About Me - Pamela Barr
There are a few simple things every woman needs in her closet: a white button-down blouse, a black pencil skirt, and a chainmail shirt. Well, perhaps need is a strong word. But a couple of years ago I decided to add a chainmail shirt to my costume collection and thought it would be fun to make one myself starting with simple jump rings. I worked off and on creating my shirt, and about a year and a half later I had a finished piece that I was proud of. I also discovered a passion for creating weaves of intricate shapes and designs simply by linking metal circles together.
Now I'm excited to share my joy of chainmail with others. With every new weave I learn, I also try out various color patterns. I'm always impressed how the same weave can look completely different depending on which colors are used and how they are arranged. It is my hope that you can share that fun by using this site to guide your color selections and pick out some truly unique pieces. Thanks for checking out my site!
About the Materials
Most of the time I work with anodized aluminum rings. Anodization is electrochemical process that changes the surface layer of the metal into a more durable and often colorful finish. (The same thing is done to aluminum soda cans.) The resulting metal is lightweight, hypoallergenic, and easy to work with. I enjoy the rich variety of colors available in anodized aluminum and keep about 30 colors in stock in most ring sizes.
For anyone who wants a classically strong and heavy chainmail piece, stainless steel is what I would recommend first. It takes me longer to make things in steel compared to aluminum, and therefore my pieces are a bit higher when this metal is involved. Stainless steel is very durable and will not tarnish or fade in color over time. It does contain nickel however, so if you have a metal allergy, best to stick away from this one.
Copper is the heaviest of the metals I work with, but ironically it is also the weakest. This is only by a small margin though. It is about the weight of steel and about the strength of aluminum. Copper will darken over time developing a patina due to oxidation (just like pennies do). This process can be slowed by storing the jewelry in dry and airtight containers. However most people I've talked to about copper jewelry enjoy having pieces that go through this change.
Bronze is an alloy made from copper and tin. It has some similar traits to pure copper including its heavy weight and the fact that it will also oxidize over time. However unlike copper, bronze is a very strong metal, almost as difficult to bend as steel. I therefore price items made with bronze at the same price-point as my stainless steel items. The increased strength means that it takes me longer to complete the same thing in bronze compared to aluminum.
Brass is another copper alloy, this time with zinc. The result is a beautiful golden color metal that is significantly less expensive than actual gold. Just like copper and bronze, brass will also darken over time due to oxidation. There are various homemade recipes or commercial cleaners (such as Brasso) that can be used to remove the patina if you wish. Brass is about as heavy as copper and about as strong as aluminum.
The final material I commonly work with is not a type a metal but rubber instead. EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) rubber rings are latex free and UV resistant. Unlike the metal rings, these rubber rings are solid, closed circles. They therefore have to be paired with metal rings in order to create most of the weaves I know. This results in stretchy clasp-less bracelets and light clothing pieces with some give. I stock rubber rings in 11 different colors.
Looking for More?
I would like to one day expand this list to include some precious metals. Specifically this could include gold, silver, and niobium. This likely will not happen however until I have a customer interested in a commission in one of these metals. The price of anything made with these metals would be significantly higher than the basic metals I currently work with. I don't have any of these metals in stock but I list them here to let you know that it is an option.