Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hip To Be Square

I am always on the lookout to incorporate unique materials in my work not only to expand my skill level but also to give an updated look to chainmaille as people know it. One of the newer trends among chainmaillers is to use rings that are made of square wire. These are a little bit tougher to work with sometimes, because even when they are the same size as round wire rings they don't always work for the same patterns that "normal" rings can be used for.

As an example - One of my favorite patterns to make is a dodecahedron ball ( I call them my "Porcupine Balls"). It looks like this -

 When I tried to create the same thing with the square wire rings I was using, even though the size was similar, the pattern was not coming together properly. I almost got discouraged that I'd have to take it all apart and start over, but then something about the shape got my brain moving. The rings were stiff enough to keep the pearl inside captive, so I thought it would work out well as a ring design. I attached it to a simple mesh band and here's what it turned out like:

It's not scratchy like you might think from the edges. The mesh has loosened up a little bit, but that is normal for most rings. I wore it a few days in a row and it was quite a conversation piece! It makes me think of a geodesic dome, like at epcot or an observation center. It's very sci-fi in my opinion.

The reason I bought the square rings in the first place was actually for a custom order - The request was for a stainless steel byzantine bracelet in a heavy gauge. It was going to be a Christmas gift for a man. I am not a fan of working with heavy gauge stainless steel. Rather than turn the customer away, I made the suggestion for the square rings and it was accepted. Here it is:

I'm happy with how my experimenting has turned out lately. I'm working on some modifications of the ring design, and I have some smaller sized square rings that I'll be using for other projects as well. The square rings may be a new favorite of mine - they give the pieces more of a modern edge, which is what I gear my style towards. Stay tuned and I'll be sharing even more fun developments with you.

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