A Book Review of Chained By Rebeca Mojica
Well our long time friend and member of the forum Rebeca Mojica, from Blue Buddha Boutique, is now a published author of what I found to be a great book about chainmaille. We were lucky enough to get an advanced copy of “Chained” so that we can give it a once over and make sure that Rebeca didn’t mess up! We’ll she did not disappoint, the first thing I found is that “Chained” starts with the basics and leaves no stone unturned. My wife Kimberly and I have many other chainmaille books and tutorials that we have collected over the years while creating jewelry for Chainmaille By MBOI, and the one thing they always forget is the basics. This book goes through the important stuff like how to open and close a jump ring. Simple right? Not so,if you don’t close a jump ring properly your piece will just look like crap for lack of better words. So the art of properly closing a jump ring is just critical if you want to learn how to weave chainmaille.
Rebeca says: ” I would love for my book to help elevate the standards of maille. Chainmaille as a jewelry craft form is relatively new, so there are no strictly defined standards of what is considered technical precision like there are for other jewelry media. I don’t expect beginners to be perfect, but I sometimes see people who consider themselves “experts” posting or publishing photographs of pieces with very poorly closed rings. My guess is, a lot of people don’t think that it’s a big deal. Or they’ve been taught by someone who has poor closures, and it never even occurred to them that seamless closures are an option. To me, though, having perfect closures and smooth, shiny rings are critical. I hope that people flip through my book and see what a difference seamless closures make. And then, I hope that maillers everywhere make it a point to always aim for perfectly closed rings. Of course, there are plenty of maillers (especially ones who frequent online forums) that already do so. You are my peeps — let’s elevate this artform together! ”
Chained also painstakingly goes into details on various metals and how to care for them. This is so important, honestly, I wish that I had a reference book like this around when I started weaving. Rebeca takes you through years of her own trial and error and puts things in simple understandable terms. You may not think much of it, but finding the right pair of pliers is huge. I personally have probably 20 pairs of pliers and only use 2, the book sends you to the right tools to start. I guess what I’m saying is “Chained” takes the guess work out of chainmaille for beginners and gives great tips for the more advanced chainmaillers out there.
The tutorials are set up from basic to advanced so that you can grow with the book. I don’t know how many people start doing chainmaille, buy a bunch of stuff and then give up. Chainmaille can be difficult that is why it it critical to start off slow with basic weaves and then move on to more difficult intricate patterns. You need to truly build your weaving skills, and “Chained ” walks you through the steps. Starting with simple Japanese weaves and then progressing on to more complex patterns.
The other critical thing I looked for while reviewing the book is ring size. As I’ve taken my own journey through the art of weaving chainmaille I’ve noticed patterns in English Units, Metric Units, AWG (American Wire Gage), SWG (Standard Wire Gage), all these nuances will affect your finished work. Blue Buddha takes the time to give you proper ring sizes as well as their metric conversions for each weave so that there is no guess work. This is a huge time saver, ring size is one the of the largest struggles you will find when you start weaving chainmaille and “Chained will lead you down the right path.
The book goes through Japanese Weaves, Byzantine Weaves, Helm Weaves, and what Rebeca calls Coiled Weaves. These various techniques will give you a good foundation for weaving chainmaille. I would of loved to see her move into some Perisan Weaves or Roundmaille variations, but there are so many weaves out there I’m sure she had to edit herself or the book would be 500 pounds. Maybe we’ll get a sequel one day, hint hint, if you are listening Rebeca.
Rebeca says: “Heh, heh. Hint Taken. You are not the first to suggest a Persian chapter. I have already started to think about a second book, one that is tailored more toward Intermediate/Advanced Weavers. Right now, Persian will likely be a chapter. If not, I’ll probably develop some stand-alone PDFs for the Persian family of weaves. And you’re right, there was a LOT that we couldn’t fit in Chained. My original manuscript turned out to be 260 pages, so my editor had quite a lot of editing to do. An entire chapter (on Mobiusing) got cut, along with several projects from the other chapters. Look for a supplemental PDF of “The Deleted Scenes” sometime in 2011 for these missing projects.”
One of my favorite aspects of the book is that she gives artists the right to use her designs to create jewelry for sale. Believe it not most of the books out there, not just chainmaille, restrict the artist from selling the finished work created from the designs in the book. Sort of silly uh? Like there is a copyright police man out there searching the web for infringement. Well Rebeca, being a femailler and jewelry artist at heart, insisted to her publisher that this be waived and that artists would be free to sell their finished work. If your interested in an autographed copy, which I did, you can get one here “Chained” Autographed. Blue Buddha will donate $5 from the sale of every signed copy to Friends of Franklin Fine Arts Center
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