Finding art in the creations of chainmaille

Angella Goddard says she has “always been the crafty type.”

“I remember a phase I went through years ago making willow wreaths. I ended up with a garage full,” said Goddard who grew up outside of CFB Shilo, Manitoba.

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That general interest has now become focused on a rather old crafting skill, creating chainmaille items.

The interest came by happenstance one day on a ride.

“I enjoy riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle in the summer months and that’s where I came across my first Chainmaille piece,” said Goddard, 47.

“Years ago while attending Andersonville Rally and races, I purchased a wallet chain from a vendor there. You see when I ride my bike I do not carry a purse but I do have a small wallet in my back pocket. The chain I bought myself was rough, made of galvanized fencing wire in a tight box weave pattern. I paid a lot for it. But it was handcrafted and cool.”

The purchase became the seed for Goddard to begin the craft herself.

“A couple years ago I started UpCycling old jewelry and leather,” said Yorkton’s Goddard. “It just wasn’t my ‘thing’ so needing something to help pass the long cold Saskatchewan winter I looked at my old wallet chain and thought to myself, ‘I can make that’.”

So Goddard took her first small step into crafting chainmaille.

“I ordered my first kit from Metal Designz in Saskatoon,” she said.

“Once the rings arrived I watched a YouTube video over and over and over again until I got it right.

“Three-days later, I had completed my first wallet chain.

“I was pretty proud.”

And from there it just sort of evolved for Goddard.

“I remember I was at work one day and noticed a co-worker Bill Krobath was wearing a Chainmaille necklace around his neck,” she said. “Wouldn’t you know it he has been doing Chainmaille for years.

“I started asking him questions. I needed to know more – his tips, his tricks.”

Since then the pair have stayed chainmaille friends.

“Bill has started to create Chainmaille again which I take with my work to trade shows, craft sales and local shops,” said Goddard.

While chainmaille might best be known as a type of medieval armour, Goddard notes it is actually very versatile.

“Chainmaille is not just about armour, it’s doesn’t have to be rugged and medieval,” she said.

“I have hand crafted a full bikini, wallet chains, bracelets, necklaces, rings, hair clips, purse chains, key chains, vest extenders, zipper pulls, dog collars and more . . . The sky is the limit.”

“I cannot calculate the hours I have put into these projects.”

The process of creation is slow by the nature of the medium.

“My Chainmaille is woven one ring at a time in a multitude of colors and different metals in different sizes and gauges.”

Typically inspiration comes from what Goddard has seen elsewhere.

“Most times I find a pattern on the internet or from a picture I have seen somewhere,” she said.

Goddard said she sources most of her rings from Metal Designz out of Saskatoon.

“Shelley Hubbs runs Canada’s five star rated Chainmaille supply store,” said Goddard. “Her family operation is fast friendly and always willing to help a fellow ‘mailler’.

“I weave my work out of metals such as aluminum, anodized (colored), stainless steel, pure copper, jeweller’s brass, bronze, titanium and sterling silver and even rubber.|

Twisted Sister’s Chainmaille can be found at Howlers Custom Cycles, Kamsack. In Melville at The Shops, in Macgregor, MB. at Lorie’s 5R shop, and at North 40 Fabrics in Yorkton.

“I also set up at trade shows and craft sales whenever I have an opportunity,” said Goddard.

Goddard has a Facebook page and will be launching a website in the near future.
“I am proud to say my chainmaille has reached across Canada, from Nova Scotia to Vancouver to Sturgis South Dakota USA, and as far North as Flin Flon, MB,” she said. “I have many pieces in stock and encourage custom orders.”

© Copyright Yorkton This Week

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