Hand-crafted chain entraps me with a magical spell. I consider the easy wearability of each piece and the satisfying repetitive achievement in the making of individual parts.
Each link communicates. Some links whisper. Other links shout with solid individuality. A few beg for a special connector. No link is completely silent. As such, the flow of jointed connections could be compared to relationships. One-of-a-kind. Unique. Different.
My relationship to hand-crafted chain grew accidentally. Once upon a time I believed that chains were too difficult and time-consuming to make. I said so. Loudly. Assuredly. A beader at heart, I conceded I might use my metal creations to make extenders and simple findings for my beaded necklaces, but nothing like a complete chain.
The challenge resonated in my subconscious only to surface some months later when my mentor suggested a hand-shaped chain to complement my labradorite pendant. (I wrote about the joy in this post.) The stunning simplicity of the result blew me away.
Surprised with the success of my experiment, I decided to practice. Different gauges and types of metals. During the past few months I’ve built numerous necklaces from sterling silver, red brass and a mix of the two metals. Cut, solder, hammer, form, repeat. Mostly oblong shapes separated with rounds. My process is to go with what moves me and, since I continue to be moved by chain, I continue to experiment with links.
An interesting phenomenon I notice is that each chain matches its focal. While loose links live in the proximity of my workbench, they have no permanent home until I attach a particular centerpiece. Then the chain forms itself, matching mood and size to the presenting force.
A collage of sterling silver pieces frames a tiny black and white trade bead in the “Scrapper” necklace shown here. Additional black and white beads complement the star, and dangle from both sides of the pendant. An added detail shows in the wrapped edge at one end of the chain, in which a shot of color hits repeat.
Most of my chains are treated with a deep, shiny black patina or finish. From where did that obsession launch, I wonder? As a rhetorical question, there is no specific answer. Instead my quest to build the next most magical chain calls me to the workbench and I begin again.
Perhaps you are considering updating a piece of jewelry you love with a chain. Let’s connect and talk about how to showcase your favorite pieces with treasured chain.