“You’re being audited.” Are you sweating yet?audit-prep

Some of you may remember when that message was delivered to B3 a few years ago. With April 15 just around the corner, we thought it’d be timely to revisit Rebeca’s helpful posts about how she handled B3′s audit.

And just for the fun of it (we need some fun when talking taxes), here’s a roundup from USA Today about all the cool deals and freebies companies plan to offer on Tax Day this year.

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Today we launched a new section of jump rings on our website called “B3 Seconds.” We’ve made these less-than-perfect grade B and C anodized aluminum rings available to provide a more cost-effective option for customers who may need a lot of colored rings and are willing to do a little picking and sorting themselves. Similar to our anodized aluminum fades, it’s likely we won’t have a full stock of every color in every size, but we currently have several colors and sizes available and will continue to add  more as they become available.

When you visit the B3 Seconds page, you’ll notice we offer two different grades of these rings. These grades are assigned based on overall color variation within each batch. Grade B rings have less variation than Grade C. Both grades may contain a small amount of uncolored or “white” rings. Grade C may contain more of these rings than Grade B.

Check out a side-by-side example of these grades:

all-grades

From left to right: Premium Anodized Aluminum in orange, Grade B AA in orange, Grade C AA in orange.

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Part of what we love about chainmaille — beyond actually weaving, of course — is getting to know and learn from other fun, creative and talented maillers. With this in mind, we are especially excited to announce that guest instructor Joshua Diliberto will soon be teaching a class at Blue Buddha Boutique!

joshuadilibertoJoshua will be on hand Saturday, May 3, to explain how to weave a chainamille bag – the first step when learning how to weave chainmaille clothing. Actually weaving will be just the surface of this class – he’ll also discuss the “flat expanding round” pattern, an essential technique to know if you’re looking to make projects such as coifs, cozies, bikini tops, shirts and other projects.

Joshua said, “It is a real honor for me to have an opportunity to teach [at B3]. It would be like an academic being offered a chance to speak at Harvard.” (Wow! Are we blushing yet?)chainmaillebags

Joshua has been making chainmaille for nearly 20 years and considers himself lucky to weave for a living. His specialty is creating new chainmaille weaves and applications; to date, he has 56 original weaves documented in the Maille Artisans International League (MAIL) database. 

We spoke with him about his creative process and how he develops new weaves. Joshua said, “Creating a new weave can come from many different places, and it often comes from a place inside that is never expected. Sometimes a new weave can come from a mistake. Sometimes it comes from playing around or experimenting. Sometimes a new weave is born from problem solving – maybe a bracelet needs to bend in a different direction and a new connection is explored. Coming up with a new weave is like publishing a scientific article or a piece of poetry. Chainmaille can be a beautifully rich artistic expression and it can also be a deep field of theory and research. Chainmaille weaves are my love.”

Developing a new weave isn’t the only challenging part. Before it can be registered, an artist must exercise due diligence and check to see if the weave they’ve created already exists! With more than 1300 weaves in the MAIL database, this is an arduous task, but a necessary one. Joshua advises artists, “The good news is that it looks like there are an infinite number of weaves to be made, so don’t be discouraged. It’s always important to make sure a new weave is useful or practical in some way. I’ve probably thrown away more new weaves than I’ve published because they aren’t pretty to me or have no use. If a new weave is just a jumble of rings that don’t interact well together, I will usually toss the weave in my mistake pile.”

Wait – a mistake pile? Yes. Joshua continued with, “My number one piece of advice to chainmaillers is to keep all of your mistakes. Do not take apart mistakes or throw them away because we are destined to repeat our mistakes. To me, a mistake is a temporary sacrifice that results in a future gain in experience and knowledge. Creations wouldn’t be so interesting if they always came out the way we expect.”

He summarized his process for coming up with new weaves as this: “I’ll try to make 20 new weaves. Out of those, 10 of them will be possible, and out of those, five of them will be useful. And out of those, one of them will be beautiful.” 

Seats are filling quickly, so don’t delay. Register now for Joshua’s class at B3 in Chicago on May 3.

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Through the magic of time-lapse video you can watch Rebeca weave a chaimaille scarf, from beginning to end!  She looks like she knows what she’s doing, huh? ;-)

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We have a pretty extensive FAQ section on our website, but sometimes words can only go so far when you’re dealing with something as tactile as chainmaille. This is why it makes us extremely happy that our new YouTube channel is up and running! We are glad to finally be able to address many commonly asked questions about chainmaille, and provide some tips, tricks and helpful techniques in a great medium.

Take a few minutes to check out these quick videos about opening, closing, and scooping jump rings off a bead mat. Even if you’re a seasoned mailler, you might find something that makes your next project just a bit easier. Happy weaving!

How to Open Jump Rings
Learn how to properly open jump rings using chainmaille jewelry making pliers. In this video, Rebeca Mojica demonstrates how how to hold pliers and use them to open jump rings without damaging them.

How to Close Jump Rings
Learn how to close jump rings so there is no gap and the ring stays perfectly flat. In this video, Rebeca gives some tips and techniques for closing jump rings.

How to Use a Bead Mat / How to Scoop Jump Rings
In this video, Rebeca demonstrates how to scoop jump rings from a bead mat when making chainmaille. Using this scooping technique with a bead mat can help prevent jump rings from falling – and help you weave more quickly.

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