Those of you who are older than dirt (like me) will remember the vinyl records. You know, before iTunes, before CDs, way before cassette tapes and 8-tracks, there was vinyl. We played them on the hugely antique and wildly humorous record players, or turntables as they were called later on. There were vinyl albums and vinyl singles. Side A of singles would be the current offering of the band’s latest hit. Side B would be some lame-o stepchild. Something had to go on Side B, and it couldn’t very well be a hit, now could it? If Side B were any good, it would be on the next Side A single.
Of course, there were the outliers, like the double-sided hits of Queen’s “We are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You,” or the Beatles “We Can Work it Out” and “Day Tripper.”
I decided to take the concept of the Double A side and incorporate it into my wire work.
The reason is simple: my first wire wrapped pendants looked stunning on Side A, but Side B was a mess of twisted, overlapping wire. Put plainly, I overdid it. I was concerned about my stones falling out, so I wrapped those babies in there so tight, a nuclear mega-blast couldn’t loosen them. The resulting pendants were sturdy enough to support an 18-story apartment building, but were ugly as all heck when flipped over.
Some stones are gross on Side B. Ammonites come to mind, since many rock hounds will slice them in half in order to obtain matching mirror pieces. In that case, who cares about Side B? Twist and wrap to your heart’s content.
Other stones have beautiful Side Bs. Many stones do. Why cover them up?
Wire wrapping for beauty on both sides is not easy. I design my pieces with very little forethought. As many people know, I twist small wire components together at odd times. I’ll do it during a lull at work, or if I want to take a break away from the computer for a few minutes. I also do it at home with scraps from my other pieces, while I’m watching TV or if my husband is watching something I don’t want to pay attention to. I gather up my coiled scraps into a bin until I have enough to begin.
I start out with a cabochon (easy, they’re pretty much alike and the domed side is usually – but not always – the best) or a stone I like, turning it over and over until I see how it will hang. Then I begin to construct the cage work that will hold it into place, using my pre-constructed twists.
Double A sided pendants are not so easy to make. You have to have a plan as to what you will cover up and what you want to be exposed. Some thought has to be given as to the sturdiness of the wire, whether your construction will withstand the tumbling process and the art you want to shine through.
Here are a couple of examples of Double A Sided pendants I’ve made in the last few weeks. (Please go here for more photos.) They’re not as successful as I’d like them to be, since I still prefer Side A over Side B.
The first photo shows Side A of my “Nancy Grace” pendant. I was thinking of using this as a focal for a chunky necklace in the style she likes to wear.
The second photo shows Side B of the “Nancy Grace” pendant. I played with some filigree here.
You will notice in the third photo Side A of sterling silver and black agate pendant. This started out as something different. If you note the bottom one-third, that was where this project began life as a bracelet. After days of struggle, I found the wire too stiff, put it in the scrap bin, and only recently annealed it to soften it up. Once I did that, I didn’t like the way it looked as a bracelet and a pendant was born.
Side B of the sterling pendant is shown in the fourth photo. Not so pretty, but not a raging uggo either.
Someday I’ll make a Double A I’ll want to flip over from day to day. Until then, I’ll be twisting and wiring.