To kick things off, I have chosen to chat with our chainmail instructor, Colin Mahler. Chainmail is one of the first techniques we started teach on Beaducation.com, and it is still as popular as ever.
A little bit of trivia for you: Colin was Beaducation's second employee and we are lucky enough to still have her in-house. Since Colin's office is just down the hall from mine, I walked down there to visit with her and ask some questions. Even I learned something new!
How long have you been doing chainmail?
I first learned chainmail in 2003 and I started teaching in 2004.
What is it about chainmail that attracts you?
I like the math, that it involves formulas. I love the zen quality of either just opening and closing the rings or flowing through a pattern. I also love the endless possibilities with this technique.
If someone is brand new to chainmail, which of your classes should they start with?
Well, first of all, the most important part of chainmail is properly opening and closing your rings, so I would suggest starting with Intro to Chainmail, where I spend quite a bit of time teaching how to work with rings. Then I lead you through four very basic chains. After mastering that, I would suggest moving on to the Byzantine Chain.
Speaking of properly opening and closing jump rings, what are you favorite pliers?
Absolutely the RX series from Lindstrom! I predominantly use the Chain Nose in my right hand (where I do most of the opening and closing) and Bent Chain Nose in my left hand (the passive hand that does most of the holding and bracing). I prefer Lindstrom because they are lightweight and the handles are narrow, which fit well in my hands and cause less fatigue.
How do you stay inspired?
I love the history of chainmail and I want to help keep the art alive and well by teaching what I know. That said, I am inspired by the new directions and uses of modern chainmail.
You teach all 13 chainmail classes on Beaducation.com. Wow! How can students see more of your work?
On my Etsy page, Wolfstone Jewelry!
We love hearing feedback about our classes, and we are delighted with the number of students who take the time to let us know how much they enjoy Colin's classes. Here is what folks are saying about Colin and her teaching:
A big THANK YOU to Colin Mahler! I just completed her class for the European 4in1 earrings with beads and it was fantastic! I have this pattern in a book and for the life of me could not master it. The way Colin taught it makes it so much easier and fun! I highly recommend the class and Colin! Cheers, M.
I loved Colin's video showing how to make the elf chain bracelet with crystals....so clear and explained so well....even showing common mistakes and how to correct them....she's a great teacher and I will be trying this one!
Love Colin's instruction!!! I took a chainmail class a tradeshow one year and hated it!! Now I wish I could find it and finish it!!Great video. Colin explains every step very well and always make sure you have a good view of every movement made. Colin takes her time doesnt get flustered and is very pleasant to listen to. I have been a fan of chain maille for years and it is because of Colin that I have now taken the plunge and started to make jewellery items. I am very pleased with the bracelet and matching pair of earrings that I have been able to make by following Colin and her instructional videos.
I absolutely love the online classes! I just watched the Full Persian Chain Online Class with Colin Mahler and, as usual, I wasn't disappointed. Colin is a great teacher; she's so easy to follow along with. The great thing about the online classes is you can always go back and re-watch them, even in your pj's! I'm looking forward to watching more classes to learn additional chainmail techniques for beautiful jewelry I can make myself.So, are you ready to give chainmail a try? What are you waiting for? With 13 free classes -- and more slotted for 2015 -- it's time to add chainmail into your designs!