Saturday, September 27, 2008

Making a Classic Jewelry Design Your Own

(Thought I'd share an article I wrote for Watch Me Create)!

Chain maille has been around for hundreds of years. After all, it’s how armor was made for medieval knights. Visit any renaissance festival and you’ll see an abundance of chain maille armor, chain maille head pieces, and, my favorite, chain maille jewelry.

Linking a pile of jump rings together is, to me, a very soothing task. It reminds me of knitting a scarf — once the foundation row is made, I can just go on and on and on without really having to think too much. I tend to make the more standard chain weaves, nothing elaborate, so once I’ve got the chain going, I can let my mind just zone out for a while and give myself a break.

The patterns for standard chain maille — Byzantine, European 4-in-1, Full Persian — have been around for what seems like forever. No one owns the rights to those weaves, and there are lots of free tutorials online; and therefore, lots of people making them. So the trick is to make that given pattern your OWN.

Some artists get very creative and come up with entirely new weaves. Some use new materials, like stretchy,colorful neoprene. My method of giving the finished bracelet a unique look is to add beads.

Full Persian is one of my favorite chains — dense but flexible, substantial but not too heavy — it’s just got a great look. Every single Full Persian bracelet I make gets a handmade lampwork bead and an extender chain with clusters of crystals that match the glass. Each bracelet I make is different because of the bead, and since this style is the only way I’ve ever made Full Persian, it’s become my own signature style.

So if you’re a chain maille enthusiast, take a look around and see what you can do to make a tried and true classic something that has your personal stamp of creativity on it. Maybe it’s a killer toggle, or mixing metals, or embellishing the chain. Adding that special touch will make you stand out in the crowd, and make that style your own.

You can see more of my chain maille at, mostly in the Classic section.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:13 PM

    I just *love* the chain maille bracelet you did for me a year or two ago and wear it all the time.


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