Wednesday, December 5, 2012

In My Studio - A Book and Kit Review

Happy Wednesday,

Book Review

I really enjoy learning something new, whether it be a technique, or information about a new material, or a new artist.  Today I would like share a review on Rebecca Mojica's book Chained.  If you are unfamiliar with her name, she is the owner of Blue Buddha Boutique, one of the web's and Chicago's premiere Chainmaille and Supplies Store.  I also purchased a kit and instructions last month and received them yesterday morning.  Links to the book, site, and materials can be found at the end of this post.

Although the book is not new, I looked forward to it with high expectation of honing my skills and acquiring new patterns.  This woman can link a jump ring!  I opened with book with great anticipation, only to find to my dismay, that not only did I know the weaves illustrated, and some of the patterns and variations I had already figured out on my own simply playing around.  Well bummer! Thought I.

However, as I read from cover to cover (yes, I read the whole thing in a sitting),  I discovered that this is a fabulous book for beginners or those that might like to venture into the variations of the weaves as a challenge for intermediate or advanced maillers.

Her explanation on jump rings, opening, closing them, and pliers position, is simply the best I have ever read, and I have read a lot of chainmaille books!  Believe it or not there are a few out there, not all good.  The pictures are clear and well done, some of the text is not well thought out as it is very light and extremely hard to read on occasion, but that could also be a factor of my age.  The projects are pretty and presented in a straight forward manner that is easy to understand, jargon and terms are used, but also explained in such a way that it is easily picked up.  Best of all included in the Glossary / Index is a an conversion chart and a chart of all the ring sizes used in the book's projects.  You may also purchase the exact materials if you so choose from the shop, so your project will look exactly like the book's when finished.

If you are thinking about venturing into maille for a hobby or you would like to hone those skills, I highly recommend Chained.

Kit Review - The project below is not in the book and sold separately.

Celtic Star Kit - Blue Buddha Boutique

Celtic Star Pendant Kit

I did not spin and cut these rings myself.  This beautiful piece, although hand woven, is purchased as a pre-assembled kit that you can purchase in any number of colors.  The instructions for the weaves are also sold separately from the kits, so keep that in mind when ordering.  I ordered my kit in the colorway "Sky".

The instructions are well written, clear, concise, and easy to follow.  Accompanied by step by step color pictures to help you as you weave the pattern.  The project is simple and went fairly quickly.   Incidentals like a bail and sample rings were enclosed as well, a nice addition.  There are also several blank stars on the instruction sheet which you can color with pencils to design your pallet before re-ordering or ordering your project's materials. 

However; I was disappointed to find that the kit was not complete.  Perhaps this was an over site, but the finishing or "tiny" rings that the instructions called for were not included with the kit.  Rats!  I substituted my own silver plated rings which sort of match the Aluminum ones from kit, not a biggie, but kind of a drag.

The jump rings in the kit are lovely, the colors are deep, bright and the kit allows for some designing of your own.   I would suggest ordering the three colors option in all the same color or pallet.  The kit is packaged to allow you create one Star in the color they have given you the most of.  The "Large" silver aluminum rings are 16 gauge and they fight back!  Good pliers are definitely required for making this piece.

Although the kit includes about 200 rings total, there is enough to make two stars, had they included two more "Large" rings, I could have made a third.  This leaves you extra rings to do something else with, but what?  Not quite enough to make a complete piece, but enough that if you mess up, you don't have to worry about extra material, which is nice.

Dark Blue Inner / Outer Color

Teal Inner / Outer Color

Blue Buddha Boutique 

As many of you know, I have a thing about making things smaller.  I am currently attempting to find a proper AR that will allow me to make this piece in Micro Maille.  Currently these pieces measure 1-1/4" at widest point.

Thank you for stopping by and having a read.  Congratulate yourself and have a cup of coffee and a cookie, you made it to the end of the post.

The Alchemists Vessel would like to wish you a pleasant day.

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