Art on the Rocks: After Action Report 2015

I fly to Marquette MI every year for Art on the Rocks. So I've gotten pretty good at getting all of my stuff to arrive there with a minimum of 'fold, spindle or mutilate.'

Step One: Jewelry rack and tub-o-extras, which covers tablecloths, empty cashbox, necklace racks, and most all things that aren't jewelry.

These are put in a standard 'frame' box and a regular cuboid box respectively. Since they are already 'hardsided' objects, I need to worry a lot less about damage in transit.

The jewelry itself comes with me on the plane. A giant bag of mixed metal seems like the kind of thing that would be stopped at security, but as it turns out they pass it on through without comment 2/3rds of the time. I feel safe.

And I'm sorry about this, but I have only a couple pictures from Art on the Rocks itself.

Why? As it turns out, the sun is a mass of incandescent gas, and standing out in it in the middle of the aisle to take a picture of my tent was not so much an option. The daytime temperatures where ranging from 85-90 degrees with clear skies, and I'm a big 'ol heat wuss.

Between that and actually being pretty busy (A large majority of what I sold this year was necklaces! Very unusual. Typically I move more earrings than anything else.) I only managed two 'sold item' shots. 

This very cute short silver dangle earring.

And this subtly curved-to-fit 4-in-1 V necklace.

And also, there were a lot of dogs.

Art on the Rocks 2015 is Coming

Consider this your one-week warning: Art on the Rocks is Coming!

This two-day outdoor show right on the shore of Lake Superior is a perennial favorite for me- and since I had to miss it at the last minute last year, I am particularly looking forward to this year. Not only because it's been a while, but also because I've had a whole year extra to make new goodies you guys haven't seen!

This year's theme is clearly sterling silver bracelets- I've been on a bit of a kick lately! Also be sure to check out my new purse offerings, and my recent 'lariat' experiments.

What's a lariat experiment you ask? Well, something like this.

See you Michiganders (and Michigeese) in a week!

Peacock Scalemaille Purse Build

I wouldn't go so far as to call this a tutorial, because I'm not going to give you a step by step of how to assemble this piece. There's a lot of material to cover as is! However, if you've made scalemail before and know the common byzantine and japanese chainmail weaves, this design walkthrough will show you how to put it together to make a peacock styled evening bag.

First up, you'll need supplies. In this case, I made my own smaller bright aluminum links, and purchased the larger green aluminum ones. Both sets of links should be 18 gauge. The smaller ones should have an interior diameter close to 4.5mm, the larger links need an ID of close to 6mm. (.5 mm or less variation is okay.) You'll need 1500 or so of each of green links and bright links, about half that if you don't plan on making the strap. (The strap is technically optional- you could attach a pre-made strap instead to save yourself some time.) You can technically make all the links, but unless you're way more awesome than I am, you'll need to buy the scales. You'll need four colors of scales: purple, blue, brown, and green. I get them in bags of 100, so you'll need 3 bags of green and one of each other color.  Lastly, you'll need one sewing purse frame: the kind with holes pre-drilled in them. And of course the usual maille-making flatmouth pliers.

Gettin' Started: Begin putting the design together starting with the middle of the 'eye' of the peacock feather- which means four violet scales.

The first diamond. This diamond is the basic shape that scalemaille is built from, like the four links through one link of four-in-one.

Here is the finished basic shape of the 'eye'. All the other scales will be added around the edges. 

Blue added- following the contour of the purple, just a single layer.

Brown is next. This should be a double layer on top and bottom, because a single row will look jagged- the way scales fall, the bottom edge is fine with one layer.

And the view from the back. A bunch of little diamonds.

Add a whole bunch of green. The width and shape of the top of the sheet is determined by the shape of purse frame you are working with, in this case the V shape makes it easy. You'll need two identical sheets.

And attach it to the purse frame using the colored aluminum links. (IMO, it looks better if you connect the last of the edging with a double link of green, and lay one flat over the hole in the scale for good measure.) Start by linking in the middle of the frame and then on the edges- it'll be more even and easier to fill in rather than to go from one end to the other, and easier to keep it a mirror image. On the edges where the frame stops but the fabric of the purse continues, you should add one more column of scales. Make sure to leave the last hole on each side of the purse frame free to attach the first scale of this new column to- otherwise it'll flop around too much.

The beginning of the bottom of the purse. This needs to hold its own shape a bit, so japanese weave is the best choice. Three rows is wide enough, and tapers to a point quickly on the ends, which makes it easier to attach to the body of the purse.

Purse strap. This is a pretty straightforward byzantine weave, just alternate pairs of green and bright aluminum. But buckle up: it takes a while to do one that's long enough- 40 inches is standard for a cross-body strap.

Put it all together. For the bottom panel, use the smaller links to attach large links on the edge of the panel to that last row of large links in the scale pattern.  On the sides, put one more column of scales between the two sheets to stitch them together. The strap attaches easily to the big ring on this frame.

All done! And it's big enough for a smart phone, which is crucial in this day and age.

This one's sold, but you can find more purses and scalemaille pieces in my etsy store!