Art form long popular on the west coast and northern states, makes it’s way to Orlando.
By Patrick Kabot
If you’ve been following trending art forms, there’s no doubt you’ve seen a huge spike in wire wrapping over the past year. From the ears of the electronic scene to the hippie kid zoning out in your class staring at the gems dangling from twine, wire wrapping is popping up in every clique. I had the chance to sit down with one of Orlando’s best wrappers, John James of Warlock Designs, and got some insight on this exciting new craze.
So how would you explain wire wrapping to a person hearing about it for their first time?
John: It’s one of the oldest art forms and started with the Egyptians and Greeks being fascinated over the patterns that trees and vines would make by entangling things. You have a stone and some copper, silver or gold – which you enclose the stone in. I generally prefer to use copper or .999 silver to make my wraps. After that, you begin to bend the material and form patterns around the stone to form a pendant or whatever it is that you’re making.
There’s been a massive insurgence of wire wrapping here in Orlando. Is that going around other spots as well?
John: It’s always been pretty popular in the North and the western states, but it was never very popular on the east coast until now. I’m definitely seeing it more and more every day around here. There’s a few cats over here that are making some amazing pieces.
Where did you pick it up and have the moment of realizing that this was your art?
John: Mainly through various festivals. Every time I saw wraps I found myself more and more interested in them, then I just decided to try it for myself one day.
There’s a lot of history that comes with the stones as well from what I’ve heard. Could you tell me a bit about one of the last stones you used?
John: I just used a peridot, which was mainly valued by the Europeans. When the Spanish and the Europeans met they valued them as diamonds and the Spanish would refer to them as “poor man’s emerald”. I recently used another type that Napoleon and Alexander the Great would value as a stone of victory. There’s actually an old story of Napoleon dropping it out of pocket and being stricken with horrible luck.
How long does the average piece take you and how do you go about making the piece?
John: Well, I just use these two pliers, one for holding and one for bending. So there aren’t really many tools required to make a wrap. I’d say the average piece takes around eighteen hours, give or take a few.
Where do you get your stones from?
John: Anywhere but Avalon [laughs] I’ve had some horrible experiences as a customer at their place. Usually now I stick to ordering them offline. There are some really cool places around town though where I’ll get things from sometimes. The Wellness Center is an awesome place! You can get fluorite octahedrons for .25 and .50 cents each which I’ve used in a couple of my wraps.
Let’s, pun definitely intended, wrap this up with a bit about Warlock Designs. What’s it all about?
John: See what you did there [laughs]. It’s the art branch of Whats’it Records who do a lot of events around Orlando for local musicians and artists. They help me out a lot and just all around solid dudes.
John’s pieces are definitely some of the best around the area. It’s clear to any one who has seen his works that he’s got a well-developed passion and craft for what he does. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, one of his pieces just may be the best and most unique way to show the apple of your eye that he or she means the world.
If you’d like to get in contact with John or see the rest of his portfolio check out his page.
Patrick Kabot is a resident of Avalon Park. He graduated from Valencia with a pre-major degree in Jazz Guitar Performance and is currently attending UCF for an undergraduate in English Literature. Patrick plays in the local band Sela Dors, enjoys philosophy and is an avid tattoo enthusiast.