Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Book Review: Unconventional Chain Mail Jewelry
What I love most about Unconventional Chain Mail Jewelry by Laura Poplin is that it is different than any other chainmaille book I have seen in a long time. Or perhaps ever. Poplin takes five basic weaves and constructs the weaves in new and unusual ways, combining with metal and/or leather. This means her chainmaille looks nothing like anybody else's. This gets my wheels turning on how I can do the same thing with different weaves, or using materials and shapes that I prefer to work with. It's actually very exciting. So while this book teaches specific projects, it also increases the creative thought process and to think outside the box with chainmaille. I can hardly wait to try adding metal bits to my maille.
The nuts and bolts: The first 30 pages or so are dedicated to "the basics": chainmaille basics, metalwork basics, wirework and beading basics, and leatherwork basics. I am actually tempted to go out and buy what I need to try my hand at dying leather using the simple instructions included here.
The next 70 or so pages contain 21 projects using the Euro 4-in-1, the "Oops" (which I've never heard of before), Byzantine, Chrysanthemum, and Japanese weaves. Personally, I love about half the projects. A few were so so. And some I really just don't care for. However, that is a personal aesthetics thing. I like my chainmaille to look structural and to keep its shape. Some of these projects the chainmaille hangs kind of floppy looking so you can barely see what the weave looks like and that doesn't appeal to me...mainly because if I am going to do the work involved with weaving 100's of jump rings, I want to see that work. If it's hanging all floppy like, might as well use regular chain.
Photos are gorgeous and easy to see the steps.
Editing Pet peeve: It really annoys me when the term chain mail is used and not chainmaille. Chain mail is that annoying letter people send on to 8 of their friends for fear something horrible will happen if they break the chain. Based on the consistency to use "chain mail" in the books I've received from Kalmbach over the last couple years, it's probably an editorial decision.
Disclosure: This book was provided free of charge by Kalmbach for my review. No other goods or fees were received. The opinion expressed is my own honest opinion.