Saturday, January 29, 2011

January Challenge - Opposites

For the month of January, the ArtFire Chainmaille guild was set the challenge of creating pieces of chainmaille with the theme of Opposites.
Here are the wonderful creations that guild members came up with.

Little Metal Merchant

Great work by all our involved members. Remember to join us next month for the results of our next challenge.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Valentine's Day - Chainmaille Style by Little Metal Merchant

Friday, January 21, 2011

Two great collections thanks to The Lucky Dogs!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Introducing Kaeti's Originals!

Here we are back again with another introduction to one of our newer members. This week we are meeting the talented Kaeti of Kaeti's Originials. Let's see how she answers are regular questions.

How long have you been a Chainmailler?
I hate to admit, it’s been a while. I started learning how to do the Byzantine when I was getting my BFA back in the late 80’s.I was into different chain patterns and designs that I found in my antique jewelry books. Mostly then, I was working on soldered link patterns.I would look at patterns and try to copy them.There weren’t many books on the subject of chains or chainmaille back then, (late 80’s) and the internet was just a SyFi dream, so it was a slow process. It was research of love and a process of trial and error.I am somewhat dyslectic, which doesn’t help and made it very frustrating. Although, I have created links accidently.That synchronicity of finding a new (to me), weave is kind of a pay-back for having done some things backwards. It’s happened more than a few times!
I didn’t go back to chainmaille until about 6 years ago having been a bench jeweler for a retail store, and going back to college.I have since gotten enough patterns in my bag of tricks to start teaching to those interested. Being dyslectic has helped me teach both left and right handed wannabe weavers since I can do either.Now, there’s tons of stuff out there to help me learn new patterns.

Why do you like chainmaille?
The very idea of “chains” is interesting to me as a metaphor to life.You know, “chain of events”, “chain of life”, “chains that bind”, etc. We are all links in that chain. How each individual makes a whole, that kind of thing.
Also, the feel of the piece when it is finished.It must be a primal thing because so many people say “It’s the feel” or they just “oooo” and “awww” when I teach a class in Euro 4 in 1 and they get enough finished so they can drape it over their hand and admire it.It’s fun to watch because they let it slink over their hands over and over, and then go on to get it longer.I’m no different.

What is your favorite type of ring?
I really like to use 18ga copper, brass, bronze, nickel or silver rings because they are easier to make, cut and weave.I have tried stainless, but, yikes, it’s hard on my hands! I have used larger rings in the non-ferrous metals and have liked the results but not too many applications for 14 or 12ga rings.The pieces get pretty heavy. If I need to make smaller chains, the smaller gauges come into play, but it seems like it takes forever to make anything with those smaller links.

What kinds of items do you prefer to make?
I guess I would have to say bracelets because that seems to be what I have the most of!I would have to include neck chains as well. I have a full-time job as a Counselor at a community college which is probably why I make bracelets: less time invested. I also cut my own cabochons for my clasps and pendants which takes time away from weaving.I am somewhat of a purist in that I prefer to have a piece totally handmade rather than relying on purchased stones.Sometimes, I just have to go with a purchased stone if it fills the design better. Or I do use manufactured clasps because folks are more used to them and trust them.

Which weave would you like to learn that you don’t currently know?
Hmmm. Elf weave, and those Persian weaves made into sheets look cool.I’ve been thinking about making a vest or purse but haven’t decided what weave or size ring, yet. It would also be fun to do little animals and sculpture, but I’m not sure what weave to use. I’ve seen them and just think they are way cool.

Which piece are you most proud of?
That changes every time I try something new and I get it, but for now, I would have to say my graduated collars in Euro 4 in 1 and 6 in 1 using three different metals. Just figuring out which ring sizes, AR and all was a total challenge.I’m not quite finished with either of the 4 in 1 or the 6 in 1, yet. Still need to finish with a clasp I am designing.But I have a Argentinium silver collar in Euro 4 in 1 that I added “pleats” to so it drapes around the neck better.I also have a copper one in the same design.
I also am proud of a couple of bracelets that I made in the loop-in-loop weave in four rows.I just finally put them up for sale as I wasn’t sure I was going to sell them I liked them so much personally.One is posted here and Etsy.

What advise would you give to someone who was considering doing Chainmaille?
Just don’t give up!!! There’s not much more frustrating that trying to learn a new weave, especially, the start of the weave. But when you finally get a pattern down – Wow! It really feels great! Start easy and as you get better, stretch yourself.Learning new patterns might just be a good way to prevent Alzheimer’s!