Monday, September 04, 2006

more chain

Two more of the chains that I played with in July. This is a copper spiral rope chain. It's a beautiful chain, but it is frustrating that you have to make one connected in a continuous loop (like Mary Ann Barnhart's necklace at DUUF last Sunday) for it to hold its shape. Given its druthers, it relaxes into a form that is a very subtle spiral, instead of the clear flat ribbon twist seen here. Actually, the relaxed form is the spiral of a Jens Pind chain, except a proper Jens Pind is done with such fat, small-aspect-ratio links that the chain is locked into its spiral.

I'm probably going to take this one apart to recycle its 16 gauge bronze links. It's an exploration of combining byzantine and flower chain, and it has a definite pattern, but it seems overall kind of busy and florid and unclear. This was one of the very first chains I made this summer; I was working on it at the lake when Amy was here in June. I think I've learned some since then, and can find better uses for these rings.

The lovely high shine on those bronze rings is basically tumbling. I really see why folks on the forum rave about it. This isn't even machine tumbling. It's put-chain-in-a-jar-with-BBs-and-shake-for-30-minutes tumbling. I had no idea it would be so effective. Load jar, walk to public library shaking jar in rhythm to steps, check out books, return, decant beautiful chain!

a fair collar

Probably the most impressive piece of maille I have made in the last couple of months is this copper collar. It's about two inches wide, made of 350 or so rings of 16 gauge copper a little over 5/16" ID. At the inner edge are two rows of smaller sterling links as accents. The smallest row, of 20 gauge silver, serves to keep the inner copper row from flopping around.

I learned "speed-weaving" European 4-in-1 on this piece, that is, weaving with one open and one closed ring added at the same time. I also learned to do expansions by hanging an extra ring off the center of a ring above it, between the two "eyes" where rings are normally added.

I mostly finished it early in August, except that I wanted silver for the accent links, not the "silver" craft wire that I had handy, and I couldn't find the spool. I had in mind entering it in the County Fair Creative Arts show, which I knew meant I had to have it ready on Thursday Aug. 18. The previous Saturday I took the morning that Ellen was working and zapped over to Plano to get soybeans at Whole Foods and wire at Texas Beads, but sadly Texas Beads was closed. However eventually I found a short bit of silver wire which was enough, and Thursday morning I worked like a beaver and got it fixed up. Now it's going to go into the Bach Society Oktoberfest Silent Auction, I think, with a minimum bid of $50.

Edit — later — after some preliminary chicken-feed bids by bidders who didn't understand about posted minimums, two bidders dueled up ten dollars, and the collar brought the Bach Society $60. More would have been nice, I figure it was worth twice as much, but it was the first year we'd been in that venue or had an auction, so it's a learning process to get the bugs out.