Friday, March 6, 2015

That Beaded Dragon and renewing creativity

Madeleine L'Engle wrote about how she played the piano when she felt creatively stuck.  For me, working on my stuffed dragon helped get me out of a creative slump.  I love it, although it will be a terribly heavy neck pillow when all is said and done.

Here are some shots of my progress:

Close-up of progress after day 2.
 My dragon just chills out on the couch between beading sessions.
Progress after day 3.  I love adding those gemstones down the back.

Stay tuned for more photos of the dragon in progress!

Vanessa Walilko

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Dragon plush necklace

There are few things more satisfying than working on a project that's been sitting in a box untouched for a few years.  I got it in my head the other day that I really should finish this dragon soft sculpture necklace/fancy neck pillow.

Some ideas pop into my head and I make them immediately, some need to percolate a bit.  This originally started out as a big sculpture that would wind around my body, but I settled on something bold but still wearable.

Now I just need to start working on the bead embroidery, which will take another few years, probably.  But the body is finally done, which makes me very happy.

Personalized jewelry
Anodized aluminum jewelry

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Night at the Musem 3 chainmail

Last year around this time, a friend and colleague contacted me about doing a huge commission on a really tight deadline.  As soon as he said it was for Night at the Museum 3, well, I was in.

The next thing I knew, I was getting an overnight delivery for 20 pounds of rings that I had to link together and then overnight to Hollywood in a week.  I had some help, thankfully, or it wouldn't have gotten done.

Did I mention that this happened right before the One of a Kind show last year?  I still can't believe I got it all done while making inventory for the show.

Anyway, despite the rush, I had sense enough to take some photos.  They aren't the best quality, but I'm publishing them for posterity.

I wish I had taken a photo of the two HUGE bags of rings I received in the mail.  We all have regrets.  However, I did take pictures of the rectangles.  Here's the first one.

Then I took photos as I made more strips that I linked together into rectangles:

Finally, I had to get everything in the mail the same day I was setting up my booth for the One of a Kind show.  So I took a blurry photo at the book showing all of the pieces.

The most fun part of the whole experience was taking the package downstairs to FedEx.  When the guy at the counter saw that it was addressed to "Night at the Museum 3 - Costume Department" he asked, "Really?"  When I said yes, he then called over the other staff members and we all had a fun chat about chainmail and costumes.

So, go see Night at the Museum 3 and tell your friends you know who made some of the chainmail for the movie.

Vanessa Walilko
Aluminum chainmail jewelry
Aluminum costumes for stage and screen

Friday, November 21, 2014

Bernat Blanket Yarn Sweater

Super bulky yarn is the trick to making big, cozy sweaters in just a couple of evenings.  I've made this awesome piece out of Bernat Blanket Yarn.  I finished this with just two skeins and I couldn't be happier. 

Vanessa Walilko
Aluminum chainmail jewelry

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dragon crochet hat

It's winter.  Time to avoid the outside and crochet up a storm.  Pattern purchased on Etsy here.

Vanessa Walilko
Aluminum chainmail jewelry

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Chainmail for Pippin--recap of the week's work

When I got an email from the people at Pippin to order a new chainmail tunic for their new lead actor, I was happy to take on the project.  Making chainmail for a Tony-award-winning show is one of the highlights of my career. 

So after sending the invoice, I ordered 22,000 rings and got started.

Starting a huge project is daunting, especially when you're working with that many rings.  There were enough rings to fill more than a 14" x 11" x 3.25" bin. 

From working on the chainmail wedding dress, I learned that the only want to get through a huge project was by making lots of little squares and then linking them together.  As soon as the rings arrived in the mail, I got working.  After 2 days, I had made 45 little squares.

After day 3, I had linked 70 squares:

After day 4, I had linked together 95 squares:

 Posting lots of little squares doesn't really give a sense of scope of the piece, so I made another 25 squares and started linking them together into sheets.  (The pliers are for scale.)

Tonight or tomorrow I'll start linking all the sheets together and work on the shaping.  It's amazing how a piece like this comes together.


Handmade aluminum jewelry
Aluminum chainmail jewelry

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Shi action figure

Comics were big when I was in junior high and high school.  And, like every self-respecting young nerd, I devoured them.  As someone who grew up watching Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, and since my hero was Catwoman (Julie Newmar is the coolest person), I was drawn to tough warrior women.

Shi was one of my favorites.  Back in junior high I was customizing action figures.  This one used to be Psylocke.

I found a box of old art/craft projects.  I'll try to show one off every Thursday.

Vanessa Walilko
Aluminum chainmail jewelry
Handmade jewelry