I remember vividly the first chain mail class I ever took. We were going to make a Byzantine bracelet, and I’d brought along the pliers I had purchased in a craft store. First off we had to learn to open and close the heavy 16 gauge rings. You can’t begin to imagine my level of frustration! Rings were flying onto the floor, the pliers kept slipping and marking the metal, and I was just about in tears.
Some months later I did try again—with much better success because the instructor had heavy duty jeweller’s pliers (not expensive) that were designed for use with heavier gauges of wire. I learned that the lightweight craft store pliers were fine for occasional beadwork tasks—but weren’t up to the job of making chain mail.
Look at this photo of that early bracelet. Can you spot the mistake?
After several more years of instruction, experimentation and self-learning I started to develop kits with easy-to-follow instructions and to teach classes. I vowed at that time to do everything possible to ensure success for my students. I continue to work very hard at writing instructions that work—and draw on years of prior experience with teaching teachers and writing curriculum materials. And when I teach a class I bring tools for students to use—tools that I know will do the job, reduce their frustration, and increase their enjoyment.