Monday, December 5, 2011

Chain, Chain, Chain....

In my art, I love to take small bits and work them into a whole. I work with beads. I work with tab tops. I work with any collection of items that can be pulled together into a larger piece: tin can lids, key chains.

My BFA in Education background is in weaving… textiles. You take thread or string and weave it into a larger piece. Take something small and create something big.

Early on, I enjoyed using traditional techniques such as bobbin lace to create my artwork. I would use non-traditional materials such as choir or sisal with bobbin lace techniques. The results were strange yet familiar. Most traditional weavers would look at my work and not believe what they saw. I loved the mind phuque.

The bulk of my work over the years uses newspaper as my media. Woven newspaper. People look at it and can’t get their minds around it. “Did you paint all those little squares?” “Did you cut out all those little squares of paper?” “WHAT is that????”

I love using every-day items in non-traditional ways.

For 30+ years, I’ve been interested in using wire to make “things”. It began with my student teaching days: I taught a class in Beginning Jewelry. I needed to come up with lesson plans to teach jewelry making that required no heating of metal. How do you teach jewelry making and keep the attention of both the boys and girls??? AND not melt metal?


I developed a six-week lesson plan that utilized wire. The girls made earrings and pendants from wire. The boys made bracelets and, well, bracelets from wire (turned out they weren't interested in other forms of jewelry). I showed the girls how to make jump rings from copper wire and how to use them to make chains and other items. I showed the guys how to twist different gauges of wire into “wire ropes” and how to hammer them into bands for bracelets.

The students love the class. Everyone one left class with the jewelry they’d made.

Thirty years later, I’m still “playing” with wire. And newspaper…

I taught myself to make chain maille. I wove together links to make fabric. What I didn’t know was that I was making Japanese 4 in 1 chain maille. I knew it worked but it didn’t look like the chain maille I’d seen in medieval armor. I wanted to make THAT chain maille and I never could figure it out.

For years, I searched on line for instructions: they were so obtuse, no one could be expected to follow the instructions. And then… I found them! Thank you Ring Lord!

My 30-year (passive) quest for Chain Maille has come to fruition. I now know how to make the European 4 in 1 Chain Maille….

Now, what am I going to make???? Something totally useless.

Thank you for listening,

Jerry L. Hanson

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