Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Crazy about Chainmaille

Chain maille is a medieval technique of weaving metal rings in specific patterns to make clothing, armor, and decorative items. Today it still has practical applications as protective body armor for surgeons, divers and others who work in fields that expose them to sharp implements.
I prefer its decorative applications and lately have been working on some patterns that allow me to create jewelry. So far I have used the 3 in 2 pattern, spiral, rope and byzantine. I hope to move up to some weaving techniques----would love to do some small purses and maybe some hand flower type designs.
My projects so far have been bracelets, earrings and necklaces. The first image is a necklace made in the butterfly pattern with garnet drops and chain fringe. I oxidized the whole piece and then tumble polished it for a few hours to give it the gunmetal finish.
The second necklace is European 4 in 1 pattern with amethyst drops. It was left shiny sterling silver. I'm glad that I had a picture of it because it flew off the shelf the week after I put it in the store.
The earrings are a Japanese cross pattern and the bracelet is a byzantine pattern done in a mixture of sterling silver and copper.
Becky and I have started finishing off some of our larger pieces with chain maille as it balances the look and weight of the finished product.

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