Tinkering with Wire

Course Description

About this course

Wire is a wonderfully direct material. Utilizing few tools, it is possible to make a variety of objects from jewelry-scale pieces to architectural elements. Imagination, patience and a willing spirit are the only prerequisites for this workshop. Through demonstration, samples, images, drawing and discussions, students will learn to build objects employing a variety of techniques. Whether your style is loose or tight, the unique voice of this material will yield itself easily to the personality of the hand holding it.

Students will be working exclusively with black annealed steel wire; it most resembles graphite. Think about line, look at and consider doing some drawing before the workshop. If students want to bring any colored wire or copper or brass wire, they are welcome to do so.

Once the basic demos are finished, students will be free to make whatever they like. There will also be discussions on the interesting history regarding the making and use of wire.

Meet the Instructor

Ellen Wieske

Ellen Wieske is an artist and educator who works in many materials. Primarily a metalsmith, she received a BA from Wayne State University and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, both in Michigan.

She has taught at Haystack School of Crafts (where she is the assistant director), Penland, Arrowmont, as well as universities and colleges across the United States. She has also taught 4 summers in Provence France.

Ellen's work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Her wire workshop techniques have been documented and published in the book "Weekend Crafter, Wire" released by Lark Books in October 2001.

She maintains Dowstudio, her studio/Gallery with potter Carole Ann Fer, in Deer Isle, Maine. She has also been the Assistant Director at Haystack since 2003. You can see more of her work on her website, dowstudioDEERISLE.com

Materials & Tools 

There is a materials fee for this course. It is estimated at $15 and is payable to the instructor at the workshop.

Students should bring 

Metalwerx has pliers and wire cutters on hand, but students may have to share. You do not have to go out and buy anything for this course, but please bring pliers you already have such as:

  • Needle nose
  • Round nose
  • Flat nose
  • Parallel jaw pliers
  • Wire cutters

Other useful tools include:

  • An apron and towel
  • Sketchbook
  • A few images (jpegs, slides, photos) or examples of your own work.
  • Students may also want to bring wire. We will have plenty of black annealed steel 16g, 18g and 25g binding wire on hand. However, if you want brass, colored, phone wire, silver, etc. please bring it with you.



Materials Cost

Payable to instructor in class.


Ellen Wieske


October 28 -29, 2017


10:00 AM -5:00 PM


2 days

All Levels
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