, friends, families and boutiques, and sprinkled in some new pendants and earrings to keep the fingers nimble.
The start is always cutting and prepping the wire (sanding off the oily residue) and hammering it into a straight line for easier bending. Then it is shaped into what it wants to be (sometimes matching my vision, sometimes making its own).
After that the tissue paper is selected and cut out.
I leave an allowance for trimming until it is properly fitted to the piece
Then the paper is adhered with wax, mostly with just encaustic medium but at times with pigmented wax to match the figure’s color scheme.
I use a little iron for detail work.
I don’t have a favorite thing to make. Creating is such a joy and interacting with the wire, the wax and coming up with color combinations and the right carol to apply makes each ornament a unique experience.
Trees are the most difficult, so I doubt I will make those in the quantities that I’ve done for the angels.
While I do get faster as my finger-strength has improved and the bending becomes more routine, I can’t count the physical studio time as the only time I spend creating.
Numerous pieces have mulled in my head for some time and I don’t log the time spent looking up quotes or musical scores and sizing them to fit the shape (plus the time picking up supplies from the store) by individual piece.
I know there is a limit to how many wire lengths I can sand and bend in a day, as my fingertips have made that known. So in general a piece probably takes 3 days from conception to completion, though not always in a linear fashion.
Of the 70 ornaments I made this year, 50 are scattered in Lemont, Geneva and the local Expo for in-person purchasing, and 15 were shipped overseas for custom orders. The remainder will be on display at the Bucktown Fair this weekend, but they’re available on Etsy until then.