This activity is developed for children ages 5 and older with adult assistance.
While exploring the work of Los Angeles-based artist Christina Quarles, you will find abstract versions of figures, everyday objects, such as vases with flowers, and natural forms, such as clouds. Abstract art involves changed or simplified versions of real people, places, or objects, often portraying what an artist feels or thinks rather than what they see. For reference, representational art is the realistic portrayal of people, places, or objects.
Explore more of the artist’s work in the exhibition Christina Quarles, on view at the Frye Art Museum through June 5, 2022.
Take a moment to look closely at Christina Quarles’s work in the exhibition. Then, create your own wire-wrapped jewelry, keychain, or ornament!
MAKE SOME ART
Inspired by the organic, experimental lines and shapes seen in the work of Christina Quarles, we will be exploring a different medium: wire! Through this activity, we will transform shapes and objects we see everyday into a piece of wearable or functional art. With flexible metal wire and a few basic tools, experiment with the possibilities of shape and form and create a unique piece of jewelry, keychain, or ornament. We will be using a wire wrapping method to turn your custom design into a piece of jewelry, keychain, or ornament. Many different shapes can be made from wire, so we encourage you to use your imagination and explore all the possibilities.
You will need:
Artistic Wire, 20 gauge, cut to the size needed for your design (it’s okay to eyeball this)
Round and flat nose pliers
Pens, pencils, rulers, brushes, chopsticks, or any other objects you can use to shape the wire around
Key rings, key chains, ball bead chains, string, or jewelry findings (all the pieces you need to finish jewelry designs, such as ear wire, chains, jump rings, etc.)
Pencil and paper (optional)
LET’S GET STARTED
Think about the shape you’d like to make out of wire; it can be inspired by something interesting you saw in the exhibition or an everyday object in your home, or it can be completely made up from your imagination! A simpler shape means a simpler design for your jewelry, keychain, or ornament. You can sketch a design first if you’d like. If you are brainstorming designs, try drawing a shape without lifting the pencil off of the paper—this will mean fewer pieces of wire you need to connect.
Once you’ve decided on your shape, start with a piece of wire that is about 12 inches long. You can eyeball the length, and it’s better to start with more wire rather than less.
Work the wire into the shape you’d like using pliers. You can also use other objects, such as a pen, pencil, or ruler, to wrap the wire around in order to create different shapes.
Wrap the wire around the joints in your design as needed.
When your wire shape is ready, wrap the wire to create knots to secure your design.
Use the wire cutter to trim any excess wire.
Use the flat nose pliers to clamp down on any rough edges to create a smooth finish. This is an important step to make sure that the ends of the wire won’t poke out at anything. Connect your wire shape to jewelry findings, a key chain, string, or another material. Enjoy your custom piece!
SHARE YOUR WORK
We’d love to see how your jewelry, keychain, or ornament turns out! Please share a photo of it on social media using the hashtag #FryefromHome.
Photo: Caroline Byrd
Digital Media & Web Associate