Creative Chain Mail Jewelry features over 25 chain mail projects from Bead&Button and Art Jewelry magazines. This book is organized from easy to challenging, and jewelry makers of all skill levels will find many appealing projects to choose from. The projects employ a broad assortment of jump rings, traditional techniques and other materials to achieve modern looks. Easy projects focus on opening and closing jump rings, stringing and crimping, while a more advanced project requires soldering . The book is organized from easy to challenging for progressive practice.
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Author: From Bead&Button magazine
Softcover; 8 1/4 x 10 3/4; 96 pages; 250 color photos; ISBN: 9780871164216
Bicycle chain bracelet
Chain mail watchband
Rings of color
All the hoopla
Link it up
Circular chain mail earrings
Tie the knot
Nestle jump rings between crystals
Graduating with honors
Onward & upward
Whip up a beautiful necklace
Jump ring flowers
2 quick earrings
Links to Atlantis
2 metals, 2 patterns
Don't fret-this bezel is easy
Craft a time-honored Heracles knot
This collection of chain mail themed jewelry really shows the diverse range of styles possible in a very old technique.
Maille, it's not just for fantasy fans anymore.
The introduction covers a lot of the basic tools and techniques you'll need to make the projects in the book. It starts by explaining a bit about the metal types and characteristics that make the jump rings. Then explains more about the wire sizes and shapes. Then it goes into a good overview of tools and basic jewelry making techniques.
Then into the projects. Because this is a collection of projects by different artists, there is a lot of variation. Some of them are perfect beginning projects that will offer fast gratification and basic skills. As you get comfortable, there are more challenging and time consuming projects.
The projects are very well photographed, frequently with colored rings so you can see exactly how they go together. They use many weaves. Since chain mail is one of those jewelry making techniques that is just perfect for bracelets, that's where it starts. Stacked jump rings make knot stations on a simple chain bracelet that would be lovely in an office or to wear casually.
Some of the pieces, like my personal favorite, the flat and elegant All the Hoopla necklace, are very contemporary and stylish. The Jump Rings Flowers earrings walk the line between contemporary and something that would be suitable for dressing up as a fantasy princess. Don't Fret, a bezeled guitar pick, is a perfect piece to make for a young man, or for a young man to make for himself if he's interested in chain mail.
There is enough silver and gold tone metals to satisfy the traditionalist and for people who like more color, there are pieces that made with colored finishes , glass rings and even rubber o-rings. As well as lots of beads to add color. Some of the pieces are designed specifically for art beads, to showcase that special piece of lampwork you got at a show, or even that you might have made yourself.
There are a couple projects that require torchwork, but the majority don't. You can do them with hand tools.
It's a wonderful book, one that I look forward to sharing with my son.
-Shala Kerrigan, BellaOnline
Chain mail or chain maille as I prefer to spell it, is definitely becoming really popular. There used to be such a dearth of books on it. Not any more.
The latest book I received from Kalmbach is Creative Chain Mail Jewelry, a compilation of nearly 30 projects from both Art Jewelry and Bead and Button magazines.
As the title suggests, it is an inspirational book merging together ideas of how to make chain maille more colorful and fun to do. The addition of beads, colored and rubber rings and some simple wire work goes a long way.
Shown here are some of the projects from the book. The pdf preview and index has bigger pictures.
There is a good range of projects to suit different skill levels. The knot bracelet for instance, can be tackled by beginners.
The selection of projects also covered variations using popular weaves. For example, if you like shaggy loops, they've included it in the ruffled earrings project.
Experienced chain maille enthusiasts might find some of the simpler projects unremarkable. However, there are lovely inspirational gems like the asymmetrical necklace. Or the technically challenging one like the Heracles knot necklace which is a combination of soldered Heracles (Hercules or love) knots and short Byzantine links.
One of my favorites from the book is John Wik's clever bezel. He not only incorporated the cord into the design but the "gem" is a guitar pick! Another was Miachelle DePiano's tubular chain maille necklace where she converted a flat European weave into a 3D one!
Often the hardest part about doing chain maille is the start. So I was delighted with the tip in one of the projects which uses sticky tape and a mandrel to hold the beginning rings in place. Brilliant!
I suspect utter beginners will struggle with some of the directions as chain maille is harder to learn from a book format. Also bear in mind there is usually more than one way to start a weave so what is shown in a particular project may not be the easiest way. I found there just weren't enough pictures to properly illustrate the method of starting a Full Persian weave using a pin in one project but it was clearer in another using short lengths of wire.
Overall, if you had a go with chain maille before and are looking for more ideas, then this book should be on your list.