Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Maille is More Than Just Jewelry

I realize that not everyone knows what chain maille is. What I find to be a continuous source of amusement, however, is that many of the people who have heard of it think that it can only be jewelry. Friends, a good portion of the maillers out there today do, in fact, make jewelry using these centuries old weaves. However, when these weaves originated (as early as the 4th century BCE) they were used to make armour. It wasn't until the 14th century that plate armour began to supplement chain maille.

Modern uses of this ancient armour continue to include protective clothing for people such as butchers, scuba divers and animal control officers, as well as splatter masks used by tank crews in WWI (see left). Maille remained in use as a decorative and possibly high-status symbol with military overtones long after its practical usefulness had passed.

It is only recent trends in chain maille artwork that has allowed for it to be adapted for decorative use in sculpture, jewelry, headdresses, Christmas ornaments, and chess sets. It is thanks to these non-traditional uses and the ingenuity of maillesmiths the world over that hundreds of new weaves have been invented.

In the spirit of using the ancient Euro 4-1 chain maille weave for a modern use, I'd like to introduce a new item in Athena's Armoury:

Now available at Athena's Armoury

Trying to add a touch of class to the bawdy great hall? These napkin rings will do the trick! They won't break if a brawl breaks out nor will they rust if a bit of wine spills on them. They were made using extremely strong and durable stainless steel rings; stainless steel is also corrosion and rust resistant. Lovely blue glass beads, reminiscent of sea glass, adorn them with little rosettes on either side. With regular use, stainless steel will remain quite shiny. However, if you notice that they are dulling, just wash them with some hot, soapy water and they'll be shiny once again. 1 1/2" diameter.


FairiesNest said...

Nicely informative and made me laugh too! I love the napkin armour, what a great idea!

Athena's Armoury said...

Thanks, fairiesnest!

ArtPropelled said...

Funny I should stumble upon your blog on the same day my husband tried to convince me to add chain maille to my wood sculptures. He is willing to make the chain maille. How can I refuse? There are so many interesting snippets to read here.