Jewelry Journey, Chainmail Woes!

I have had a love hate relationship with jewelry making. Aka, I bought giant clunky pliers to do all the work, they were hard to work with, and I have been doing designs on and off for a year and a half or so. I still keep up with the trends and snizzy, and had a specific type of jewelry I wanted to make from the getgo. So of course, when I couldn’t figure out how to make the jewelry I wanted to make, I went to just doing the basics: Stringing beads onto beading wire, crimping the ends, and tah-dah! Pretty pieces that I get to say “I made that, wee!”. And yes, you do get compliments on that sort of stuff, and people do give you the ‘Oh!’ face and are impressed you made what you’re wearing, but as a creative person that really wasn’t doing it for me. Sure it was pretty, and sure it used some of what I originally wanted to work with, but it wasn’t challenging at all. Eventually, I got bored and stopped designing anything.

I still, and would still, look at jewelry making tutorials online. Youtube is a tutorial gold mine, as are jewelry making sites and Beading magazines. Well, eventually, I stumbled upon wire work – and whoa! I loved the concept. Getting to manipulate something to create a pretty piece of jewelry, with your hands? I’m so there! I adore anything tactile to do (call it a side affect of the blindness lol) and when I can, I put my hands on anything I’m working on. No matter how much I research, I just have to take that final step when I’m excited for something and buy all the materials and work on it, hands on.

So I did!

Forty dollars of wire and jump rings later, I Was deep in the trenches of wire work. Was practicing wire weaving, attempting wire crochet with very little success, and eventually made enough bangles to be like “Hrmmm, what else can I do with this? I thought I could make my own designs with these techniques, how lame!”

Give up, number 2!

Once again, it wasn’t what I was looking for in terms of designing my own jewelry. I had gotten into the ball park of what I had wanted to do, which was good, but still wasn’t doing much for my creative itches with this craft. Back to the drawing board once again for Valky!

I started talking to a friend about crafting. I think in passing, she mentioned she did chainmail. At first, I dismissed it as something I wanted to do because I had tried it a bit a few years back with an instructor, failed at it hardcore after about an hour of trying, and repressed the memory because shploooog it was so hard to do. When my friend said it wasn’t hard, I was like, “Well, I know more about making jewelry in general, so why not try it with what I know now?” bought some cheap jump rings and…

Shplooooog!!!

I had those stupid humongous pliers with these itty bitty rings and I just couldn’t grasp the jump rings to open and close them aaaarg! I had sworn off using jump rings, even in jewelry making – you can close things with head pins and wire and loops and screw chainmail I’ll buy chains if I really want to use one in a design!

“Valk, you need smaller pliers,” my friend says.
“There…are smaller pliers?”

I did the research (once again, with help from my friend) and herpaderp! I had crafting pliers for a year – way too big for anything I wanted to be doing. My loops were huge when I made them, things were hard to grasp, and overall my designing experience was horrible and I feel like that is in part why I gave up so quickly. But now hurray! I got smaller, jewelry pliers – the tips are great, nice and narrow – and now I have gone back to working on chainmail! Mainly because I need smaller gages of wire to do some wire work I want to do, and I have jump rings now. My progress?

I’ve been practicing an hour a day, and at first I wanted to give up. But I told myself – just practice an hour a day. No matter what your progress is the day before, an hour a day isn’t hard to put aside to practice, right? Right! It’s been 3 days now, and I am happy to say it’s been going decently well! I’ve been practicing opening and closing jump rings, then linking them. I went from having a four ring chain, to five in two days! Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s an accomplishment for me and I’ve found myself getting into a rhythm of opening, closing, linking, and closing again to make a chain. Now my next hurdle is uh, not having the chain-in-progress fly out of my hands when I’m trying to close a newly linked ring lolol. Overall though, I’ve been enjoying the process – both the good and bad parts of creating, and it gets me excited to try different wire techniques, and buying more tools! I want to get some mandrels for shaping wire, nylon jaw pliers, a hammer for shaping and texturing wire, wire wire wire…

So yeah, I am hooked on wire work, if that wasn’t apparent! I’m really happy with where I am on my jewelry journey, and am determined to start creating again. I want to buy supplies, materials, and all that jazz gradually so I can truly create what I have always wanted to – which I will talk about later! This post was just supposed to be about my chainmail adventure, woopsy.

What about you? Have you had any hobbies you’ve been determined to do well? Any you just did and didn’t find were for you? Leave a comment and talkity talk about it!

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