An Excellent Introduction to Using Different Materials To Spice Up Your Chainmaille
In this how-to book, author Kat Wisniewski shows how to add rubber and glass rings to traditional metal jump rings, creating eye-catching chainmaille designs for all levels.
Disclaimer – I know Kat and consider her a friend. We worked together at Blue Buddha for more than 7 years! So of course I’m biased. But that’s because over those many years, I got to see what an amazing artist Kat is, and how devoted to teaching this artform she is. Not only to teaching chainmaille, but teaching it properly. She is honest and thorough in her work and if she states something as fact, I guarantee that she researched and did her homework. I was honored to receive a complimentary copy of the book and a kit to make a project. Know that I only support things I’m passionate about – I can assure you that if I felt this book was anything less than stellar, I would’ve chosen to not write about it at all. OK, now that that’s out of the way… on to the review!
New Connections In Chain Mail Jewelry With Rubber and Glass Rings begins with an informative “Basics” section which anyone new to chainmail weaving will want to read. Even veteran weavers may learn a few tips and tricks in the extensive Materials, Tools and Techniques sections.
The projects begin with very quick and basic designs, perfect for someone brand new to chainmaille (let alone new to rubbermaille or glassmaille). If you’re more advanced, you may still want to give some of these projects a go for the instant gratification they bring. As noted on the inner cover page, Kat “encourages you to make these beautiful pieces of jewelry to share with others or sell for profit if you so wish.” Some of these quick & easy earrings may be great for selling at craft shows–you can crank out many of them in an hour, and give them a price point that allows you to make a nice profit! You can change colors, add charms and modify the basic patterns to put your own creative spin on the designs. For many projects, Kat shows additional colorways for an added boost of inspiration.
Mid-book, the designs begin to increase in complexity. Some of my favorite bracelets are the Celtic Crossroads Bracelet, a variation of Celtic Visions, Encapsulated Delicacy Bracelet, a drool-worthy variation of my X-Lock Byzantine weave and the challenging Arctic Sphere Bracelet which is a mesmerizing dance of orbital aluminum rings and ice blue glass rings.
By far, though, my favorites are the pendants – from the Fold & Gather Linear Star Pendant which teaches several basic rubbermaille techniques, the densely intricate Lock & Twist Pendant, the geometric Interstellar Pendant, and my absolute favorite, the Space Oddity Pendant.
The step-by-step photos throughout the book are crystal clear and easy to follow. Kat makes it easy for beginners to succeed by clearly and succinctly explaining each step. As is typically the case in publishing, mistakes are made – and to eliminate confusion, Kat has created an online Errata listing of corrections on her book’s website. Do check it out before you begin any projects in case there is an adjustment that you’ll need to make.
Overall, the book is refreshing and inspiring. I love being challenged to work outside of my comfort zone and use materials, such as glass rings, that I don’t normally work with. Even though I’ve been making chainmaille for many years, this book gave me the chance to look at the artform with new eyes and feel refreshed, rejuvenated and excited to create. Thank you, Kat, for writing this book and helping make this artform accessible to all!
Purchasing Kits and Materials
If you’re looking to purchase kits, Mhai O Mhai beads is the exclusive supplier for all the project kits. The rubber rings used in the book photos were exclusive to Blue Buddha Boutique at the time Kat was writing the book. These rings are now available through Spiderchain.com. (So if you have old B3 rubber rings on hand and are wondering if they’ll work for the projects, the answer is yes! I used Blue Buddha’s black rings to make my Space Oddity Pendant.)
I wish you happy weaving and encourage you to try the projects in this book. It’s a fun and colorful journey! Happy weaving,
DISCLAIMER #2 – The amazon links above are affiliate links, which mean I earn a few pennies for any transactions you make on Amazon after following those links. Any little bit helps keep the lights on over here with my now-tiny operation, so I appreciate your clicks and purchases very much.