|Chainmaille components created for the Summer Pantone Bead Swap|
It's bead table Wednesday, and happily I've got chain maille on my table this week. It's my favorite jewelry making technique, and I include chain maille in jewelry designs as often as I can.
I can't get enough of it. I love the feel and look of jewelry made with intricately woven metals. It feels so similar to fine jewelry, and adds a strength and elegance. Most of all, I like how I can make everything myself -- right down to the jump rings! Jewel School's chain maille mandrel set designed by "The Chain Maille Lady" herself Lauren Andersen makes it easy to round up jump rings at any time.
It's amazing to me that simple rings can become this:
|Swarovski rivoli with Japanese Flower bezel (step by step wire)|
|Swarovski rivoli with Japanese flower bezel and double bubble/ Half-Persian 3-1chain|
I am making chain maille for my blue rosary, for Celtic jewelry, and for fun. And I'm considering creating some kind of chain maille charms for the Art Jewelry Elements Beads of Courage Charm Swap.
|On my bead table: the Beads of Courage "Laugh" bead :)|
If you are new to chainmaille, there are many excellent free tutorials to get you started. Jewelry Making Daily offers a free instant download e-book with three projects: love knot or rosette earrings by Denise Peck, and a foxtail chain (the Full Persian -- see above my Half Persian) and Vinyard bracelet by Sara Graham Richardson. You can get the free pdf file here.
|Brass byzantine links waiting to become jewelry.|
You'll also find free chain maille tutorials on the full Persian, byzantine chain, rosettes and more at Jewel School's project videos page. The chain maille video tutorials are taught by Lauren Andersen and Christiane Ross. Here are two simple earrings made from the same beginning level chain maille weave (see "Christiane's chainmaille" video for instructions). I used various components to create completely different styles of the same earrings, my first chain maille jewelry ever.
|Mystic hematite and pearls on burgundy handcrafted ear wires and chain maille.|
|Gold-tone crescent moons and discs on gold-filled leverbacks and gold plated copper wire.|
|Frida Kahlo lucite, copper, Swarovski crystal and bone chainmaille earrings.|
Likewise, the PBS series "Beads, Baubles and Jewels" has an amazing online collection of free tutorials featuring guest artists' projects, including many chain maille designs. Simply "join" their website for free, and start exploring. I'm currently in love with Andersen's "Sedona" sunset necklace, and after finding the most perfect orange and green agate beads, I'm so ready to create my version for Fall! You'll find the tutorial with projects for show 1502, "Semi-Precious Gems."
In this season of BBJ, Jewel School's Christian Ross presents Half-Persian 3-1 bezels, and I am proud to say I helped with the online BBJ tutorial! This special bezel can be used in many ways: attach discs or charms or beads to the links, create dangles and chains, or attach several cabs in a row for bracelets or necklaces.
|The Half-Persian 3-1 Bezel I created as "beta tester" for Ross' BBJ tutorial|
|Half-Persian 3-1 Bezel. I turned it "inside out" for a cool look.|
One last item on my bead table: the Holiday Bling Blog hop. My partner is gifted artist and co-host of the hop, Shelly Graham Turner, who said "the ball is in your court." What to create? Traditional Christmas jewelry, a theme of light for the Solstice, wreaths, wind chimes? After coming across friend Tina Holden's amazing "Window Ornament Exchange" blog hop from her Facebook group, I'm calling window ornaments! Check out the designs and creations -- they are all unique and gorgeous!
So, there you have it. My mid week bead table. What's on your bead table this week?
Big Hugs, TJ
Toltec Jewels is an author by day and jewelry artist by night. Her literary work is housed by the San Fransisco MOMA in a permanent collection of mixed media art and is published internationally in popular magazines, literary quarterlies, and university publications. She has won a number of awards for both her literary and jewelry art. A gemstone collector and jewelry lover, she is happiest making handcrafted jewelry with her entire family.
She is also the creator of Jewel School Friends, a community of expert and new jewelry artisans taking inspiration from each other and Jewel School. JSF features jewelry designers and bead artists, supports entrepreneurship for independent artisans. Join her at Jewel School Friends on Facebook for coupons, community, fundraisers, contests give-a-ways and of course, beautiful jewelry!