About

“Creating with wire is my way to open my inner self to the world. Working with my hands, transforming raw materials into beautiful, usable objects, I feel a sense of continuity, a connection to the ancestry of my craft."

 

I fell in love with wire arts the moment I picked up a pair of pliers in my first wire wrapping class in the summer of 2001. It was the way those small wire tools felt in my hands, so naturally and comfortably, and the irresistible magic of wire, its ability to transform into different shapes and patterns, that completely captured my imagination.

I have been making art all my life.  Some of my best childhood memories include cutting, gluing, pasting, carving, or building something. Art has always found its way into my life. I spent five wonderful years drafting and building models while studying Interior Design in college. Over time I also dabbled in bronze casting, clay sculpture, stained glass, sewing, crocheting, and even cross stitch. But wire jewelry proved to be the thing that stuck – at least so far.

 

After that first class in 2001, I spent several years working with traditional wire-wrapping techniques, improving my skills and experimenting with various types of wires and tools.

After a while, when I felt that I’d pushed wire-wrapping to its limits, I started searching for new ways of working with the wires. That was around 2006 when wire-weaving – adopted from textile and basket arts - just started making its regular appearance in jewelry magazines and books. The mesmerizing beauty of the rich textures and patterns of the weaves made an enormous impression on me, and I set off to learn as much as I could about these innovating techniques. I have to thank Mary Hettmansperger whose book Fabulous Woven Jewelry helped me so much at the beginning of my wire-weaving journey. 

 

One aspect of wire-weaving that proved to be especially exciting to me was its many ways of capturing stones and other elements.  During my wire-wrapping years, I developed an appreciation for the stone as a focal piece, with the design growing around it, dictated by the shape of and the patterns with it.  It was important to me to continue that emphasis on the stone as I started shifting my focus to wire-weaving. 

 

In the last several years, I’ve continued my study of the weaves.  I adopted the existing and devised new ways of using the various techniques to create my own designs, most of them, of course, incorporating cabochons, crystals, and other focal elements.  I have been fortunate to have my work included in several magazines and books.  My designs have also won numerous awards at art shows and jewelry competitions.  My book, Weaving Freeform Wire Jewelry came out in 2013.

My Story
Teaching

For me, teaching has been a natural extension of my work and an essential part of the jewelry making experience.  In addition to keeping my craft alive and vibrant by passing it on to others, being a teacher, having to explain my ideas, gives me a new look at my own work and helps me to grow as an artist. And, of course, there is no substitute for the energy of a busy classroom, the free exchange of ideas and the fun of sharing a teaching-learning experience with a group of like-minded people.

 

These days I spend a lot of time designing projects to best demonstrate the various techniques.  I travel a lot to teach at national shows, such as Bead and Button and Bead Fest, as well as for jewelry and bead societies and other groups throughout the United States.

About My Jewelry

I think of my jewelry as small sculptures or tiny architectural structures that need to be strong and functional as well as interesting and attractive. My pieces are designed all around, each side receiving equal attention, with the back being just as beautiful as the front: the owner's own special secret beauty to be revealed to others or not.

The materials I use are strong and durable, meant to retain their beauty and value for a very long time. Most of my jewelry is made with pure fine silver, the silky malleable metal that easily lends itself to making freeform shapes that I favor.  I love tough natural gemstones, polished or in their original rough state, such as agates, jaspers, rubies, garnets, opals, emeralds and others. I also use one-of-a kind art glass elements selected for their brilliant color and unusual designs. 

 
 

Publications

Books
  • Weaving Freeform Wire Jewelry, Step-by-step Techniques, 20 versatile Designs by Kaska Firor, Kalmbach Publishing 2013

  • Copper Jewelry Collection, compiled by Karin Van Voorhees, Kalmbach Publishing, 2014 Featured articles by Kaska Firor: Three Wire Weaves, p. 28-30 and Braided Bracelet  p. 80-85

  • 10 Wire Weaving Projects, Best of Step by Step Wire Jewelry E-book, Interweave Press 2011Featured article by Kaska Firor: Leaf Bracelet,  p 2-5

  • Jewelry and Metalsmithing Survey 2017, Society of North American Goldsmiths, photo of Ursula Necklace featured on page 185

 

 

Magazines
  • Bead Style, Nov. 2015 – Featured artwork by Kaska Firor, p 11

  • Art Jewelry, March 2012 - front cover photo: Braided Bracelet by Kaska Firor

  • Featured articles by Kaska Firor: 3Essential Weaves, p – 32-33 and Advance Your Weaving Skills with a Braided Bracelet, p 34-40

  • Step by Step Wire Jewelry, June-July 2010 – Featured Article by Kaska Firor: Leaf Bracelet

  • Step by Step Wire Jewelry, Fall 2009 – front cover photo:  Wave Earrings by Kaska Firor, Featured article by Kaska Firor: Wave Earrings, p 10-13

 

Awards

  • Bead Dreams Exhibit and Competition 2107 - Best in Show runner-up

  • Bead Dreams Exhibit and Competition 2107 - First place, Wire category

  • Bead Dreams Exhibit and Competition 2015 - First Place, Wire Category

  • Bead Dreams Exhibit and Competition 2015 –Third Place, Wire Category

  • Loveland Art Show 2015 – First Place, Wearable Art Category

  • Bead Dreams Exhibit and Competition 2015 - Finalist

  • St John’s Art Show 2015 - Best of Show 

  • Loveland Art Show 2014 – Second Place, Wearable Art Category

  • Madison-Chautauqua Arts Festival 2012 – Second Place, Fine Art Category  

  • Madison-Chautauqua Arts Festival 2011, First Place, Fine Craft Category

  • Cane Park Arts Festival 2011 - Best of Show

  • Wyoming Art Show, Wyoming, Ohio, 2011 – Third Place

  • Madison-Chautauqua Arts Festival 2010, First Place, Fine Craft Category

  • Mariemont Art Show,  Mariemont, Ohio, 2009, - First Place

  • Upper Arlington Labor Day Art Show 2009, Third Place

  • Hyde Park Square Art Show, Cincinnati Ohio,  2009 – Third Place

  • Wyoming Art Show, Wyoming, Ohio 2009 – Third Place

Weaving Freeform Wire Jewelry
by Kaska Firor

Weaving Freeform Wire Jewelry introduces the reader to basic through advanced wire weaving techniques.  Through a series of 20 beautiful jewelry projects--sequenced from easy to advanced--both beginners and experienced jewelry makers can gain a deep understanding of the techniques and design process.

Free 6-Page Tutorial 

Braided Wire Bracelet

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© Kaska Firor 2016

Kaska Firor | Cincinnati, Ohio | kaska@designsbykaska.com

Tapestry

Finalist, Bead Dreams, 2013