Memory Wire Jewelry Making for Visually Impaired Artist with Fine Motor Difficulty
by Rena Klingenberg.
Nancy Mac sent in this question:
What is Memory Wire? My sister is visually impaired and also has fine motor problems now after a stroke. She has difficulty now holding the string to make bracelets.
Does anyone know of a “string holder” or any type of assistive device she could use?
She makes beautiful bracelets but needs a steady hand.
Here’s My Reply
for Nancy and Her Sister:
First, here is what Memory Wire looks like:
It’s available in sizes for bracelets, rings, and necklaces.
It comes in coils that look like a “Slinky” toy, and you simply cut off as many coils as you wish for your jewelry item.
Then you need to either make a loop in one end of the wire with your pliers, or glue an end cap on one end, so that your beads don’t run off the end of the wire after you string them.
After stringing your beads / components on the wire, you finish off the remaining end by making a loop at the end, or gluing an end cap onto it.
Important: Memory wire is a hard wire that will ruin most jewelry cutters and pliers. So be sure to use cutters and pliers that are made for using with Memory Wire (you can find this wire and the tools for it at many craft stores, bead stores, or with a simple online search).
Examples of Memory Wire Jewelry:
Here’s a lovely beaded Memory Wire bracelet by Tara Myers, made with one coil of Memory Wire:
A Child’s Purple Rose Memory Wire Bracelet.
Here are some multi-coil Memory Wire bracelets by Nancy Vaughan, where she’s used beads as well as pieces of rubber tubing (available from many jewelry suppliers online):
Easy Breezy Bracelet.
Here are some charming Memory Wire ankle bracelets by Kathy Zee:
Easy Anklets that Are Adjustable.
And here are Memory Wire necklaces by Tamara Summers:
Classic Blue Cameo Lace Necklaces.
Memory Wire Jewelry Tutorial:
Here’s one of my tutorials for making a pendant and earrings with Memory Wire:
Memory Wire Pendant and Earrings (Tutorial).
Beading with Hand Difficulties:
Here are some beading tips for your sister’s fine motor difficulties (be sure to read all the comments below these posts, where additional tips are shared):
More Resources for Jewelry Artists
with Fine Motor Difficulties:
Here are three more things for your sister to investigate:
- The posts in the Jewelry and Disabilities section of the Jewelry Making Journal Website.
- The Physically Challenged Artist Support Group on Facebook – a lovely community of artists offering support, encouragement, and useful tips. There are several jewelry artists there who are also part of our Jewelry Making Journal community.
- Subscribe to my free email Jewelry Making Journal Newsletter that comes out every other Tuesday and is filled with loads of inspiration, jewelry discussions, and new tutorials.
Nancy, I wish you and your sister all the best – and give her a hug for me! 🙂