First World Artist Problems

So…I had a thing happen on Etsy today.


I listed out my stainless steel dodecahedron July of 2016.  It languished on the site, got some views, some favorites, but never attracted a buyer.  I priced it higher than most of the goodies on my store for a couple of reasons.

  1. It’s 16 gauge stainless steel rings.  A LOT of them.
  2. Stainless is a right royal bitch to work with.  It fights (and sometimes BITES) back.
  3. It took several hours of hard work time.  It also spent some time languishing in the “what…how…am I doing this RIGHT???” project pile on a corner of my desk.  While there IS a tutorial on M.A.I.L., it’s one of the very scaled down ones, and didn’t offer much help besides: just study the form, it should be easy…
  4. It wasn’t.
  5. It was proceeded by older brothers who never really got past the ‘well, THAT didn’t work’ pile, and got deconstructed.
  6. It was the first time I EVER successfully completed a 3D form.


Early this morning, someone bought my ball.

I’m kinda on the fence with this one.  On one hand, I’m happy that someone appreciates sculptural forms enough to purchase one from me…but on the other hand….

it’s kinda like selling my first born.

Once I got over the sentiment, I wrapped him up in paper and a box, plastic on the outside of that box, more stuffing and a bigger box, which I then taped the living hell out of.  He’ll make it, as safely as I can make it, all the way to California.

I even hugged the box for good measure…

My toys travel farther than I do 😀


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?



This started as a little lark about a month ago.

Single Unit

The chainmaille form is called the Celtic Star.  Basically, it’s a short length of Celtic Visions (WHERE do we maillers come up with these weird names???) chain circled around to join with itself and all the outside frilly bits tied up nicely with additional rings.

Well, I attached a couple of these stars together.   And…meh.  Took that apart, and attached a different way.  That’s when the muse woke up.

Day 8

Why is there a voice in my head right at this very moment screaming “DUCK AND COVER!”?

See – the 4 flowery forms had attached in a configuration that was VERY familiar.

So I rather quickly built up 2 more stars, and put them in juuuuuust the right spots.

Half Ball


I had half a dodecahedron…my favorite little 12-sided Platonic Solid.

I liked this form so much, I immediately went out (well, in…as most of my jumpring suppliers are online) and got the right size rings in bright red and green.  I was making ornaments for the SQO’s family for Christmas.

Look pretty, no?

On Hook


Sheesh…am I writing about Chainmaille AGAIN?

I really can’t help it…I’ve had some interesting things come off the pliers lately, and I’m gonna share…


Chainmaille Dragon Final 2

When I completed the dragon tutorial, a couple of people in my chainiac group on the evil Book of Faces asked if there’d be a kit coming for this one.  A kit, for those not in the know, is when a jump-ring supplier offers a packet of rings in counts and sizes that were specifically put together for the tutorial at hand.

Sooooo – I reached out to a couple of suppliers I know offer kits for tutorials they don’t own.  Sadly, the answer was no.  The dragon is simply too complex a build, requiring 7 different ring sizes, as well as scales, beads, and wire.


Damn.  But the answer got my blood flowing for having a tutorial written that someone WOULD kit out.  It’s great for the chainmaille community as a whole, as it allows cross-support between the vendors and the designers, and gives new enthusiasts the chance to build some really cool things with rings they KNOW will work.


Pile o failHalf my design work ends up in the ‘well, THAT didn’t work’ bucket, awaiting deconstruction.  Or a new idea…

So I banged out a new pretty – simple (for me) design, and sat down to write out the how-to.

I’m calling this one the Mobyzan Heart, as it’s a mix of byzantine chain segments interrupted with mobius balls.  Cute, in’nt it?

Mobyzan cover 3

I have a favorable response this time – Metal Designz will be kitting out my work this time 😀





How to Chain Your Dragon


I did it…I got the tutorial done for my dragon design.

YEA, ME!!!!


It was a monster of a project – almost as monstrous as all the design work that went into the form.  I lost sight of the actual photo count by the time I finished (added a few last minute shots, dropped a few others) but I had 251 pixs edited and lined up by the time I’d finished the photo work phase.

The final page count for the tutorial is 79 – but most of that space is taken up by the pictures.  It ended up a HUGE file in my hard drive.

Now, I’m no stranger to writing (duh!).  I’ve done ‘how to’s’ for employers in the past as they attempted to document JUST how a certain job is performed.  The writing of those little guides were usually dry, cold, impersonal and boring as hell, because there were higher-up’s involved who wouldn’t know a humorous phrase if it came up off the page and bit their noses off.

When I started the dragon tutorial, this was how the writing ‘clicked,’ because that’s my past experience with guides…a very ‘business impersonal’ style.

Took me a moment to realize what I was doing – and scrap the first draft.  I didn’t need to impersonalize this work, because there were no higher-ups between me and the publishing button.  The ONLY thing that would stop me from inserting my personality into this work was ME.

Can you see me cackling madly at my keyboard, yet?

If you want to make a dragon of your very own – here’s the listing:

How to Chain Your Dragon (a tutorial)

And if you want a dragon withOUT all the mucking about with pliers and little metal rings – I’ll make one for you:

My Pet Dragon

Chainmaille Dragon Face close in




Art Abandonment Project – 7th Drop


Art Abandonment logo

The weekend of August 12, the kids and I took a little trip half-way across the state to Madison…the justification being a new bra.

Once we tried on all kinds of over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders and selected the ones we wanted – it was time for fun.

Not that bra shopping in an upscale boutique-y place isn’t fun when you get to embarrass the hell out of the lady assisting with the sizing, selection and trying-on of the things…but I digress.

I’ll admit, I’m a bit ‘coarse’ when discussing boobage.  ESPECIALLY my own.

We ended up on State Street.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Wisconsin’s Capital city – state street is the connecting street to the actual capital building and UWM’s campus.  It’s filled to the brim with an eclectic offering of tiny mom&pop shops:  eateries, bars, glasswares, clothing, artistic gifts, metaphysical stuff…etc.

It’s also interspersed with an amazing number of very well thought out urban ‘chill’ spaces – fountains, greenery, water amusements, seating areas, and the like.

Because Madison has taken such care in creating an attractive space around the actual Government building(s), State street is a magnet for a very interesting class of people.

To put it bluntly – you get the hippies.

I don’t mean this in a negative way – I LOVE the hippy vibe – these are people who, in any day and age the tag has been affixed, go against the standardized social ‘grain’ of the time.  These are the thinkers, the dreamers, the rebels, and the artisans.

In short – my kind of people.

With such an eccentric gathering, how could I NOT bring along a few little artworks to abandon?


I picked a total of 5 pieces for this little trip – an offering of some of my best…and some forms that hadn’t been chosen for abandonment before this.

We’ll start with this little teashop on State Street.  The kids wanted something kinda sweet to drink, and I badly needed a bathroom – Sencha Tea Bar served to fulfill both functions.  I laughed so hard at the signage in their restroom, I HAD to leave an offering…so the multi-colored fin whirly was perched on the sign.  Although my little twiddle isn’t as beautiful as Beyonce – I hope whoever found the piece treasures it as much as I loved making it.

We then wandered down State Street in the direction of the college quad.  One of my favorite things about State Street is the mix of old & new.  Here…some ancient storefront architecture bracketed with modern high-rises.  Perfect if you need some bohemian foodstuffs 😀


Once we emerged into the quad – we found a gathering of flow artists…doing their thing to the beat of a small drum-circle.  I don’t know if you can really call 2 drummers a ‘circle’…but I was willing to just go with it.  Besides – the beats they performed were infectious – I couldn’t keep my feet still throughout the entire performance.

I managed to drop the dude and the inverted whirly in the quad – the dude ended up between the railings behind the drum circle, and the inverted whirly on one of the concrete seating areas surrounding the quad.


The kids spun things along with the group…after all, they’re flow artists and knew some of these people…and I wandered about the quad with my cell phone camera.





Art comes in many forms – this storm grate isn’t your standard piece of cast iron.  This kind of detail is what makes the State Street area something special to visit.  And look…I took a selfie of my feet 😀









You know I live in Wisconsin – we worship cows ALMOST as much as we worship beer.  I couldn’t help but snap up this little cutie.  She was quite intrigued by the flow artist spinning his hoop in the grass.












I don’t need to go to Europe to see a castle…we have one of our very own!






The last piece to be abandoned in the quad was the full Persian keychain.  This wasn’t my standard abandonment, however.  One of the flow artists was having a birthday.  The group stopped in the middle of their performance, and offered impromptu birthday wishes and a pretty green present.

As green was her favorite color…the FP keychain was just the thing – it had green scales attached.  S duly presented my little twiddle to her…and she ran over to give me the biggest hug I’d had in quite some time.

FP Keychain

We had 1 more stop to make.  Mimosa Books & Gifts on State Street is a familiar haunt for the kids – they offer a lot of metaphysical stuff, some Eastern-themed tchotchkes, and tumbled, carved and shaped mineral stones.

Lots of those.

I slipped my final whirly on a corner of the counter when we were checking out.

We then grabbed a bite at the Which-Wich.  I tell ya – their lettuce-wich’s are HUGE – and very keto friendly.

We then made our way back to the old cheap-jeep.

But first…

When a building demands a good goosing – who are we to disappoint?


And the last shot I’ve got from the Madison trip?  This little gem, spotted as we were getting into the car.


If there were ever any doubts about how Wisconsinites feel about their beer, their football team, and their major religion – I believe this photo has erased all of that – the only thing missing from the signage was an advertisement for bratwurst.  We worship hops, the Packers, grilled brats, and Christianity in this state (well, the majority do…I’m the weird one!) and in that order.



MOAR Chainmaille!

Just a quickie today…as I hear the pliers calling me even now.


I got to put the finishing touches on a couple of things.


Not content with JUST making cubes with the Shippo Tsunagi weave – I tried my hand at using a single long strand as a choker.  I think it turned out rather well.

Shippo Tsunagi Choker

A new conjure princess-choker also emerged:

Conjure E4-1 red and black

This is my first attempt at different colors in the European 4 in 1 weave, and I added that step in the weave I find so very fantastic.  Soon (as directed by purchases of colored rings) I see myself sitting down and crafting an inlay.

Lemme explain…

An inaly, as defined by the chainmaille community, is a simple sheet weave, usually E4-1, where a pattern is woven into the thing with different colored rings.  Some people out there are coming up with INSANELY detailed stuff:


And, maybe one day, I’ll be that detailed, too.  But for now – I think, once I’m ready to tackle a longer range project like an inlay, I’ll stick with something really simple.

Or maybe I’ll go back and finish the dragons…the gold guy still doesn’t have feet.