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Viking knit jewelry a centuries-old art form

Above, artist Cathy Brown will lead a class on using Viking knit, a centuries-old weaving technique, to create a copper wire Viking knit bracelet with glass beads, below, at the Cottage Gallery at Twisted Fish in Elk Rapids.

ELK RAPIDS — Most would associate weaving with thread of some sort, but not jewelry artist Cathy Brown.

Brown, of Acme, weaves metal bracelets and necklaces to accompany her handmade glass beads.

It’s called viking knit, and it’s a centuries-old technique, she said. It’s intricate and can be time-consuming to form the length necessary for jewelry — but the final product is gorgeous and she loves making it, Brown said.

“The sky’s the limit on types of jewelry,” Brown said. “(Viking knit) is just different because it’s a unique weaving technique.”

Later this month, Brown is leading a workshop where participants will learn how to make a copper wire viking knit bracelet. She’s providing some of her handmade glass beads to be used as decorations.

The class takes place Jan. 25 at Twisted Fish Gallery in Elk Rapids. The gallery has showcased Brown’s work for about two years, said Lynn Streit, gallery manager.

“Cathy is a very engaging, lovely soul,” she said. “She really knows her craft. We couldn’t be more proud to represent her and her works”

There have been lots of inquires about Brown leading a class, but this is the first time Brown has been able to lead a full workshop, Streit said.

“I think a lot of people might be intimidated (by this type of jewelry-making), but you don’t need prior experience,” she said. “(Brown) will show you step-by-step.”

Participants will be using 24-gauge copper wire, Brown said. She’ll teach them how to do a viking knit around a dowel rod and, once it’s long enough, how to pull it tight for the piece being made.

Brown said she works with sterling silver instead of copper, but it’s better to start with copper for beginners. Besides, she said, copper bracelets are gorgeous.

The class will take about 4 hours — including time for a full lunch — because of the intricacy of the technique, Brown said. There’s also the fact that wire tends to “coil and have a mind of its own,” so users have to learn to control that, she said.

“Once you get the hang of it, it’s so simple,” Brown said.

“It’s a fun thing to do on a winter day and you’re going to have the skills to make your own jewelry,” she said.

The class runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tickets are $125 and include the cost of all materials, tools and a full lunch.

Space is limited so as to allow for one-on-one instruction.

The January 25th class is full but we are offering a second session on Saturday, February 15th. Please contact the gallery at 231.264.0123 to register or go to

This article was featured in the Record Eagle By Alexa Zoellner

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