This week I thought I’d write to you about the process behind making a witches ladder. I’ve written before about the meaning behind them as they are one of my favourite things to make and have a rich and interesting meaning behind them. But today I thought I’d write just a little about how they are made, as they are quite time-consuming to do, and it gives you a little insight into my processes. Please note, this is not intended to be a How-To guide - there’s not quite enough detail here for a tutorial and I’m not trying to claim it as one!
The first stage is obviously coming up with the design. I almost always have my design process just in my head, or at most a list of elements (for instance this might say “WL (witches ladder), aquamarine, starfish, toggle”). The next stage is determining the length. I tend to go for one of two lengths for Witches Ladders, one around 45cm and one at closer to 70cm. I generally choose length based on the size of the focal charm - larger charm, longer necklace. This is because smaller charms can easily be lost against the patterns on clothes, and are more easily visible higher up on the chest. However, I sometimes will place larger charms on shorter chains.
The next stage is wiring the stones. Once that is done I can line them up and measure their total length, then subtract that from the total necklace length. Then I’m ready for the fiddliest part - dividing out the chain into short sections which are then reconnected with the wired stones in between. I count each individual link to make sure that each section of chain is the same length, before cutting them and carefully re-stringing the whole necklace. I tend to make each half separately with the two parts of the clasp at the ends, and then connect them both to the central focal charm to finish the piece.
It’s a detailed process, but one that I truly love. And now you know about the work that goes into one piece of jewelry, and hopefully gain a better understanding of my craft.