I find chainmaille poetic. Poetic forms are patterns, a framework of predetermined lines, rhyme schemes, and syllables that a poet must adhere to while attempting to express themselves. One of my college professors once asserted that there is freedom within these confines; the challenge of limiting one's options pushes the mind to open and explore, each word carefully considered and chosen to ensure a powerful, evocative result. At the time, I thought of poetic forms as archaic and limiting, preferring the unchecked wildness of free verse and prose. A decade later, out of college and in need of new things to learn, I stumbled upon a chainmaille jewelry book. Through the process of learning this ancient art form, I was surprised to find that my professor had been right. Within the framework of these medieval armor fabrication patterns, I have found unlimited design potential, and have focused on exploring that potential since.
I design timeless yet modern handcrafted jewelry featuring basic geometric elements and clean simple lines. I make every piece by hand by opening, linking, and closing each individual jump ring with meticulous precision and careful attention to detail. The process itself is almost meditative, freeing the mind to consider new variations and ideas.
I am inspired by icons like Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman, by the sophisticated, striking, and elegant, that which is timeless rather than trendy. I also draw inspiration from the unexpected yet often breathtaking beauty of juxtaposition- the hard edges, that which suggests a bit of darkness, complexity, depth. That which will endure. The exquisite regal posture of strength. As an artist, I am compelled by the intangible aesthetic in my head that I cannot quite seem to articulate. A succinct and satisfying definition escapes me. As Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once said, " I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it..."
Always a work in progress... Thanks for taking a look!
-Lauren E. Martin