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to the innovative wire sculpture movement! Innovative wire
sculptors invent their own new forms of wire sculpture as they explore.
They take pride in being different and creating something totally new.
I learned the process of innovation in 1968, from the late Kenneth G.
Curran. He got me started; I have been my own teacher ever since. Using
Mr. Curran's method, I invented my own innovative form of wire
sculpture. As a pioneer in the field, I raised my innovative wire
sculpture to museum quality standards. In 2004 I founded the worldwide
guild, Wire Sculpture International, and received the prestigious
Victor Jacoby Award for innovation in art.
In this course I will hand on to you what I have learned from Kenneth
Curran so you can be an innovative wire sculptor, too.
Art vs. Wire Sculpture
term "wire art" makes me twinge. Granted, working with wire is
an art. But the term feels dumbed down. Perhaps some teachers don't
think younger students can handle the word
If you've been calling it
art and intend to get enmeshed
making your own, respect the medium and respect yourself. Start calling
it by its proper name, wire sculpture.
To re-educate the neurons as to proper terminology, your first project
is to create the words
SCULPTURE in wire. Post this
first creation on the wall as a self-titled work, and you're on your
apologies to chain art stores that sell a wide array of fancy
pliers and wires, I must speak heresy: Most of what I've seen for
art supplies appears grossly
over-priced and over-packaged. Be
especially suspicious of anything sold as
usually packaged in shockingly small quantity at several times its bulk
Sculpture Rule Written in Stone:
DON'T PUT YOUR EYE OUT!
ALL Wire is Sculpture Wire! The best and cheapest wire in the
chain art stores is over in the floral department, sold as
wire. Your start-up money will
go quite a
bit further if you make your first selections at the hardware store.
For just a few dollars, you can get a voluptuous roll of dark annealed
"tie wire" aka
and cheap, but may leave a smudgy layer of machine oil on your hands.
Sometimes it comes in a silvery,
easier to clean up.
Ask the hardware guys and gals to show you the rack of wire assortments
in the picture wire section. You'll find more of the dark annealed and
galvanized wire, plus copper, brass, and aluminum. Look around a little
more, and you'll find wire clothesline coated in colored plastic. Craft
supply stores have
in lots of shiny colors.
Store-bought electrical wire is expensive, sold by the foot. Then
again, the phone company sometimes gives away phone wire for class
|Starting to feel inspired? Buy a
different types and sizes of wire.
When you get home, play around awhile. As you experiment, you'll find
that your hands and eyes are happiest with a certain type and range of
wire. Continue to explore with this
wire, saving the
rest of your assortment for later...
is all you need to make a wire sculpture, wire and some cutters.
|This recycled wire came in three
layers: foil, plastic and
pair of wire cutters of a size to fit in your hand comfortably.
That's all, folks! I used a pair of Sears Craftsman $10.00 wire cutters
to make most of the sculptures on my www.wirelady.com
web site. Sure, every year or so I break a pair... and Sears replaces
them for free, earning my sincere endorsement!
As for pliers, skip 'em, they're just a crutch. I prefer not to use
pliers at all; they just get in the way. My own two hands are the only
shaping tools for every sculpture on this wirelady web site. The only
use I have for pliers is to grab those wire bits that are too short to
handle with my fingers alone. You'll develop your own unique style
faster if you don't use any pliers at all. Don't bother with
high-priced flush cutters until if and when you've got a genuine reason
to do so. I haven't used them since the 1970's...
glasses are a good idea, but they're not 100% effective. A long,
loose end of rogue wire can still whip around and through the
ventilation holes in the side of the glasses. This is why especially at
first, you're safest working with foot-long,
lengths of wire. So cut it small. Or be truly safe, and start with pipe
cleaners! Once you've developed a reliable proximity sense, you can
gradually increase the lengths you work with. But be careful out
there... even after decades working wire I still have some scary
scrapes and pokes.
2004 Elizabeth Berrien. You have permission to
reproduce and share this page this article in its entirety, IF each
reproduction includes credit to Elizabeth Berrien and reference to the www.wirelady.com
web site. If you
publish this article, we would love to know the location.
Class Wire Sculpture
· Elizabeth Berrien (707) 362-2771
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Updated January 28, 2015
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