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Friday, December 6, 2013

Coloring Outside of the Lines

A few months ago my aunt requested I make her a cross necklace for Christmas this year. Inside I groaned. I have never made a cross necklace and I didn't want to invest hours of my time into trying to figure it out. So, for the first time EVER, I bought a tutorial.

I had seen Copar Aingeal's "Urban Cross" a few times in the wire-wrapping group I belong to.  I've seen it on the artist Julie Lockhart's Facebook pages and on Etsy. I loved it and I knew it would be perfect.
It has been in my mind to purchase the tutorial, just to make things a little bit easier.

Easier? HA!  It turned out to be one of the most difficult and challenging things I've ever attempted in wire-work. First of all, I am terrible at following directions. I want to jump ahead. My eyes bounce around. I have horrible reading comprehension. This is a problem that has riddled me since I was a little girl, the teachers would always say that I was unable to color inside of the lines.

While I was trying to follow the instructions I found myself feeling blind, I didn't know what was going to happen next or what I was going to do once the next step was complete, even though it was right there for me to see. And, this is not a reflection on the teacher. She is wonderful. She did a great job of explaining the process, step-by-step. It is a testament of my own short comings.  I have a really hard time learning things in this manner. The way I learn is to submerge myself in a subject and let it stew around for a few days/weeks/months until something inside "clicks".This is hardly conducive to following a step-by-step tutorial.

So, I gave it a day.  I thought about what I had done so far and the parts that made up the pendant. I thought about how I could make it work using my own style of wrapping, my own weaves, and using hers only as a guide I was able to make sense of it.  The end result was based on the "Urban Cross" but it was my own. I don't know if the fact that I am unable to make a replica is simply a reflection on my inability to learn, or just my sensibility as an artist getting in the way.

And, so, here is the Copper Cross Pendant, inspired by Copar Aingeal's "Urban Cross."

There's one more thing I'd like to add, it's something I posted in the groups that I belong to on Facebook. It's a message for people who are new to wire wrapping or may be struggling to learn.

Please don't think for one minute that your skills as a wire wrapper are at all determined upon your ability to follow through with a tutorial. If you are relying on a tutorial you may be missing out on your true skill as an artist. I say this because I am self-taught, I cannot follow a tutorial to save my life. If I would have started by using a tutorial I would have given up a long time ago. If you're stuck put the tutorials away, sit down with your wire, and see what you can do on your own.

These things work for some people, but they aren't for everyone. I don't want anyone to give up because I would have.