Due to the persistent requests of 2 unrelated readers, I’m giving in and writing an article about chainmaille. I know its amazing and fabulous stuff and worthy of the spotlight...so here it goes!
Chainmaille has been around the block!
It seems that most historians agree that chainmaille was invented around the 5th century out of a need to protect one’s body from being pierced by a blade in war. “Maille” is a French word meaning mesh, and each piece of this mesh was done individually by hand and crafted specifically to protect each body part individually under one’s armor. Made from individual rings that are connected to each other in a pattern and then soldered, this metal fabric has evolved into jewelry for today’s world, much to the delight of designers! And what incredible fabric it is. Funny how something so cold and industrial like a metal loop can become like flowing fabric when combined.
Chainmaille goes bananas!
I admit that when I began looking for contemporary designers who are working with chainmaille I was impressed and surprised. This art form has taken many new roads in a short amount of time. For instance, look at the use of chainmaille in 3-dimensions. This pair of silver, gold and copper colored rings is like a tiny bit of sculpture. Like tiny bird cages, this pair of earrings must look so awesome when they’re being worn.
This copper knot trio has tons of texture and color. A really pretty design, and even though they’re pretty dense, they look feminine and pretty. Very girly!
Speaking of copper, check out this pair of earrings that has another metal component mixed in. It’s got a very silver/copper steampunk flair to it, no? I like all the circular references and curves here. Nice mix of metals, too.
Look at this creative use of rings here! A ring that’s been manipulated, almost disfigured, for the design in this pair. The design is simple, with contrasting blackened silver rings mixed with copper ones, but when that one copper ring is pushed to its breaking point like this, it gives it a whole new look.
A new use for chainmaille
Check out this great idea… using chainmaille linked rings to create a bezel for a cabochon. Love it! Metal and stone go together so well. Its such a nice look instead of going with a traditional setting for a stone. Sort of a happy surprise. :-)
Change it up!
This “S” curve necklace is so simply built, yet the design is so contemporary and so beautiful. I guess the play of shape is really appreciated here. When you’ve got a ring in a circle to build designs out of, it can be challenging. This one is so awesome.
A touch of color
There are so many different kinds of rings out there that offer colors and size and shape options. I really like the colored rings and I even more like the rubber rings that you can bend. They make chainmaille look like filigree, don’t you agree? When you’ve got a circular design like the rosette or the round cross, colors can really make an impact.
If you’re a weaver or a stringer or have never done wire work before… fear not! Working with these rings is not hard. You can even get a book to help you out. We’ve got a great one called Link It! By Susan C. Thomas. Also, we’ve got metal rings for your perusal. Check them out and get to linkin’!
“Workin’ on the chain gang. That’s me. I’m hooked, no… linked! into this chainmaille now!” ~Mary Throckmorton