Laura: Are all of your jewelry designs wire wrapped?
Judy: Not at all. I also do bead stringing and pearl knotting and sometimes I get out my hammers and do a wee bit of sheet metal work.
Laura: How do you get your ideas for designs?
Judy: This is a difficult question to answer as art and beauty are all around us. An idea can pop into my head when I am looking at a beautiful piece of fabric and the combination of colors and texture fascinate me. Most often my ideas come from working with the stones.
Laura: How do you come up with names for your creations?
Judy: Sometimes a nickname will pop into my head when I am working on a piece such as the cameo necklace first cotillion cameo. While making that piece I kept imagining a young girl preparing for her first formal ball. Frequently however, naming a new creation is a family project. My husband and daughter are great assistants in that department.
Laura: How did you become interested in making wire wrapped jewelry?
Judy: Years ago I saw the incredible work of an artist named Sharilynn Miller. I was amazed how she could take a simple piece of wire and manipulate it into a work of art. At the time I thought it was far too complicated of an endeavor for me. Than Sharilynn taught a class at our local bead store and I decided to give it a try. All I can say is "WOW!". Sharilynn is an accomplished teacher as well as an artist. After that first class I wanted to learn everything I could about wire wrapping, thank you Sharilynn!
Laura: How long have you been creating jewelry?
Judy: Since 2002, but at the time everything I made was for either family, friends or myself.
Laura: How long have you been doing wire wrapping jewelry?
Judy: Since 2006, after taking that first class with Sharilynn Miller.
Laura: Why did you decide to sell your jewelry rather than just give them out as gifts?
Judy: After moving to Idyllwild, CA in 2006 I began frequenting the local bead store. On several occasions the owner of the store complimented me on my designs. One day she asked me if I had ever considered selling my jewelry and offered to include my pieces in her shop...and that was the beginning of AussenWolfDesigns.
Laura: Do you have any goals or aspirations for your business?
Judy: AussenWolfDesigns was founded on the idea of offering quality handmade jewelry to women who want unique accessories to express their individuality. As such I want to continue exploring the multitude of avenues for crafting quality jewelry to offer my clients a wider variety.
Laura: Is finding wire difficult or expensive?
Judy: While we no longer have a bead store in Idyllwild, finding materials is easy with internet shopping. However, the precious metals market is very volatile right now. When I started wire wrapping in 2006, I was purchasing sterling silver for around $8 an ounce. Now it sells for around $31 an ounce (which is down from the $44 an ounce that it was up to a few months back). It is one of the reasons I began investigating the use of copper wire as an alternative to sterling and gold.
Laura: How time consuming is wire wrapping?
Judy: That depends entirely on the project. A wrap on a cabochon can take any where from 40 minutes to a couple of hours if it involves more intricate weaving or embellishments. The wolf pendant takes any where from 8 to 10 hours.
Laura: How often do you create a new item?
Judy: As often as I can sneak away to my studio. Even when I am not physically working on constructing a new piece, I am often considering new projects while doing other things around the house. My husband and daughter have frequently teased me about getting that "glazed" look in my eyes which they call my "working on a design" mode.
Laura: Is there any other type of wire used besides copper?
Judy: Absolutely! Wire can run through a whole gamut of metals including copper, brass, bronze, sterling and gold. In the past few years I have seen a number of beautiful jewelry pieces using aluminum and steel as alternative to sterling silver. I haven't tried those metals yet but will soon. One of the wonderful things about working with metals is that each one has its own unique properties - both in color and physical attributes - that carry over into the actual artistic presence of the piece being created.
Laura: Is there anything you would like to add to this interview?
Judy: I would like to thank you for allowing me to share my craft with your readers,
You can find Judy on twitter.com or facebook.com and of course you can look at all of her items on her web site or contact her through her Artfire studio