Three-dimensional art with wire and fiber
I’ve been lucky. I discovered my artistic loves at an early age.
My father was an electrician. One day when I was seven, my Dad was working a side job near our house so I went to visit him. I loved being with my father and asked him to teach me to be an electrician. Instead, he took out some copper wire and his pliers, twisted the wire and voila, he’d made me a copper bracelet. I fell in love with wire that day.
My grandmother taught me how to crochet and make lace early on as well and that began my fascination with fiber. It was also an exercise in color play that has always held me in good stead artistically.
With both of those experiences, I learned how to make something dimensional from a single strand. I have since been enthralled by all the many processes and techniques one can use to build things from single strands. That fascination led me to try and create my own methods of combining wire and fiber in new ways.
Add a love of color, the textures of fiber and the flexibility of wire and my artistic work has been an endless challenge and source of joy. The creative possibilities are endlessly inspiring.
I originally became a metal smith focused on making my own techniques for wire work in jewelry. I spent endless, often frustrating hours, staring at pictures of woven wire jewelry and objects, teaching myself.
Much of that earlier wirework became based on wire coils as they presented a much more structurally stable element to fabricate with than a single strand of wire. I developed a bit of a system for working with wire including the many number of ways one could alter a “strand” to make it different. Some of those simple techniques for working with wire are in my first book, Make Wire Beads, that I self published. The book was a hit and still sells to this day, nearly 20 years later.
I had also spent a few years on a technique I call, “Coil Weaving”, which is fantastically beautiful and relatively simple to do. It’s still on my bucket list to finish and release tutorials on.
I next started focusing on combining fibers with my wirework and wrote my second book, Fiber Wire Beads and Jewelry. It was, I believe, a successful attempt to combine both elements. In that book, I combine wire and fiber into “wibers”, single strands of both elements used to make jewelry.
I have taught wire jewelry making extensively around the country including at the UCSD Fine Craft Center and built a wire jewelry tutorial website years ago to continue sharing techniques. Youtube has my free video on making a hollow silver bead at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqPEa5r5Ur8.
While I’ve spent the majority of my career making jewelry, the last several years I’ve focused on combining metal and fiber into wall hangings and sculptures. I’m currently focused on weaving larger wall hangings with both metal and fiber in the most unusual ways I can think of.
I’m currently in the books, Artistry in Fiber, Volumes 1, Wall Art, and 3, Wearable Art, and maintain three websites: www.wovenwirestudio.com (my jewelry exhibit site), www.beadifferent.com (my jewelry tutorial site) and www.studiovanherik.com, (my combined works with wire sculpture and wall weavings). As I said, I’m a lucky woman to have such amazing artistic challenges.