A Mask for Oonagh and Some Fab Wirework Jewellery for Me

Way back at the beginning of the year, I had a Facebook conversation with a very talented wirework jewellery maker.  I had admired her work for quite a while, and it has to be said, I lover her name – Oonagh, Ooonagh Gibson.  Oonagh took up jewellery making when she found herself largely housebound for various reasons.  She watched Jewellery Maker TV and learnt her skills well.  She obviously watched way too much Jewellery Maker TV as she came across me on one of my monthly appearances!

After a bit of a Facebook chat that established that I would never be able to do the fabulous wirework jewellery, and that Oonagh was unlikely to get heavily involved in Friendly Plastic, she proposed a swap.  She would make me something in her medium and I would make her something in mine.

In March the postman arrived and gave me a package.  When I opened it, I could not believe my eyes – there was a stunning pendant and a simply fantastic cuff bracelet.  Ooonagh had got right down to it and made me the beautiful pieces you see below.  She is one very talented lady, and I believe she is currently selling some of her pieces via her Facebook Page Oonagh’s Wirework Jewellery. I heartily recommend that you take a look.

Ooonaghs jewellery1

Fabulous weaving and coiling techniques around two lovely cabochons.Ooonaghs jewellery3

I don’t understand how she can make it so neat and tidy.  Ooonaghs jewellery4

In return, it took me another 4 months to be able to make the mask that Ooonagh wanted and get it off to her.  Below is my Orient inspired Mask For Oonagh made from Friendly Plastic, textiles and wire.

Mask For Oonagh

Mask For Oonagh

Oonagh wanted something asymmetrical and have some hint of the orient about it.  I took the colours from my Chinese New year trip to Hong Kong a couple of years ago which was full of bright reds and blacks with bursts of hot firework colours.


The basis for the mask is my Lacework technique with curls of hot water softened Friendly Plastic.  Anyone who has been on my classes will know how to make the little flowers, and I set them with small crystals in their centres20140719_130315

Defining the eye sockets with strips of Friendly Plastic adds contrast to the open Lacework.  I chose a green organza for the background fabric which I laminated to the plastic with heat and a soldering iron.

A couple of curls of wire extend the design on opposite corners to increase the asymmetrical feel.  The stick was made by gluing three kebab sticks together and wrapping them with threads.  This was attached to the back of the mask with glue, but then covered with Friendly Plastic to make it very secure.  I added a little label so everyone knows that the mask was made for Oonagh.

To add interest to the reverse of the mask I coloured it with Gleams and sealed it front and back with Duraclear Gloss Varnish.20140719_130642

I consider myself to be extremely lucky to own an Oonagh Gibson original, and I think that she is happy with her mask, I hope so.  It was a real pleasure to do this swap with Oonagh, but I don’t think it is something I will do again for a while as I felt really guilty not making the mask for her sooner, but time is in such short supply and I would hate to keep anyone waiting so very long again.

If you want to learn how to make Friendly Plastic masks in the way that I make them, then all you have to do is wait until early 2015 when I plan to create an online class about masks.  This will be part of a course that I am working in collaboration on.  I don’t want to say too much now as my collaborator and I are in the very early stages of developing the course.  But watch this space for more information as the year progresses.