Chainmail

In April I finally got a chance to do something I’ve always wanted to do: learn how to make chainmail*.

For most all of my life I’ve had a fascination with warriors and particularly the warrior girl/ warrior woman archetype. Some day I will have my own suit of armor! Unfortunately, for all kinds of logical and rational reasons, that day is not today. However when that day comes, I can now make the chainmail portion myself if I wish!

Actually, chaimail is a bit more than just that. Historically, it played a significant role in warfare and the survival of battle participants including dogs and horses as well as humans. It’s also the grandfather of Kevlar and other kinds of modern day body armor used by military and police.

And it’s awesome.

Tiny rings of hard metal woven together into something fluid and as flexible as cloth. Little insignificant round bits that are worth next to nothing alone become strong and beautiful together. There is something a little magical about it. There are tons of different kinds of chainmail and all are based on the small jumpring; a little link of metal.

When people think of chaimail, they usually picture something they’ve seen in a movie. Think Lord of the Rings, Kingdom of Heaven, A Knight’s Tale, or even Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Usually (though not always) this is traditional European 4 in 1 mail. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg!

These are images of things I’ve made. On the whole, it’s jewelry and I’ve really enjoyed making it. There’s even a little bit of scale mail! By far my favorite piece is the dog collar! Doesn’t she look like a regal little warrior girl? I’ve even opened an etsy shop which can be found here.

The thing I like the best about the chaimail is it’s interdependence. That’s its strength. Remember that old saying about how a chain is only as strong as its weakest link? For the most part, that’s not true for chaimail. With so many rings linked, no single ring holds the piece together. There’s always a back up link. They always work as a team and so the strength of the piece is greater than the sum of its parts.

The guy who taught the class I took at the Jackson County Green Energy Park was Brock Martin. Brock is a blacksmith and all around awesome person with infinite patience even with people like me. He owns WarFire Forge and makes amazing things! If you’re interested, there are often chainmail classes at the larger craft stores like Michaels or A C Moore and a search on their sites will point you to classes in your area. Also CG Maille and Maille Artisans International League are both full of great information and The Ring Lord is the best place on earth to buy supplies.

*Or you could say chain mail or chainmaille. It’s all the same thing, just different spellings.

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3 thoughts on “Chainmail

  1. Pingback: Every Day Is The Start Of Something Beautiful « Life in a Mountain Town

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