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Judges Choice

Updated: May 6, 2019

Using a brand new technique in glass, my fumed chain mail piece managed to secure the Judges Choice Award at the Chaffee Arts Open Award Show.

I've had the idea for glass chain mail for about a year now. As a kid some friends and I each made an entire chain mail shirt, going so far as to start with wire and make our own rings. So while I was super rusty on the patterns, I distinctly remembered the difficulty and amount of time it took to make. Combine that with the knowledge of glass I've gained over the last 13 years I knew this was going to be a difficult project.

After some life changes that saw glass take a slightly less significant role in my life for a while, I decided to really dedicate and throw myself back into glass. With the upcoming Open Awards Show I thought "What better time?"

So with an impending deadline, and being a little rusty skill wise, I decided to undertake one of the most difficult pieces of jewelry I've ever made. Each link in this piece needed to be cut, ground and kiln polished before assembly could begin. That led to hours of coldworking the glass, which is something I've had more limited experience doing. Then I had to assemble the piece in several sections, because after each ring was attached, the piece had to be annealed in the kiln to make sure it wouldn't crack, and then cooled so I could attach the next ring. So by making it in several pieces, and then attaching those together, I was able to maximize the amount of time I could work on sections consecutively.

Finally, on the Tuesday afternoon before the Wednesday show entry deadline, I put the last link on the piece and fumed it with silver. Nothing cracked, even after dropping the piece several times during construction, and it came out as planned!

Once I arrived at the show to help, I saw that for the first time in several years, there was a big ribbon next to my piece. Judges Choice Award. So all the hard work, hours spent trying to figure out how to pull this piece off, and the stress of doing something completely new under a strict deadline had all paid off. And hey the unexpected $100 prize didn't hurt either.

If you're interested in seeing this piece, come on down to the Heritage Museum before May 15th to the Chaffee Open Awards Show. Lots of great art from our local community is on display. Its quite the event.

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