As I’ve postedbefore, Michelle loves to make chainmail. So, it wasn’t a surprise when she recently asked me to take a picture of her latest project1:
For the purposes of this post, note the background: it’s seamlessly black, with nothing at all visible. And that background was created with no work at all in Photoshop (other than removing a string I used to support the project) – it was created solely by careful placement of off-camera lights. As the method is pretty neat, I thought I’d show you how I did it.
The first technique most people think of for getting a black background is to, well, put something black behind the object. While this works, it requires careful lighting and spacing to ensure that the black object doesn’t become visible (as more than just solid black) in the image. I did just this outdoors with my amaryllis flower bud images, but I had to find flower buds with enough shaded space behind them to hang a black T-shirt on a spare chair well behind the depth of field of the image, and then whenever stray light hit the T-shirt you could see the folds in the fabric. Annoying.
For the maille bracelet I created a black background by putting absolutely nothing behind the maille. And I mean literally nothing: here’s what the maille looked like as I was setting it up:
Michelle’s been busy lately working on maille projects (and I’ve been slow on posting pictures of them – the last one I posted was her dragonscale bracelet), so here’s a post with some of her latest work.
This zebra striped bracelet is made out of black and white anodized aluminum rings (18 gauge 1/4″ diameter) held together by bright aluminum rings (20 gauge 1/8″ diameter) in a Japanese 12-in-2 pattern.
These colorful earrings are made from anodized niobium and bright aluminum rings (20 gauge 1/8" diameter) woven in a Byzantine pattern.
These are made from blue anodized aluminum rings (18 gauge 1/4") and bright aluminum rings (19 gauge 5/32") woven in a dragonscale pattern.
Another pair of earrings made in a Byzantine weave, this time using all bright aluminum rings (20 gauge 1/8").
This bracelet is made out of copper rings (20-gauge, 3/16″ diameter) woven together in a European 8-in-1 pattern; I’ve got a separate “behind the scenes” post detailing how I created the all-black background for this picture.
A friend of ours recently started making chain mail. He’s weaving a shirt out of aluminum rings in a European 6 in 1 pattern. It’s gorgeous stuff:
After talking with him, we realized that making maille is not nearly as difficult as it seems like it should be. Pre-cut rings are available online, and the only equipment required is two pairs of pliers. Here’s our friend’s workspace: