Wire Woven Hanger for Keepsake Horseshoes
I’m veering a bit off topic today because I find myself in a strange cycle of completion. Lately, I’ve been feeling an urgent need to finish all of the unfinished craft projects that I have laying around my apartment. I have multiple crochet projects in various stages of completion. I also have a needlepoint cushion top that I stitched ages ago. But it still needs to be blocked and finished.
Then there’s the boho-style tassel chandelier that I’ve been meaning to make for my daughter’s bedroom. I’ve had all the materials that I need for that project for months. I even found a multi-tier lampshade at a local thrift store that will be the perfect frame for the chandelier. I was so excited to start that project, but then I got sidetracked with other projects. Meanwhile, the chandelier parts are taking up space on the floor in a corner of my craft space.
Am I the only one who does this? Please tell me I’m not alone! I did manage to strip the old fabric off of the lampshade frame and clean off all the glue residue a couple of weeks ago. Now I just need to paint the naked frame pieces and make the tassels.
I may eventually share a tutorial for that chandelier if it turns out well. But today I want to talk about the wire woven hanger that I recently made for a beaded tapestry. I finally finished this old project over the weekend, and I’m thrilled with how it turned out.
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About This Project
Until about eight years ago, horses were always a huge part of my life. I was a horse-crazy little girl, and I’ve never outgrown my love of horses. When I bought my last horse several years ago, though, I think I subconsciously realized that she really would be my last horse.
I had no idea how or why my life might change in such a way that horses would no longer be a part of my life. But I couldn’t shake the sense that my sweet little gray Appaloosa mare might mark the end of an era for me. Maybe it’s because my first horse was a gray Appaloosa gelding — the two of them, Shadow and Gray Cloud, felt almost like bookends.
In any case, I hung onto the two shoes that Shadow was wearing on her front feet when I first brought her home. Those shoes remind me of my life-long love of horses and the many individual horses that I’ve known and loved throughout my lifetime. Those many gentle souls helped shape me into the person I am today, and I’m so grateful to them for that.
I bought Shadow in 2007, which was right around the time that I’d first started making wire jewelry. I initially began making chainmail jewelry, but I’d also done a lot of bead weaving through the years. In fact, it was the desire to display some sort of bead woven tapestry from Shadow’s horseshoes that caused me to begin exploring wire weaving. I wanted some sort of decorative hanger for her shoes.
Weaving seems to be a recurring theme in my life. Have you noticed that in your own life? I think there are certain people who are just naturally drawn to weaving, in one form or another.
Anyway, the moment I first saw Margie Deeb’s wonderful book, Beading Her Image at my local bead shop, I knew immediately what I wanted to do with those two keepsake horseshoes. I chose two of Margie’s gorgeous beaded tapestry patterns to hang from Shadow’s shoes.
I made the first of those two beaded tapestries in 2007, and it’s been on display in five different homes in the years since. It’s hard to believe that I’ve moved that frequently in the last fourteen years, but my life has taken many unexpected twists and turns.
That tapestry (pictured below) is called “Grace”, which you’ll find on page 30 of Margie’s wonderful pattern book. I’ve never been fully satisfied with the way that I finished that piece, though.
As I mentioned above, I was just starting to explore wirework when I made this tapestry. And I couldn’t figure out an elegant way to hang that horseshoe.
One of these days, I’ll take that hanger apart and rework it with a more suitable wire woven hanger.
I knew that I’d eventually make a second tapestry called “Veil”, which is featured on the cover of Margie’s book. After all, I had two keepsake horseshoes that I wanted to display. Some ten years after finishing the Grace tapestry, I finally got around to buying the beads and weaving the Veil tapestry.
The weaving went pretty quickly, but again I found myself stuck on the the idea of how I wanted to hang the horseshoe. So, that project sat unfinished in a drawer in my craft space for four more years. Are you seeing a pattern here? I’m terrible at starting projects and then never finishing them!
I originally planned to make an elaborate bejeweled wire woven backing for the horseshoe. But by the time I started this second tapestry project, I was deep into launching Door 44 Studios. So, I never got around to designing the piece that I originally had in mind.
In the spirit of “done is better than perfect” I recently decided to settle for a simple wire woven hanger embellished with beaded fringe. And this is what I came up with — I just finished adding the fringe yesterday.
Making a Wire Woven Horseshoe Hanger
Here’s a closer look at the wire woven hanger. It’s nothing too fancy. I used 18ga wire for the hanger frame and 28ga wire for weaving. As much as I love copper, I didn’t feel that was the right metal for this piece because gold is one of the main colors in the tapestry. So, this was the first time that I attempted working with jeweler’s brass.
To form the curved shape of the hanger, I used the horseshoe itself as a mandrel. Then I made a lacy zig zag wire from which I could suspend the beaded fringe. And finally, I wove all three pieces together using the Modified Soumak Weave. Easy peasy!
I absolutely love the way this piece turned out! It’s not the elaborate Damask-style wirework design that I originally had in mind. But it meets all of my qualifications for a satisfactory result: it’s functional, simple, and elegant. Best of all, the gold tone of the brass wire blends beautifully with the gold plated beads in the tapestry.
Brass wire is a bit harder than copper. But that may actually prove to be an advantage when it comes to creating home décor pieces. That extra bit of stiffness will likely result in more durable and functional pieces.
Wondering how I attached the wire woven hanger to the horseshoe? The next image will give you a glimpse of the backside of the hanger.
I simply hooked the wires through the top nail hole on either side of the horseshoe. Then I covered those exposed wires with beaded tubes that fit neatly in the channels on the front of the shoe.
You can also see how I secured the beaded tubes on the horseshoe using the same smoke-colored beading thread that I used for the bead work.
One more work in progress is now finished! It feels great to finally be able to hang it on my wall. And now it’s time to get that boho tassel chandelier finished before my daughter graduates from high school and leaves the nest!
Are you interested in making home décor projects that incorporate wire weaving? If so, let me know in the comments.
Another idea that I’ve been kicking around is creating bud vases from vintage bottles with wire woven wall hangers. I have a huge collection of vintage bottles that I’d like to put to some sort of practical use. And I’d love to use some of those bottles for plant propagation.
What do you think? Shall we branch out into home décor here at Door 44? Or shall we stick to making jewelry? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope you enjoyed reading this post. More importantly, I hope it inspired you to finish some of your own partially complete projects.
Be sure to favorite my Etsy shop for the latest ad-free printable PDF wire weaving tutorials. As always, I’d love to see what you’ve made and hear your ideas and suggestions for new wire jewelry (or home décor) tutorials and blog posts. So, be sure to connect with me @door44studios on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.
Until next time, go make something beautiful!