Chainmaille Mania (Part 3)

Here are a few designs that I came up with based on popular chainmaille weaves:

lil-owlL’il Owl is based on a Byzantine link. When a Byzantine segment is viewed from the top, it reminds me of a perched owl, so I decided to modify it and incorporate different metals and glass beads to make birdlike earrings. Here I’ve used solid copper, bronze and anodized aluminum and hung them on brass earwires. Anodized aluminum has a shiny, coloured coating added by the same process used to produce cookware. Since making these, I’ve acquired more earthtone colours such as brown, yellow and orange that will probably make the owl design a bit more obvious. Chainmaille earrings, especially those made of aluminum, are a joy to wear because they’re so lightweight!

big-blue-marbleUsing the captive technique, Big Blue Marble is a keychain of Japanese weave, caging a large glass marble in heavy-gauge aluminum rings. I had no pattern or specifications to work from; I just experimented until I got the proportions right. The marble is captured securely but still rotates, so it’s fun to play with and can be used as a worry stone! The fob hangs on a sturdy 3 in 3 aluminum chain. Aluminum chainmaille is quite hardy, but I now have stainless steel rings that would work well for this type of design and make it virtually indestructible.

I modified the European 4 in 1 weave with an element of my own to make this Fire & Ice ring, using two sizes of anodized aluminum and solid bronze rings instead of just one. The wide band is lightweight and flexible, rolls onto the finger and holds its shape.fire-iceIf you missed my previous two posts on making chainmaille jewellery, see Part One and Part Two here. If you are interested in purchasing any of my work, or would like to discuss a custom or personalized order, please contact me through my Etsy shop!

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Chainmaille Mania (Part 2)

In my previous post, I showed you a few basic, easy-to-do chainmaille weaves that I’ve tried. The vast library of chainmaille patterns is sorted into families and subfamilies, such as European, Persian, Japanese, Spiral, etc. Their scope is huge, with some families containing hundreds of weaves, so I won’t attempt to explain them here! I’ll just include a bit about the more advanced weaves I’ve learned so far:byzantine

The different faces of Byzantine (clockwise from top left): robust Bronze Age bracelet in solid bronze; Earth Elements necklace of aluminum 2 in 2 weave with Byzantine centerpiece of copper and aluminum; a set I made for myself of anodized aluminum with bead accents

Byzantine is a popular pattern of the European family that looks complex but is actually relatively easy to do. Also named Etruscan and Birdcage, it works up fairly quickly because it’s made of a series of repeating segments, and you can attach several rings at one time. It’s one of the most forgiving weaves as far as Aspect Ratio goes (remember, AR determines what size rings will work in the pattern); there are lots of different ring sizes possible. Because of this, Byzantine can have a different look, from thin and dainty to chunky and quite masculine, and you can change it up by adding different colours. There is a way, apparently, to incorporate rubber rings (which don’t open) to make the weave stretchy and eliminate the need for a clasp; I’m supposed to be working on such a piece for a friend, but I haven’t quite figured out how! Byzantine is strong and hard-wearing, so it makes a good choice for necklaces and bracelets.jens-pind

Examples of Jens Pind Linkage (clockwise from left): Golden Moss all-brass earrings with Czech glass beads; Burnished bracelet in solid copper with hammered copper focal disc [which could be stamped or engraved]; brass Radiance bracelet with solid bronze dangle

Jens Pind (pronounced yence pin) is another popular one, of the Persian family. Also known as Jens Pind Linkage (JPL), it’s a bit tricky to start, but once you do, it’s easy to keep going. It’s a fairly slow weave to make because you can only add one ring at a time. There are several variations (JPL3, JPL5, etc.). Jens Pind is a lot less forgiving AR-wise, meaning there are fewer ring size options, but smaller diameters can be used for a thinner, more feminine result. This is one of the most beautiful, flexible and smooth patterns, and my personal favourite for necklaces and bracelets.box

Silver Box: Anodized aluminum keychain in Box weave ending in a Mobius knot

Box, another European weave, is a strong, attractive and sinuous chain that can be made into jewellery, keychains and wallet chains. It’s a repetitive, bulky weave that comes together pretty quickly.

sweetpea

Pure copper Sweetpea bracelet

Sweetpea is a Persian pattern that’s a bit of a horror to make, as the ring spaces are very tight, but the beautiful result is totally worth it!

In the third and final post of this series, I’ll show you a few pieces I did by taking standard chainmaille patterns and giving them my own personal twist.