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What Am I Going to Weave Next? Or; Choosing Your Next Project.
Article © MAIL User: Galileo

For me, the decision is made by what rings I decide I want to work with next. I typically use 20 gauge (for this discussion, 20g is .030 inches) rings for jewelry and 16 gauge (.062-.063 inches) for armour.

So, I look over my rings and see what looks appealing. Today, I’m looking at jewelry pieces. Now we have the wire size (20g), what is a good ring size? For 20g, I like 5/32” (.156”) at the largest (depending on wire material) and 3/32” (.094”) at the smallest, depending on the weave I choose, of course.

My personal preferences on materials – I really enjoy working with sterling silver, titanium, stainless steel, bronze (phosphorous, silicon, and low-fuming welding) and enameled copper.

Weaves are all a matter of personal preference. I like to have a good mix of weaves in my “stock” of jewelry (bag full of bracelets and necklaces) just in case someone wants to see my abilities and commission something. I rarely make something of a straight weave (all Byzantine, all HP-3, etc.) but favor mixing weaves together or altering a weave slightly (mix ring sizes or something like that) for a different look.

How do you make your creation unique to you? Color, metal mixing, and “extras”.

These two colors don’t go together.
They may, they may not. Try it. I’ve put two colors together that do not correspond, yet look good together because of the sharp contrast (Neon pink enameled copper and black stainless, for example). Other colors only look good together because of a third color which is a “half-way color” (i.e. Blue and Red with a Purple “halfway color” thrown in to bring everything together). Mix and match, try different colors out, even if you happen to loathe a color (neon pink, in my case).

Mix the metals for different appearances. Stainless steel, titanium, and sterling silver all lend themselves particularly well to this use. Want some color with your stainless? Use bronze or enameled copper for enhancements. How about something with just gray-shades? Try titanium, stainless, and sterling. Don’t be afraid to mix metals together. One anklet I made was using 3 bronze alloys and stainless. I made all the rings 1/8”, then mixed them all in a pile, then started weaving HP-3 with whatever ring my hand grabbed next. A very mixed piece, but well received by its new owner. Some of my most popular pieces are very simple designs with metal variations for effect.

Extras are danglies, odd bits of stuff built into a weave, maille that isn’t structurally important to your piece, but still part of your creation.

Beads are the most common, and can greatly enhance your project. Beads can be “captive” in the weave or dangle off the chain with a head pin. Look at the bead and decide whether the color will enhance your project or not. Use at your own discretion, it’s your artistic flair coming out.

Other danglies can come from an old pair of earrings (chop up and use the bit you want) an odd bit of metal or ceramic, a dangling clasp (as in, not used for connecting the chain together) or even an old button or brooch. While out walking around on the sidewalks, keep an eye out for odd bits that have fallen to the wayside and ignored. You may be able to use it (if you pick something up off the street, wash it before use to get the dirt and grime off it).

Simple 1-1 chains make GREAT danglies too, especially if they are a contrasting color. Remember, if you aren’t sure how something will look, try it. Maille has this great re-usability factor – if you don’t like something, take it back off – no loss.

So sit back and just try stuff. Don’t like how something is coming out? I’ve started a lot of projects and then decided I didn’t like the effect. Salvage the rings and go on to something else. This is art, not everything will be a masterpiece.

Keep weaving and trying different things, and post the results in the gallery for all of us to see. You may find a few people wanting to copy something you did.

Have fun.
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