Michael David Sturlin Crochets with Gold

This crocheted necklace is created by weaving interlocking loops of 18k gold wire into a chain, using a needle. Because the chain is built loop by loop, it is a time consuming process: It can take up to three hours to crochet one inch..

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This article was originally posted on Userblogs on 6/21/2016.
By Suzanne WadeMore from this author

Creating a Masterpiece with Michael David Sturlin

Michael David Sturlin, a jewelry artist and award-winning goldsmith, finds the utmost fascination in the fluid look and feel of crocheted wire. "When people pick up and feel my jewelry, they're really attracted to it… That, to me, is the thing that's ultimately satisfying," says Michael David Sturlin.

Gold as Thread: Michael David Sturlin's Woven Treasure

Creating this work of art involves weaving interlocking loops of 18k gold wire into a chain with a needle. Furthermore, building the chain loop by loop extends this process. It can take up to three hours to crochet just one inch, according to Michael David Sturlin.

Annealing the woven necklace can be one of the most challenging steps. The fine wire easily overheats, allowing it to quickly melt if the maker is not careful. Hence, this very real danger has driven more than one jewelry artist away from the technique, says Sturlin. "I know people who tried [gold wire crochet] and they spent eight or 10 hours creating a piece. Then, when they tried to anneal it and finish it, they melted it." Practice and experience are Michael David Sturlin's keys to heating a piece enough to anneal, but not enough to melt.

Setting The Stones

Surely, setting the stones for this piece was another design challenge. To make this piece reversible, Michael David Sturlin had to consider many obstacles.  Above all, the prongs could not catch on fabric or skin when the pendant was worn stone-side down. "If someone put on one of my necklaces, and it tore their gown or snagged their sweater, that wouldn't reflect well on the maker," he says.

To avoid this issue, Michael David Sturlin set the gems low in the settings, placing the prongs on the stones' corner facets. "The way the tips are done, it's not some-thing that would catch on fabric—or on a bare neckline."

"I consider crochet to be my meditative activity," says Sturlin. "I usually don't even pick up the crochet unless I have one or two hours to just sit and do it. Each step must be done very precisely so it's uniform… Otherwise, it will result in a little twist or kink in the finished chain. And, if you start and stop it frequently, there's a tendency for the loop size and tension to be different in [that] area. It takes a great degree of focus and mindfulness."
Setting stones in crochet gold
To keep the prongs from catching on fabric when the necklace is worn stone-side down, Michael David Sturlin set the gems low in the settings and placed the prongs on the stones' corner facets. "The prongs are very low profile, and the way that I file them and push them over for setting, there's nothing sharp at all," he says.
Related Article:

Michael David Sturlin's Two Strand Crocheted Chain

This article originally appeared on Ganoksin User Blogs in 2016. It has been lightly edited to reflect updates.

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Suzanne Wade

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