Hands down, my favourite thing I did at the Creativ Festival in Toronto was a chainmaille workshop with Michelle Brennan from HyperLynks. Michelle is a former high school teacher who left her teaching career to follow a passion for chainmaille and co-found the company HyperLynks. She is the designer of many beautiful chainmaille jewellery kits, while her husband makes all the jump rings.
With a background in education, Michelle has the talent and patience (as well as the incredible sense of humour!) needed to guide even the most novice chainmailler through the steps to create complex weaves. In this workshop she taught her Clockwork Weave as we created a bracelet using bronze and aluminum rings. Here’s the final product:
I’ve done a small amount of chainmaille before and enjoyed it, but this class really got me excited about the craft. I think it’s impossible to take a class with Michelle and not have some of her enthusiasm wear off on you.
After the class I immediately headed off to the HyperLynks booth in the exhibit hall to spend all of my money. I picked up three more of Michelle’s kits as well as three pairs of Xuron pliers. I was previously unfamiliar with Xuron pliers but they are absolutely wonderful for crafting. They are small and lightweight making them very well suited to intricate work. Michelle even worked with the company to design a pair of bent-nose pliers with a 90-degree bend, so of course I couldn’t leave the expo without those!
I’ve been chainmaille-ing like mad since returning home from the conference. First up is the Trellis necklace. I’ve never worked with scales before but these small (1/2 inch long), black scales make for an incredibly striking necklace:
My favourite of the items I’ve made is the Micro Cogs bracelet. It’s not for the novice chainmailler (my husband had to deal with a lot of grumbling and a few unlady-like exclamations while I was working on this one). Each of the the cog units are only a 1/2 inch across.
This kit also came with the instructions and materials for a matching ring. The band on the ring is made from rubber rings in addition to the aluminum jump rings. I’m not in love with the band as I think it somewhat distracts from the cog, so I may come up with another band option. But I love the concept, and it’s surprisingly comfortable to wear.
Last up is the Infinity Weave. I love the intricacy of this one and the subtle wave shape.
I’m incredibly happy with how all of these pieces turned out, and although some of the kits were challenging, the instructions were fantastic – detailed and full of a ton of full colour photos.
HyperLynks don’t sell any products directly through their website, but they do list the stores where the products are available. And if you happen to live near Newmarket, Ontario, Michelle regularly offers chainmaille workshops at That Bead Lady. Sign up for one. Trust me, you won’t regret it. Although once you try out this amazing craft, your wallet might!