Chain-mail

Craft, it’s not just about fibres, paper and glue, but also indulges in the hard stuff.  Metals that have been beaten into panels, rolled into sheets extruded into wires and drops of solder to hold stuff together.  This post is a product of wire, consecutive loops conjoined to form chain mail that can be presented as adornment or battle dress. You probably could use #8 fencing wire if you wanted to make a colloquial statement.  Wearable Arts ideas anyone?
So break out your pliers and try your hand at a technique over 2000 years old.

Sources on library shelves vary from the practical instruction manual to visual inspiration and ideas for utilising other media.   Anticraft : knitting, beading, and stitching for the slightly sinisteroffers clear instructions in chain-mail creation.  The instructions in the back of the book can be adapted for any form you choose to assemble.
The authors have also posted more information online about chain-mail.

Chain mail jewelry is on order, so get your reserve in and be the new kid on the block with chain mail creations.   This book offers techniques and designs for links, which brings us neatly to the next book title: Links.  These techniques might be incorporated in something you’re creating that evokes the days of yore.  In fact the name chainmail dates back to the gothic revival of the Victorian era (thank you Wikipedia).

If you want some visual inspiration for a revival of your own there are some great resources to dip your senses in. The Medieval World Complete.   Another great source of visual kicks is Princely Feasts and Festivals; this portrayal of mind blowing  extravagance is worth a peek.
Often the look of an item, the visual impact doses the viewer with a package of era specific resonance.  Stage costuming often relies on audience perception rather than dutiful replication.  Piecework magazine, the January/February 2010 ‘Historical Knitting Issue’ has an article on knitting for the stage which includes a pattern for a short chain-mail hood or coif.  There’s more info on theatrical costuming and other chain-mail creations through our Ebsco databases: MasterFILE Premier.  Searching with the keywords “chain mail” brings up links to articles on mesh purses from the 1800’s to 1960’s iconic dresses.

Let us know if these ideas inspire you or if you’ve found other sources through the library for chain mail or other metal crafting. Ever seen those suitcases made from re-purposed cans?…They’re clever!