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

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Make Something Beautiful - Butterfly Necklace

When I first started my business, I made a point of making something beautiful every day.  I got caught up with business stuff and forgot the simple joy of creating something new.  Well, I'm starting that habit again.  I'll probably post on Mondays for the alliteration.

For now, here's the butterfly necklace I made today.

Vanessa Walilko
Aluminum chainmail jewelry
Handmade chainmail jewelry

Monday, February 24, 2014

The creative work ethic

This morning's Twitter feed brought this article to my attention: The Aggressive Work Ethic of Highly Creative People

While I've seen the importance of having a schedule, and doing the work, I also have found that my best work comes from moments of inspiration.  What do you think?  Do you follow your muse, or build your creative muscles another way?

Vanessa Walilko
Aluminum chainmail jewelry
Handmade chainmail jewelry

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hyperbolic crochet

When I'm not working on the chainmail wedding dress, secret chainmail-related projects, and chainmail jewelry, I look for other creative projects to pique my interest. 

I'm a little late to the party, but I've been having fun with hyperbolic crochet.  For those of you who don't know what hyperbolic crochet is, I encourage you to visit the website for the Institute for Figuring.  If you want to make your own hyperbolic crochet, download the PDF here: Hyperbolic Crochet instructions.

I made my own pseudosphere the other day, out of some yarn I bought on clearance.

Since I had some yarn left over, I made a scarf.  It's sort-of hyperbolic.  It's a fancier version of a ruffle you'd see on a clown, but I love it.

What do you work on to relax and recharge?


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Pre New Year news

I try to theme my years.  It gives me focus.  When I started this whole chainmail-making pirate adventure, I called it "The Year of Fearlessness."  This year is "The Year of Following Through."

Any idea, creative or otherwise, that has been rattling around my brain will be finished (or progress will be made towards finishing it) this year.  My year starts a little early, and so has my work.  I recently made a reversible jacket that I'd been thinking about making for over a year.  I also just launched my new website.  It's not perfect, but I'm really happy with it.  Sometimes I feel limited with the coding options of IndieMade, but I like the service they provide.

What are your plans for the year?  What will be the theme for your 2014?

Check out the new site and let me know what you think kalibutterfly.com.

Happy New Year!

Vanessa Walilko
Aluminum jewelry
Chainmail jewelry

Friday, July 5, 2013

Inspiration Friday

I'm a little too insulated.  I do that on purpose.  I never look at what other jewelers are doing because I don't ever want to be accused of copying.  It's a little too neurotic, I think, but it's something I've been hypervigilant about since someone copied my chainmaille shrug.

But, inspired by the words of Paul Stankard, I decided to start seeking out art again.  Sitting around making chainmaille all day can create some myopia.  Thankfully, the Google Art Project means that I can look at art works when most cultural institutions are closed for the day.

On my first field trip to the Art Institute in Chicago when I was maybe 8 or 9, I remember seeing The Assumption of the Virgin by El Greco.  I have never been religious, but this piece stuck with me.  I don't know if it was the scale or the imagery, but it's my first memory of being in awe of a work of art.

You can check out what Google Art has to say about the piece by clicking here.

Vanessa Walilko
Handmade jewelry
Aluminum chainmail jewelry