Copper Wire Roadkill Jewellery

by Tamara Summers.
(Kitchener, Ontario, Canada)

A couple of weeks ago, I visited one of my favourite second-hand stores (I currently have five favourites!). I didn’t end up finding the non-jewellery items I went in for, but ended up coming out of the store with a couple of strands of jewellery draped over my hand.

You’ve got to look, right?! As I headed to my car, a flash of light from something really shiny hit my eyes. I looked down. There lay a skein of run-over fine copper wire. One of the ends of the spool had popped off by the impact.

Of course I picked it up. As I held it up and examined the poor thing, I started to laugh as the phrase “roadkill jewellery” immediately came to my mind. I noticed at that moment that there was a man sitting in a nearby truck watching me, so I simply transferred the wire to my other hand, the one that held my purchased treasures, and continued on my way. I doubted that anyone would return and claim the wire.

I took a quick picture before I did anything with it, because I knew right away that I would write a post about my roadkill (or in this case parkinglotkill) jewellery. I had no idea what I would end up making from it. The wire is very fine, much finer than I would normally use. And I don’t do wire crochet.

But I instinctively wanted to just start to stretch it out bit by bit as a whole unit, and not try to separate the strands. After I cut off the damaged end, I did that, then curved it into what became a lovely teardrop shape. I thought, “Great, I can make some earrings”. But the next piece refused to become a teardrop, choosing to be a triangle instead, I think because of the way it had been run over. So I remembered the “go with the flow of the wire” advice and let it be a triangle.

I considered just continuing on, seeing what shapes would emerge, but what I really wanted to do at that point was to gently stretch the rest of it out and see what I had.

Maybe that was lack of patience speaking, but that’s what I did. It seemed natural to gently twist the wire as I drew it out. I saw that I had just enough to make a necklace with, so I decided to go that route.

The first thing I did was to brush some sealant onto my twisted wire. I knew this would add a bit more strength as well, and secure the shape a little more. I also knew I needed to wrap something else with it.

And this eyelash trim was the first thing that came to my mind, maybe because I love turquoise with copper. I’ve had it for a while, and it’s never been right for any other project. So maybe that’s why I tried a few other cords and ribbons first, but none of them did anything for it. When I tried this, to me it was the perfect pairing. Finally, a use for this trim!

I decided to use the triangle as the pendant, and found these lampwork beads in my stash, which go perfectly with the other elements. I wanted to add one more thing for a bit of interest. One of the lampwork beads has a little white flower on it with a golden centre, which I went to for inspiration.

At first I was going to add some white freshwater pearls, but they made the design a little too busy. I do like a bohemian multi-media look for my jewellery, but I also like things to look really harmonious as well. Then I thought of these golden crystals, and knew immediately that I wanted to embed some of them into the “chain” part of the necklace, as well as for accents on the pendant. The light gold softens the colour of the copper a bit, and makes it more accessible for people that generally wear gold.

I decided to do a bit of wire-wrapping on the pendant with a slightly thicker gauge wire, to add a bit more interest, and again another layer of stability.

The clasp for this necklace was made out of scrap pieces of copper wire as well. I had previously bent a bit of wire into the “eye” portion of the clasp, not knowing what I would use that little shape for. I realized it would work here for a clasp, mimicking the triangle shape of the pendant. I made a hook out of another little scrap.

I decided to make a pendant out of the teardrop-shape I had originally formed (it eventually became an oval). I was able to add a couple of the pearls here. I remembered that not long ago I had bought some rose-gold chain. I think it looks beautiful with this pendant. It seemed like the crowning touch in transforming my copper wire roadkill into esteemed jewellery!

Tamara Summers
Pink Pearls by Tamara

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