Chainmaille. The stuff of knights and legends. King Arthur and dragons. Frodo and Jon Snow. You get the idea. My name is Karen and I weave with metal. In a previous life, I was a medical social worker in New York and worked primarily with terminal cancer patients and their families. A heavy job but a rewarding one. Fast forward to moving to New Jersey and getting pregnant all around the same time! Stay at home mom-dom allowed me to find time to get my inner craft girl on. After manifesting in different mediums one day I learned how to make a byzantine bracelet. Angels began to sing, the sun peered out of the clouds and I knew I found what I wanted to do. I researched, I learned a lot about the history of chainmaille and now I bring that to you in the form of wearable art.
Centuries ago, men would wear mesh garments, woven of steel rings, to protect themselves when going off to battle. Today, Shinyhappydangles, takes these patterns and techniques (we are talking legit OLD patterns, like 1270 Japan or Europe in the Middle Ages) to replicate patterns and turn them into jewelry. There are maille artisans who still make actual suits of armor (30,000 plus rings can go in to just 1 shirt!). What I have come to love about this art form is the endless possibilities. Little circles (aluminum jump rings) come in many colors and wire gauges and sizes so the amount of things you can make and do seems to be infinite. I’m up for the challenge.
I know one thing is for sure: I miss my pliers when I’m not making stuff and I wake up in the
morning thinking about what I’m going to create that day. I love seeing the look on someone’s
face when I explain that, yes, I did open and close every single ring to make the pattern they are looking at and I enjoyed every minute of it. I love being in stores and hearing from my customers that they saw my pieces at a local boutique. What REALLY makes my day though is in-person shows where I can live-weave at my table and converse with customers as they come into the booth. I’m excited about adding dates with Marketspace Vendor Events to my calendar this year! Shinyhappydangles. A little history. A little bling. Love in every link.