We each have a medium that speaks to us.
For some, it is a new skein of yarn and the endless possibilities for how it could be manipulated with a pair of knitting needles. For others, it is the feel of a camera in their hands, ready to capture the sights around them. For me, it is a pile of jump rings, just begging to be linked together.
For as long as I can remember, I have dabbled in jewelry making, but it wasn’t until I discovered the art of chainmaille and weaving together hundreds of tiny rings that I knew I had found my craft.
My process of creating jewelry varies, but it always includes a pile of jump rings. Often times it begins in a local bead shop, where I can spend hours perusing the trays upon trays of beads, letting my mind wander and imagining how I could incorporate them into my chainmaille. When I get home, I put the beads into little glass jars so that they are easily visible and ready for when inspiration hits.
Sometimes I have a design already in my head and I know exactly what I want to create. More often, I choose some beads from my collection and start to from a sense of what I might want to do with them. Usually it is a vague idea that comes to fruition as I start to work, somewhat like a word on the tip of your tongue that you finally pops into your head.
The inspiration for this piece came from these sparkling faceted beads and a pair of earrings I had already made with them. I wanted to create a bracelet that would make a beautiful complimentary piece, something that was feminine and fun and a little different.
I took a design from another bracelet I had already created and played around with it, experimenting to see how the beads would look interspersed between the chainmaille links.
My process sometimes involves taking designs apart and putting them back together, repositioning pieces if need be. Sometimes a design comes out exactly as I had imagined it, and other times the end result is nothing what I pictured in my head. Occasionally a design just will not work. But that is part of the process, and I will either fiddle around with it until I get it just right, or I move on to the next design idea.
As I work, I often try on what I am making, whether it be a necklace or a bracelet, to test to see if it is wearable, or if I need to make any adjustments. I only make things I would wear myself (and often times I want to keep what I made all for myself!).
If I am happy with the results, I will put on the finishing touches and try it on one last time (and sometimes model it for my husband, he’s such a good sport). It’s time to go make some more chainmaille!
Bev Feldman is the designer/maker/all-around mastermind behind Linkouture, modern and elegant handcrafted chainmaille jewelry. Her jewelry can be found on Etsy, as well as craft shows and select shops in the Boston area. You can read more about Bev’s musings on life and being a creative business owner on her blog. She would love to hear from you on Twitter or Facebook (and she also is a compulsive e-mail checker, though she is working on that).