Monday, July 28, 2008

My Newest Chainmaille Design

I may be stuck in a rut, folks... I am fascinated with combining different metals!

Here is my newest chainmaille design -

Flowers, made up of copper, sterling silver, and 14k gold-filled rings, in 6 different sizes.

This pattern took about 2 weeks to design, with a lot of failed attempts along the way. Lots of opening and closing of hundreds and hundreds of rings...

I didn't think it was going to be that difficult, so I didn't even start photographing until about a week into the ordeal.

Part of the delay in development was due to my running out of suitable jump rings, and having to wait for the order to arrive.

Here is a photo from about 10 days into the process - the last failed attempt is at the top, and the final pattern is finally visible below it.


This close-up of my last 2 attempts shows that the flower is visible in the upper design, but just not well-enough developed to suit me.

Then, as I stared at it, (and contemplated the agony of disassembling it once again, opening all those rings...) inspiration struck. I created 2 more flower units, changing the size of one of the rings in the pattern, and reconnected the units by bringing all the rings on the sides together with one larger sterling ring, and the final pattern emerged.

I took apart the previous design (that's 90 minutes of my life I'll never get back!) and got busy assembling the floral units and building the bracelet.


But I still wasn't quite happy with it, and wanted more color in the juncture between the flowers. I spent about an hour attaching and removing rings, trying to figure out how to get a mixture of metals in those connections, and finally gave up and went to bed.

When I got up yesterday, I continued building the flower units and connecting them, and it suddenly hit me - I could connect the units with an even larger sterling silver ring, and nest a copper ring inside the large silver ring...

This worked perfectly, so I disassembled the bracelet, again, and reconnected all the units, and finished it off with this stunning hammered sterling silver toggle.

Then I counted the remaining rings to make sure I had enough for a pair of earrings, (didn't want to start something I couldn't finish!) and I just love the result. Now all that remains is to tumble them, to remove tool marks and harden the rings, and I'll be ready to list them on Etsy (if I can part with them!)

11 comments:

Treasures by Tina said...

That's absolutely incredible! And beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing the process with us. :)

mary jane said...

WOWOW!
you have to sell that for about $1000 for all the blood sweat and tears that went into it!
its stunning!
xo
mary jane

Sweet Freedom said...

Thanks, ladies!

Regal Beads said...

beautiful!

Sweet Freedom said...

Thanks, Kim!

manamoon said...

The design is fabulous - fantastic work!!

Sweet Freedom said...

Thank you Sharon!

Stockton said...

Thanks for sharing a bit of your process!

Sweet Freedom said...

You're so welcome! Thanks for visiting!

earmark said...

gorgeous piece! very stunning!

Sweet Freedom said...

Thanks, earmark!