Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Maille on the Brain, Maille on the Brain...*sung to tune of Pants on the Ground*

My wonderful brother, who has gifted me with more useful things than anyone I know, recently ordered me a pair of Eurotool Ultra Ergo Pliers from Blue Buddha Boutique, where I got my lovely aluminium and stainless steel rings. I made the mistake of wrecking my current wire-work pliers while trying to work with the stainless steel rings, and I figured it was time to get proper chainmaille tools if I was going to be weaving maille for a while (and since I seem to default to that, it may just be my Fatal Fascination.)

Well, they arrived, and I've been going bananas with 'em since. They are absolutely -wonderful-, and they stand up to 16ga stainless steel rings beautifully! I never knew what a difference good tools could make - sort of stupid admission there, coming from a chainmailler-in-training, but since they're not available here, I've never had a chance to work with them.

The results of my labours, in between choir competition rehearsals and teaching, are as follows. Yes, the stainless steel rings gap a bit; I'm still working on being strong enough to close them entirely and I'm aware it might be considered shoddy work amongst proper chainmaillers and elite of the elite. So if there are complaints on that score, yes, I know it already, and I invite you to try working with 16ga or 18ga 6.4mm stainless steel rings or any form of low-gauge stainless steel if you haven't done so before. Then come and bitch at me.

(If it seems like I'm constantly doing disclaimers, well, it's because I'm fed-up of back-biting and sniping and people thinking I might be trying to cheat buyers with such bad craftsmanship. If I don't think it's good enough, I don't sell it. End of story.)

Moon in a Barrel Earrings: Barrel weave, 18ga 5.6mm stainless steel.

Rebeca of Blue Buddha Boutique has a design called Crescent Earrings. Since the finishing rings of my barrel-weave pair were inspired by her design (and they do look like a crescent moon, the two different sized rings put together!) I've named the design 'Moon in a Barrel' as homage.

Pink and Indigo Blues: Barrel weave, 18ga 6.4mm stainless steel, 18ga 6.4mm anodized aluminium, 19ga stainless steel hand-hammered clasp

This particular mix of anodized aluminium is called 'Berry', but it didn't look very berry-like after it was all woven up with stainless steel. The name's the result of deciding Indigo Blues didn't quite cover that startling pink in the bracelet; it's rather lame I know but I didn't have any better ideas.

Candy Stripe Earrings: Barrel weave, 20ga 3.2mm stainless steel and anodized aluminium, glass beads

Why yes, I've been on a bit of a barrel weave kick, why do you ask? The AR (aspect ratio) of these little danglies didn't allow for a second anodized aluminium ring and while I wasn't too sure I liked it at first, they've grown on me steadily with a kind of old-fashioned candy charm. They looked like traffic lights until I added the glass bead. Then they started looking more like candy stripes, so Candy Stripe Earrings they became.

I'd also finished a necklace with a Japanese flower and chainmaille centrepiece a'la the chainmaille edition of Wirework Magazine, but I forgot about it, until it was too dark to photograph. End of this week perhaps, when I finish with the insanity of the Malaysian Choral Eisteddfod, for which I'll be teaching alto sectionals for the next few days. In the meantime, I'll probably throw up some pictures of some older projects that should've been up, but which got neglected due to life and other madnesses.

Fascinating Chainmaille, oh won't you stop picking on me!