The ABC’s

A ->


B ->


C ->

Consistency: Uniformity, relatively speaking. You strive for that uniformity throughout a piece of work; whether it is embroidery, petitpoint, wirework or beadworkor anything else. In quilting, the goal is the consistent length of stitches. In Hardanger it is the tension maintained on the thread. In wirework it is the regularity of the loop sizes, the jump ring integrity. Consistency tells the beginner and the expert apart. Once a technique can be done uniformly, the expert can play around. That ‘playing around’ is recognizable when done by an expert: it looks ‘intentional.’ It looks very different from the beginner’s learning steps.

P ->

Patience: All things come to her who waits. It is a virtue. The expert got that way by doing, practising, playing. The rank beginner will have to do, practice and play if she wants to become an expert, or a competent practitioner. Put the time it takes to become an expert to good use: Practise.

Practise: makes perfect. See ‘Patience,’ above.


Notes to Self: A New Direction

Well, I did vent some hot air in my last Notes to Self: Bead Journal Project. I felt better after doing it, so the venting did some good. I still don’t apologize for the bombardment. If anything, I am grateful for the individuals who challenged the worthiness of my September bracelet submission.

The Spanish Bracelet that WON

The Winning Bracelet

The bracelet that didn't pass

The losing bracelet


It made my brain work ~~ always a painful process. Well, for me it is.

I have over 40 years of experience in the needlework arena. I don’t sew, and it takes me months to get around to replacing buttons that have disappeared into the recesses of coat pockets. But I do use needle and some form of ‘thread’ and I embellish, using many different techniques.

An embellishment in its own right, glass bead artisan jewellery when well done invites compliments and conversation. And it takes humble things, like wire, and makes something beautiful using many different techniques.

It is the marriage of embroidery techniques and my version of glass bead artisan jewellery techniques. What is born of this union is the Tips and Techniques thread I started some little while ago and have been ignoring shamelessly. It has been given a new lease on life.

So. I’ve decided to thank the naysayers for shedding light upon my path. They gave me lemons and I’ve given you lemon meringue pie.  MMMMM~Good.

Yours in beads ~~Helene

Technique – Flat Wire Coil

Here is another way you can coil wire and it doesn’t require a mandrel. Make one to use as a charm on a bracelet. Make a bunch of them and link them together to make a bracelet or a necklace.

What's Needed 


5in length of #22ga wire, round nose pliers, that’s it.


They look a bit like a 'Kilroy was Here'

Kilroy was Here

Bend the length of wire in half. Make it a nice round bend, not a fold.

With the round nose pliers, make a loop at 1 end of the wire. Keeping the wire flat, coil the wire around this loop and holding it flat with the round nose pliers. Continue coiling until it is about 3/4in from the bend. The coil should be facing in toward the remaining long tail of the wire.

Repeat Step 2 until this coil is the same distance from the bend as the 1st coil. They are facing each other.

Move 1 coil over the other until their backs are to each other. As you make these elements, stay consistent about which coil goes over the other: if you move the right over the left, stay with it. As with any technique, the key to success is in the consistency of the work.

Hook and Eye Clasp
Hook and Eye Clasp

There is no point in doing any handwork if you are not having fun doing it. No fun?! Have you given yourself enough time and effort to learn the technique? Stop doing it.


Among us is a talented and generous teacher: Jelcy Romberg. She teaches just about anybody who asks. Her philosophy is that a technique is taught and what you do with it is up to you. One cannot copyright a technique but one can copyright a particular project using the technique. She encourages all artisan jewellers to try new things.

Technique: Wire Spring Bead

This technique I learned from Jelcy Romberg; an enlightened teacher who believes that, instead of teaching a set piece one should learn a technique and then go exploring with it.  She espouses the philosophy that sharing techniques instead of copyrighting a design is what furthers an art. Add these Gizmo wire coil beads to spice up a piece of artisan jewellery.

 Most important: You must have patience. Your efforts will not be perfect the first time you do a technique. It takes practice to do anything skillfully.

ToolBox:   Gizmo,  Artistic Wire in 18ga, or 20ga, or 22ga (it comes in many glorious colours),   time and patience.

The Gizmo, is the brain child of LeRoy Goertz. The link will take you to his YouTube demonstration. Basically it’s a way to wind wire into a spring, thread it with more wire and wind it too. The number of times you thread with a length of wire and wind it, the bigger and bolder the bead you are making will be.

I hope you visited LeRoy’s YouTube production because a picture really is worth a thousand words.

Step 1.

Step 1.

Wrap the wire of your choice around the twisty bit of the mandrel: if you don’t do this step you will just be going around in circles and getting nowhere fast. The wire will come from behind the mandrel’s twisty bit to the front of the long straight bit. Insert the straight bit through the appropriate hole in the jig.

Step 2.

Step 2.Turn the crank of the Gizmo. With your thumbnail, guide the wire onto the long side of the Gizmo mandrel. If there is a small space between the coils that's good - just as long as the spacing in the coil is not too great. This little bit of space will greatly assist you when it's time to slip the wire off the mandrel.Step 3.

Remove the coil from the mandrel. If you find this a difficult thing to do, have no fear: that thing really will come off. Instead of the pulling and pushing and swearing I did, learn from my experience. That bit of space your thumbnail helped keep in the coil is the trick for easy coil removal. If you kept pushing the coils towards the mandrel crank, you are going to suffer mightily. Turning the mandrel back and forth while you are pushing the coil toward the end will help – but it isn’t easy. Try the thumbnail method instead.
    Thread another wire through the centre of the coil. I’ve used a different colour of wire so you could perhaps see the thing better but usually you would use the same coloured wire for this wire.
Step 4.

Step 4.

   Anchor both wires to the twisty bit of the mandrel. Drape the coil and the inner wire from back to front of the straight bit.  Start coiling. As in Step 3. allow some small space within the coil to assist in getting it off the long straight bit of the mandrel. As the coiled coil is pushed to the end of the mandrel, it will pull up and tighten the wire you inserted into the coil. The amount of pushing together will help determine the size of the wire bead.


You’ve pulled the bead off the mandrel. Now some extra notes.
Some variations, if you will.
Make 2 coils and insert a wire into each. Tie the wire end of the 2 coils and the 2 inner wires onto the twisty bit of the mandrel; ensure all 4 wires are looped around from back to front.  Start twisting – – a double coil bead.
Make a short coil on a long inner wire. Start by coiling a bit of that inner wire. When you have made a length of simple coil, add the 1st coil to the mix. Finish with more of the simple coil using the inner wire.
Follow the instructions to the end of Step 3.  Start coiling the coil and the inner wire together and, at the same time, push the coil toward the twisty bit of the mandrel. Loosen up and you will see the coil spreads out a bit. Push in again and the coil because closed and big.
Play around.
This is a great way to play with colour. What goes with purple? Try a ‘swatch’ of coil using purple and all the other colours you think will look good. It takes almost no time for such a colour swatch and if you don’t like it you can use the coil in something where it will probably work.
Please use this technique and make wonderful artisan jewellery. If you choose to add this text to your book, please don’t do it:   write it up using your own words.  Thanks.   Helene…