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More than an Earring

03/03/2007

A while ago, I told you about my Days of the Dead Muse, and what I made in such slumps to keep the creative fires burning merrily along. One of the things I mentioned is ear wraps, and I want to share that particular craft with you now. This is an ear wrap:

Butterfly Bush Ear Wrap
Butterfly Bush Ear Wrap

It is worn with the wire wrapped around the entirety of the back of the ear and then squeezed down a bit to stay, like this:

This is how you wear an ear wrap.  Hence 'wrap'.
This is how you wear an ear wrap. Hence “wrap”.

(My ear is not that big, I swear. I actually have very small ears. In this picture, it looks like I have ears to put Dumbo the Flying Elephant to shame. My friends, this picture lies.)

Summer Ear Wrap
Summer Ear Wrap

(I really like that one. I almost don’t want to sell it but, well, Tigger’s vet bills are plodding their way to $2000 with no sign of stopping.)

I make lots of ear wraps, for I have a deep and abiding love for all things shiny and unique, and these definitely fit the bill. They require no piercing and are typically asymmetric -I’ve never actually made duplicate wraps. Sometimes, to give it a bit more symmetry, I’ll make a normal piercing-required earring which matches the wrap to go in the other ear; it retains the sort of decorative flair of one piece while giving a sense of coordination that does not overwhelm (I have seen people wearing two ear wraps at once, and found it distinctly overpowering- one wrap accents the shape of the face, two hide it.)

Like many things in life, the difficulty lies not in the shiny visible part but in the dark foundations. The biggest trick to making these work was finding a suitable wire for the actual wrap part- which, when worn, is largely hidden behind the ear. It had to be strong enough to hold the weight, thick enough not to cut into the ear, flexible enough to be wrapped and unwrapped repeatedly from said ear, lightweight enough to be worn (the beads are heavy enough on their own), and not brittle, less the whole wrap-unwrap business wear weak spots into the wire and then snap! no more wrap. Quite the dilemma, no? The solution was actually a lightweight soldering wire: the one I use is copper coated in tin, and fulfills all the above requirements wonderfully and without any nickel content to aggravate metal allergies. Way back in high school, an ear wrap (mark one: they used to be a bit less shiny and dangly) was the first handmade object I sold- there was a teacher that decided to collect them, and would regularly ask me if I had made any new ones.

The Mark Two ear wrap designs are extra dangly, and use beads where I used charms before. I’m very happy with them.

Blue Sky Ear Wrap
Blue Sky Ear Wrap

I’ll even make other non-ear pieces to match, if I have enough materials lying around:

I like things which match.
I like things which match.

ETA: All the ear wraps shown above are listed for sale in my Etsy Store.

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