A Chainmaille Tribute to that ‘S’ word

Late last month, I got a rather urgent call from my SQO.  He was over at his Aunt’s place, and was going to be there a little while longer than planned, because they had to wait for the EMS.

His mother was visiting as well, and, upon exiting her car, she misplaced a foot.  The difference in elevation between the driveway and the lawn snagged an unwary victim, and she ended up falling out of her car.

Diagnosis:  she broke a hip.

Now, if we ‘age’ this wonderful lady by her attitude, I’d put her in the late teens.  She’s a fiery person in a chronologically-correct 80 year old shell.  So, with bones having spent that amount of time defying gravity’s pull, her doctors decided to replace the joint, rather than immobilize and let it heal naturally.

I had an opportunity to visit with her in the hospital…and made her a little something to brighten her room.

1

The flowers are sprouting ALL over my little corner of the Earth.  Winter is back in the coat closet 😀

 

Life’s Just Ducky

It was a good weekend here in the frozen wastelands of Wisconsin.

First…it wasn’t FROZEN.  Saturday, with the sunshine, lack of wind, and Mother Nature having a hot flash, we saw temps raise above 50.

It.  Was.  WARM.

So I did what any self-respecting Wisconsinite did.  I went for a walk, to enjoy this breath of non-frozen fresh air…because it ain’t gonna last.

I did a good 2 miles, and got to speak with a portion of the river I haven’t had the opportunity to visit with since it got cold.

Jan 2018 river

I also played with a new weave called Borealis. (The chainmaille ‘purists’ out there in the world call it ‘True Aura Sheet,’ but I don’t believe in being that formal.)  It’s a weave I’ve drooled over for quite a bit.  And, because it’s a weave with a good write-up on the M.A.I.L. site, but no formal tutorial, my earlier attempts have ended up in the ‘Well, THAT didn’t work’ pile more often than not.

Because I was soooooo excited to get this weave in my head and hands…I tossed out three pieces.

A medallion, which was the first piece.  This ended up rigid and slightly cupped, so expanding it out farther is probably not possible without the weave physically locking up (the pattern simply tightens down so far that you can no longer ‘insert ring A in position B’).  BUT – what it ends up as is tantalizing.  I can see colors turning this piece into a real head-turner.

borealis pendant

After the initial weaving produced this cupped, round form, I tried with slightly different rings…and came up with this:

Borealis sphere stand

As you can see, I went the wrong way – the rings used in this form curled rather aggressively, and I only did a single ‘strand’ of the stuff.  It was quite easy to stitch the two ends together seamlessly, though…and it makes a wonderful, rigid circle, perfect as a display stand for circular objects of all sizes.

Which leads me to my third object:

1st rubber ducky

It’s a Chainmaille RUBBER DUCKY!

I gotta admit – this one was FUN.  Sculptural forms in maille are really where I live and breathe.  Granted, the form still needs a bit of work.  The head isn’t attached to the crest of the duck seamlessly – I gotta fix that.  The duck’s bill isn’t completely solid in the form, I gotta fix that, too.  And…I really want to add color to this guy, which carries it’s own laundry-list of troubles.

But is a rubber ducky made out of little metal rings still a RUBBER ducky?  Or just a very RubberDucky-ish form?

Dude, Really?

 

A couple of weeks ago, I showed a picture of a little chainmaille fella I’d been working on, who accompanied the SQO on his trip to Texas.  He didn’t fare too well on the journey.  One of the beads fell out of his leg.

At least he didn’t leave his heart in Texas…

Now, by the time this little dude came back to me, damaged but still recognizable, he had a brother or 2 – as I employed chainmaille therepy to combat the separation.  Those guys aren’t going to lose any pieces any time soon, as they were upgrades in pattern and design from the little Dude who went traveling.

This weekend, I got the last few ring sizes I needed to finalize the overall design, and I’m happy with the result.

 

dude-assembled

Introducing:  The Dude – a whimsical little Maille Man design by yours truly.  He’s  entertaining the masses from his residence in my Etsy shop – available in both stock and customizable colors.  I even wrote a tutorial if you want to make a Dude of your own!

 

You want to know how a pile of rings and beads went from “I’m bored,” to “Look, I made something KEWL!”?  You got it…

Here’s the process behind ‘The Dude Project’

Step inside my mind…

***Creak***

***Dry Rustle***

***Wet Squishing***

Oops – you may want to watch where you walk – but don’t worry, a bit of cleanser and a stiff brush should save your shoes…

Never mind the piled junk in the corners or the graffiti painted on the walls.   The cauldron?  It’s boiling at the exact shade of purple it should be.  Don’t follow the trail of broken bracelet parts out the door  –  that’s the Dragon’s Trail, and you’re not fireproof!

And pay no attention to the long, stringy, slimy guys in the other room singing ‘Madness’ by Muse (a bit off key, I might add…)

They’re just ear worms…

Step up to my work table.  Yes…I know it looks like a big pile of papers and junk, but trust me…there’s a table under there…

See – right in the center of the pile of stuff?  The cell phone?  That’s the Muse Hotline…and lookie here… it’s RINGING…

 

muse-text-copy

At least they haven’t figured out emoji’s yet…

Soooo – let’s dig out some rings, and play…

dude-one

Dude #1  –   OK – round ring for the head.  Round ring for the body.  Paired chains suggesting arms & legs.  A way (ok…a bad way) to settle limbs in a manner which suggests they ARE limbs.  All in all – a very ROUGH proof-of-concept.

Problems:

  1. He looks like a deformed spiny/fuzzy fish mated with a human being…in maille.
  2. He has NO neck.  The head is loosely attached to the fuzzy/spiny body & he’ll get whiplash if a strong breeze comes along…
  3. Without more definition for those things coming off the center ring, he could be a squid, a sun, a malformed table…  The form needs to scream ARMS, LEGS, HEAD, TORSO.

 

dude-2

Dude #2   –   Fixed the spiny/fuzzy fish-man mating issue by building a short chain of FP 6 in 1 for the body. Form now resembles a stick figure…certainly a human-analog with the addition of ‘fingers’ and a neck.  Going in the right direction…but – gave him pants up to his armpits.

Problems:

  1. Body too skinny.  Need a quick & easy sheet-weave instead of a single-strand chain.
  2. Colored AA rings do not come in the 19ga 1/4″ rings used to capture 6mm pearls.  Closest common size is too big, as evidenced by this Dude’s trip to Texas, where he came back missing a bead, and common glass beads do not come in 7mm.  Will have to ditch the ring colors, working only in Stainless Steel and/or bronze/copper.
  3. Dude is bow-legged, and legs still have no defining characteristic.

 

dude-3

Dude #3  –   This torso is MUCH more pleasing, offering better positioning and flex in the legs & hips, while keeping the suggestion of a neck between the torso and the head ring.  Really BIG feet define human form legs, as well as solidly locking in those beads.

Problems:

Just need to work on a face.  The body feels complete, and the feet are adorable!

 

dude-3-5

 

Dude #4  –  Facial design prototype.

Face has suggestions of eyes, hair, and a mouth full of (?)teeth.

 

Problems:

 

  1. Face piece too small for the body.
  2. Face is IMPOSSIBLE to attach to the body without losing the teeth in the neck.
  3. Are they REALLY teeth – or just confusing stabilizing rings?

dude-4

 

Dude #5  –   Final.  Reconfigured the facial design using larger framing ring.  Lost the teeth, but gave him a hint of a smile with this final construction.

Dude project complete – and he’s a happy little guy.  Can add colors to the ‘hair’ rings for variety, as well as changing out the colors of the beads.

 

The Muses are pleased.  The Dudes are pleased.  And I have a new fiddly-toy thing to play with at work while I sit on hold…

 

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