I love taking a “spin” around the internet to see what’s out there in the world of maille. It’s fun, it fuels my creativity, I meet fascinating artists….hhhmmm….starting to sound like the next Star Trek movie!

One of my favorite things about being able to do this is the incredible amount of sharing that goes on. There’s no doubt that maille is catching on in the world. Even designers are incorporating this ancient craft into their wares:

Head to toe, fashion is starting to embrace chainmail. And why  not? It’s slinky, seductive, fun, flirty, and daring! All the things that fashion designers want.

(LOL Did you really think I could leave Barbie out of this? That’s just awesome!)

Adding a bit of metal work into the wardrobe not only gives a futuristic feel to it, but also keeps us grounded in our collective roots. It brings to mind past histories. It may even spark some interest in the younger generations to find out more about this ancient craft. There is simply so much more to it than meets the eye. And if a young crafter decides to pursue a newly found interest in maille, then that’s just what we want!

This craft has not died, fortunately. It simply hibernated for a while and is emerging from its slumber in sleek new forms, amazing new patterns, and full of vision and strength to face the future.

Why not take a spin around the internet and see what you can find? Even if you only look at pictures, you’ll discover a vast array – a mix of old and new, new ways to blend the past and the future, and maybe fire up your imagination.

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Cleaning Jeweler’s Brass

One of my favorite metals to work with is jeweler’s brass. Some people call it red brass. To me it’s just plain luxurious and awesome! I can achieve the rich look of gold, the weighty feel of copper or steel (or brass), and I’m not sacrificing my first born grandchild in order to do it. What does that mean for customers? Pretty basically all of the above.  And they can have more of it! It’s a win/win situation any way you look at it.

See the way it shines? I love that! The only downside I really see to this metal is that it tarnishes. Heat, humidity, and sweat call speed up that process like they do with any metal.

Some people like the look of aged metal and with some pieces it’s absolutely outstanding! However, I’m one of those girls that just loves shine and sparkle.

Luckily, it’s not that difficult to do. Once again I go to my trusty tumbler for this. If you missed how to make one of these just using what you have at home, click here.

If you would rather not do that, there’s always the wonderful cleaner made of baking soda and water. I love this to clean with because it’s gentle and just works exceptionally well. Make a watery paste of baking soda and water and either rub it into the metal with your hands or a toothbrush. If you’re going to use a toothbrush to get into all those nooks and crannies, make sure it’s either a very old one or a baby’s toothbrush. I say this because the bristles are softer and not as likely to scratch anything off the item you’re cleaning. If you’re using your hands to rub in the paste, be gentle. Once you’re done cleaning the piece, rinse it off very well and check it. Make sure it’s cleaned evenly and it’s the way you want it to look. If it’s not, then just repeat the process until it is.

Another super quick trick will help you on those last-minute emergencies. We all have them – we’re running late and reach for that piece of jewelry we’ve been planning to wear and it’s tarnished! This will fix it for you right away. Take some warm water in a bowl, add a touch of lemon juice and some salt. Doesn’t have to be much and there’s really no formula – just a pinch will do. Submerge the item, swirl it around for about 30 seconds (really!), and then rinse it well! It’s very important to rinse it well because the lemon juice and salt can pit the metal and we don’t want that.

With any of these methods, drying your pieces properly is also key to maintaining their beauty and splendor. When I take my pieces out of any of the mediums I’m using, the first thing I do is to roll them up in a soft towel. This takes a lot of the excess water off and those little towel “fingers” can get into some of the nooks and crannies. However, there are still some tight spaces that aren’t accessible by that towel and it’s extremely important to get to those. Why? In a word: Rust. I’ve had this happen and it’s always a pain to deal with. Better to be very safe here than sorry. So what do I do? Easy! I just hit the piece with a blow dryer set on low or medium for a few minutes and it’s done! Just like that!

I’m experimenting with a new way to steam clean pieces, so keep an eye out! Once the experiments are completed, you’ll be the first to know!

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