Monday, August 19, 2013

Crystal Sun Catchers: Wirework Tree of Life (CH0232)

Wanting to make something for a friend?  Why not a suncatcher?  Why not crystal sun catchers? I recently visited a close friend whom I had not seen for a long while. He lives on a boat in Palm beach. A 70 foot ferro cement schooner he built virtually by himself over a span of 40 years.  I seldom get to see him but he has always been there for me when times were shaky. However, living as he does, there is not a lot of room of bric-a-brac and things that might take up too much space.  But sun catchers, and  gleaming, sparkling crystal sun catchers  - that would be ideal.

Crystal Sun Catchers: Wirework Tree of Life (CH0232)

The last time we visited him on his magnificent schooner, he had some loose pieces of crystals hanging on his porthole.  And me being me - I just itched to add something extra to his porthole.  I know he loves the rainbow of sparkles when light streams through crystals. Crystal sun catchers in the form of Trees of Life have a much deeper significance than just prettiness. They evoke the deepest feelings of Life, good health, and an abiding connection to Mother Maya.

How to make Crystal Sun Catchers using Wirework Tree of Life Techniques

Working with bicone crystals beads for a Tree of Life requires a different wire wrapping technique than the more common threading of gemstone nuggets.

Crystal Sun Catcher - Blue Tree of Life

For bicone crystals to work with this wire-wrapping method, ensure that each crystal is twisted on the wire in a random but secure way. We want the branches to look natural .. and of course, laden with sparkly crystals. Luckily I had quite a stock of strong, metal donut rings that were the perfect size.  All I needed next was some copper wire (0.7mm), the crystal beads, some pliers, and I was good to go.

Crystal Sun Catchers - Topaz Tree of Life

Tip: It is much easier to work from the bottom up (i.e. up from the "roots").

  1. Using 4 to 6 long lengths of wire, fold them in half around the bottom of the donut ring.
  2. Combine and twist them to form gnarly trunk.
  3. Add crystals as you go up the branches.  Remember to secure crystal beads by lightly twisting each bead on the wire.
  4. Finish off wire ends by wrapping multiple times around the top of the donut ring.
  5. Use of the end wires to form curly swirls.
  6. Ensure all the wire ends are neatly trimmed and filed smooth.
  7. Press the wire ends as closely as possible to the donut ring.

Even though I forgot to take the end photos, I finally ended off by making "bails" on the crystal sun catchers so that they would be easier to hang up.

Video on How to Make Wirework Tree of Life

I will hand you over to Camille Sharon who is a fantastic teacher.  She shows a similar but different method of creating the wire-wrapped Tree of Life.  Definitely worth the watch for the details and the variations in method that you can employ.