TAG | chainmaille belt

It’s humpday for our “Show Off Your Maille” week and today we have show-offs in the form of chainmaille expert, customer care specialist and weaving assistant Dan Rychtarik as well as our fearless leader, Rebeca Mojica (modeling pieces she created as well as showing off a piece she purchased from Kat Wisniewski.)

Don’t forget, you can participate in our week of increasing awareness and appreciation for the craft we love so much by posting pics of the chainmaille pieces you’re wearing today on our page on Facebook

Above: Dan Rychtarik sporting his maille.  See more of his work on the When Rings Dream page on Facebook.

Above: Rebeca Mojica showing off her chainmaille belt.  See more of Rebeca’s work at Rebeca Mojica Jewelry.  The center image shows: “Coiled Butterfly Cuff” (left) by Rebeca and an “Akimbo” bracelet (right) by Kat Wisniewski of Elemental Art Jewelry.

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May/12

4

A Decade of Chainmaille

Ten years ago, on this day, I made my first piece of chainmaille.  *squee!*  At that time, I didn’t realize that my life would never be the same. I certainly didn’t imagine I would be where I am today.  It’s been an amazing journey, and I’ve learned so much from my students, customers, co-workers and fellow chainmaillers.

Here’s a little glimpse into how I fell down the rabbit hole 10 years ago:

I’d fallen in love with a chainmaille belt I saw someone wearing at a Renaissance Faire in Germany.  I couldn’t find any to purchase that I’d liked, either there, nor when I returned home. But I did find an eBay listing for “1,000+ rings! Make your own chain mail!“  I figured I didn’t have anything to lose, so I bought the rings.  They turned out to be 16ga galvanized steel.  Oy.  I am lucky those rings didn’t scare me away, but instead, somehow caused me to fall in love with this artform.

Euro 4-in-1 chainmail belt

The very first piece of maille I made. I didn't follow any instructions; my fingers just instinctively knew what to do. My technique and speed, however, were a different story. ;-)

 

galvanized steel chainmaille

I had enough rings leftover to make a second belt. This one hasn't survived as well as the first one; somehow parts of it were cannibalized for other projects during the early parts of my mailling career.

making chainmaille with unusual tools

With no proper pliers around, I improvised. Yep, the desire to create maille out of that first pack of jump rings was too great. I couldn't wait to get started, so I used these li'l guys!

 

poor closures in chainmaille

Oy. I cringe looking at my first closures and non saw-cut rings.

 

20ga dragonscale chainmaille

Typical chainmaille insanity: I taught myself Dragonscale about 2 1/2 months after I started making maille, using, of course, 20ga rings! This is I20 SSTL with D20 ALUM/COPP — 20ga 13/64" (5.2 mm) stainless steel with 20ga 1/8 (3.2 mm) aluminum and copper.

 

Over the past 10 years, I’ve seen the industry really blossom. Maille seems to be everywhere these days, and there are some fiercely talented folks out there. I’ve seen some chainmaille artists, and even several suppliers, come and go (*sniff*). I’ve watched the number of known weaves documented on M.A.I.L. soar from 200(ish) to more than 1,100. I’ve spent more than 1,000 hours teaching thousands of students how to make maille.  And I gotta say – I still love what I do every bit as much as I loved making that first belt.

Thank you to everyone who’s helped me along the way: artists who’ve taught and/or inspired me, and stores and galleries who took a chance on a new artist/instructor—including Spider, Maillemaster, Emerald Dragon, Buddha, Zlosk, Sarah Chapman, Caravan Beads, Lillstreet Art Center, Aesthetic Eye — the Chicago Craft Mafia, the talented and hard-working crew of anyone who’s ever worked for B3, every single customer and student we’ve had, and many others. I am eternally grateful.

For more of my early work, see the post celebrating my 8-year anniversary of making maille.

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