Intimidated by Chainmaille?

It has been suggested to me that people are intimidated by chainmaille, thinking it must be heavy and utilitarian, not a jewelry art. I would like to gently say ABSOLUTELY NOT.
Chainmaille (or chainmail, if you prefer) has grown far beyond the armor worn centuries ago. (Although some artisans make that kind of thing as well.) There are dozens of basic weave patterns, and hundreds of variations. Maille can be made with many materials, from gold and silver to copper and aluminum. Maille rings can be found in virtually any color you can imagine, and a skilled artist can combine colors and materials to produce unique items that will truly amaze.

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An example of the dense full Persian chain, done in pure copper. A dense chain like this is rather more masculine, although a woman can easily wear it as well.

Some women fear that maille will be too bulky or masculine, but this is simply not true. There are many maille weaves that produce a beautiful, delicate, intricate product that is just right for feminine wearers. Conversely, there are some weaves that provide a strong masculine feel, perfect for men who want to elevate their style. And there are plenty of weaves that are unisex, that is that they will complement any wearer.

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Parallel weave done with brass and green colored copper rings. Parallel weave is generally unisex.

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This tiny jens pins spiral weave in pink, with a crown charm, is obviously quite feminine.

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These half Persian bracelets are unisex as well, and their understated profile makes them perfect for the workplace.

Maille is, almost by definition, a very strong construct, and will stand up to anything you put it through. There are some delicate weaves that need special care, but even they are strong and unlikely to break.

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This variation of jens pind weave is an experiment gone right. It is chunky and fun, a bold statement piece.

I like chainmaille because it is always different. Each weave has a personality, and I am always discovering new ways to use these weaves for different effects. I love to combine colors and examine the interlocking rings as they form shapes.

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Another example of parallel weave, with a rainbow of connecting links. One of my favorite pieces ever; truly a joy to make.

Basically, whatever style or profile you are looking for, you can find it with chainmaille. Flat, round, thick, thin, delicate, or dense, your weave is out there. And available in any colors that you wish to use!

All items pictured above (along with many others) are available for purchase in my Etsy shop: merricontrari.etsy.com. Come browse and see what you have been missing.

(PS to all my loyal readers: I joined Instagram! My user name is merricontrari, of course. Come by and see what I’m up to!)

Workin like a dog

I’ve been working like crazy on my etsy shop. Learned several new weaves and made a bunch of stuff. Been working on posting them.
So far, a few looks but not much else. Feeling disheartened. Marketing is hard. Watch out, Pinterest, instagram, and twitter. Here I come…

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My favorite new item. Rainbow chainmaille in support of marriage equality. I had so much fun making these. Very satisfying.

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A special order.

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I made several of these adorable charm bracelets. And they are priced at what I consider to be “rock bottom.”

You know the drill: check it all out at my shop, merricontrari.etsy.com. SHELLS is my active coupon right now, for 15% off. :)

A Frenzy of Creativity

I have set a goal to exercise my creative muscles more often this year. Therefore, I’ve been spending more time with my bead boxes and pliers lately.

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These are the results just from yesterday!! I got into a serious groove for a couple hours.

I took brand new photos of most of my Etsy items, which you can view here at my shop. There’s chainmaille, there’s wire-wrapping, there’s even regular beaded stuff. Check it out! And rest assured that supporting my shop doesn’t just support me: every dime I take in gets spent at other Etsy shops!

A few baubles

Just dropping in to share some photos from my Faire costuming. I found these as I was sorting through a big pile of jewelry.

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Please forgive the poor lighting. Here you see a “rosary” which I am very unhappy with. The cross is broken and poorly fixed, from an old necklace.
The key is pretty simple, wrapped with a bit of wire and attached to a purchased chain. I actually wear this from time to time.
Likewise with this giant red pendant. I like the heavy chain it’s on as well.

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This was fun. I was going for a pirate look, as if I had gathered a dozen souvenirs from my adventures and strung them idly on some wire. The necklace itself is actually made with fishing tackle. The bits hanging around are a handful of random things like a pair of pretty wooden buttons, a dragonfly that broke off a hairpin, and other jewelry box detritus.
The tackle is a little uncomfortable, but I’m happy with the overall effect.

I’ve been making lots more stuff for my shop, and I’m excited to share them with you! If you’re looking for Valentines, look for a special themed shop section soon!!

Last Chance! With Special Bonus Discount!

Remember back in May when I had my big Grand Re-opening? Well, there’s a few items from that listing day that haven’t sold yet, and will be expiring soon if nobody buys them. I already have *PLANS* for some of them if they aren’t snapped up, so if you want ‘em, you better grab ‘em. I’m going to list and link them all here, for convenience.


These black matte birds will not be re-listed if they don’t go, mainly because they’re one of the ones I have plans for. They’re currently up for only 6 dollars.


These little babies probably will make a re-appearance if they expire. I love this particular shade of copper wire, especially with these large cream pearls. They are listed at 15$ right now. No promises about the future price, though.


I suspect that part of the reason this bracelet hasn’t gone yet is because it’s on the small side at just under 7 inches. If you or someone you love has small wrists, pop over and get this for only 15$. If it expires, I’ll be sizing it up and re-listing.


These Secret Cameo earrings have gotten quite a few looks and even a few favorites, but surprisingly are still living in my shop. There is a delicate cameo hidden under the black gem. I will most likely not be re-listing these (I want to keep them!). They’re a cheap gift for yourself or a friend at only 8$.


I have a pair of these for myself and they always get compliments. Snag this pair for only 7$ now, because I will not be re-listing this one!


These little babies are simple and delicate, and (I think) the cheapest thing in my shop at only 5$. These will not be re-listed as-is – I have an idea to improve them! So if you like this simplicity, grab it now before it’s gone!


There are two different colors available for these vampy chainmaille drop earrings. Grab them now and avoid the Halloween rush! These are listed for only 15$!


These chainmaille flowers are one of my favorite things to make. This listing is for made-to-order pairs, though. I think I’ll replace it with simple individual listings for the pairs I have on hand. I charge 15$ a pair for these.


I actually have two chainmaille watches available at the moment – this copper one as well as a dark silver one, found here. They are both approximately the same size and can be adjusted within some limitations if necessary. They are each listed for 45$, which is a bargain, I assure you. These will be back at some point, although not right away. Christmas is coming, people.


Another simple pair of earrings that gets little attention. Woodsy and delicate, these are another good gift idea, and they’re only 6 bucks! They will probably not be back.


Oh look, I accidentally uploaded a giganto picture of these. Lol. Anyway, these unique copper spiral earrings never fail to draw tons of attention and admiration. I have lots of plans for pairs of these in other colors, but these are the originals! Snag them for only 12 buckaroos (or commission a pair in your own preferred colors for approximately the same price)!


This may well be the only chance you have to own any Helm’s Weave from me. This weave looks amazing, but it gives me more trouble than my time is worth. I love this necklace though, and if someone doesn’t buy it, I’m keeping it!

Whew, there were actually more of those than I thought. Now I’m sad.
Did you see something you liked? I have good news for you! To help move these sad orphaned items out, I am offering a special discount code just for you!
From now until September first (actually midnight on August 31), use the code QUITE to get THIRTY PERCENT (that’s 30%) off your entire order in my shop! Now GO GO GO!

A little bit late – New Etsy Items for August

Having skipped July, there was no way I was going to skip listing new items this month. SIX new items went live on August 2, and now you’re going to get a peek at several of them at one time!
These are not all that I’ve got in my shop, so I encourage you to check it out and have a look at everything. If you see something you like, here’s a coupon code for you: SHELLS — this code will save you 15% off any purchase!
After you’ve shopped to your heart’s content at my shop, pay a visit to my good friend Kako! She and I partner up on our artistic ventures. Here’s her own post about this month’s listings, and this is her shop. I’ve got my eye on her Pretty in Pink earrings, so you gotta beat me to them!

Pink Ombre Wire Wrapped Triple Glass Pearl Earrings
This is one of two pair of lovely ombre earrings. This pair is white, pale pink, and raspberry, and the other is white, smoky grey, and charcoal. Each of the smooth glass pearls is hand-wrapped with silvery wire.
I was inspired to make these while I was prepping the materials for the tutorial event a few weeks ago. All of those lovely pearls together, I just couldn’t resist mixing up the colors.

Teal and Copper Wire Wrapped Glass Pearl Earrings

Here’s another inspiration from the tutorial event. One of the other women chose this color combination and I fell directly in love with it. I came right home that night and made these. These are just one pearl on each ear, but if you prefer the look of the double pearl earrings (like these new Plum ones, or these Charcoal ones), I am of course happy to create a custom item for you.

Bird's Nest necklace with caramel satin cord
If your neck is feeling bare and lonely, here’s a lovely bird family to keep it company. I fell in love with this little metal pendant a few months ago, but I felt sad for them that their nest was empty. I fixed that with a small egg-shaped iridescent bead and some glue. :) The cord is doubled over and fastens on the righthand side of the pendant, which makes it great for people who have dexterity problems – no blind fastening, and no need to get help!

Copper Japanese Flower Chainmaille Bracelet

Here’s my last new item for the month: my beloved flower maille, in a bracelet! This bracelet is made entirely of copper rings, woven together by hand. This particular one is made of 8 individual flowers, which may be a bit big. Check the item details on Etsy to learn more.
If you like my flower maille, you may be interested to know that I’m planning to stock a few different variations of it! Keep an eye out for them. I also currently have several other items made this way: a watch in dark silver as well as one in copper, earrings in many colors, and a fantastic triangular necklace!

That’s all I have for this month. But I’ve already completed some new items for September, and I have plans for many many new items as well.
Would you like a hint about what’s to come? Why not!
1 – the completed items are strongly tied to one of the most popular book series ever written.
2 – the planned items are all inspired by my recent costuming project.

:D Leave your guesses in the comments! Maybe I’ll have something special for you if you guess correctly. ;)

The Eye of the Storm: A Short Update

Hello, all! Just popping in real quick.
I had a TON of fun at the Pinterest party / Craft Social this weekend. Made some new friends, ate some good food, learned a new craft, and taught my first group tutorial! It took WAY longer than I expected it to, though, omg. I learned a lot about that as well. I really enjoyed doing it though! I was happy to find that I had virtually no nerves about it so it was just totally enjoyable.

Now that the craziness of the party is over, I’m free to look at the looming deadline.
But wait, you ask, I thought you were going to the Faire yesterday. Well, we WERE. And then we changed our minds. We decided to go full-on vacation. We bought a tent and we’re going to camp out Friday and Saturday nights near the Faire, and attend both days! Which of course means two costumes! I only needed to add a few pieces to the queue. :) I’m definitely going to make it, no problems. I’ll have an update about the costumes soon.

Hey, it’s almost August! And that means a LISTING DAY! I’ve been sooo incredibly busy that I haven’t been able to make a *whole* lot of new items, but I do have a chainmaille bracelet ready to go, and I’ve got a gorgeous pair of wire-wrapped ombre earrings on the way as well. I still need to take photos, so I’m not entirely sure that I’ll have the new listings up on the first, but my goal is to have them up by Friday.
Speaking of Listing Days, I’d like to let you know in advance that September’s listings are going to be super fun – HALLOWEEN! I’ve got an ambitious list of things to make for it and I hope you like them all. If you’ve got a request or suggestion – I’d love to hear them!

Another little tidbit of Etsy news: amid all this costuming frenzy, I’ve learned a few new techniques and I’m hoping to bring those new things to the shop. So keep your eyes peeled!

Okay, I’m out of here. I’ve gotta start cutting and basting a double-layered skirt!

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