I’ve been meaning to get this done for quite a long time and finally had the chance to take the photos. They’re (mostly) a little clearer this time, so I hope that helps make the instructions easy to follow.
Not Tao units are quite versatile, and they can be made with any number of rings woven around the large, central rings (as long as the sizes fit together well) – I’ve used them as pendant bails, linked them together for a chain, and they would be great components in chandelier earrings.
For this tutorial, basic chain mail techniques (like opening and closing rings) are assumed. To make these, I’m using 18 gauge 5/16’s in red and black (1.2mm thick with a 4.75 ID), and 18 gauge stainless steel rings with an outside diameter of 9mm – that’s an AR of around 4 for the small rings, and an AR of 5.5 for the large rings.
The most important thing when selecting rings for this weave is that the small rings will be able to fit two of the larger rings and one of the smaller rings inside it when closed, after that you can experiment with how many rings can be woven around the outside of your larger rings. The colour and material combos are virtually limitless, but for the sake of the tutorial I will be referring to each ring by the colours shown.
Close three red rings and open three black rings, then connect two large silver rings to the three red rings.
Holding the unit by one of the red rings, you now need to get the two loose red rings in the right position so that a black ring can be added.
Once you have the red rings in the right position, you need to thread a black ring in between the two silver rings and through each red ring – it goes through the ‘top’ of the lower red ring in the picture, then through the ‘bottom of the upper red ring. As this is probably the trickiest bit, and it was a little difficult to get a photo showing how to add the black ring in, I’ve made a very simple graphic that shows how to position the red rings and the path that the black ring needs to follow, as well as taken a few shots from different angles.
After you close the first black ring, you add a second one that follows the same pattern and path to link the third red ring. Remember that you need to keep the black ring between the two silver ones so that it ends up being ‘sandwiched’ by them. It’s quite easy from here, as you can just thread the black ring through the top of the second ring, then – while making sure the third red ring is positioned correctly, bring it through the two silver rings and thread the ring through the ‘bottom’ end of the red ring, as shown.
To finish it off, the last black ring is added and follows the same path as the other two.
Close off the last ring and that’s it – one complete Not Tao 3 unit, which I’ve shown below from the top down view and the from the side, in case it helps make clear how it all comes together.
If there’s anything about this tutorial that’s confusing or isn’t explained clearly enough, feel free to leave any comments and questions and I’ll do what I can ASAP.
As you can see below, I expanded on the idea for the last necklace, adding spikes and crosses to the same basic design.
The Not Tao 3 unit has always reminded me a little of the biohazard symbol (not an exact match, I know, but the similarity is enough for me), so when I saw the gas mask pendants I decided to combine the two for a choker.
While I did take a look at this tutorial for Not Tao 3, I din’t have rings in those sizes and also found it easier to construct the units in a different way, which I’ll try to get around to posting soon as I think it would work well for most Not Tao units. (These units use 1.2mm thick stainless steel rings with an 8mm OD, so an AR approximately 4.65, and just the standard AWG 18G – 1.2mm – 3/16’s, AR around 4. They aren’t super rigid on their own, but work well in a chain as they maintain both shape and a little flexibility).
Once I’d made a few units, the first problem to solve was which way to link them together for a nice looking chain – obviously from the image, I went with a very simple 2-1-2 link between each unit, but I do have a habit of overcomplicating things from the outset and first tried to link two points together so that I’d ultimately have to link two to two, then one to one and so on….if that makes sense.
I also tested linking them so that every second unit had the point facing the other way so that it would take on a bit of a zig-zag pattern, but while that could work for a bracelet, it’s ultimately a little awkward for a choker.
I think this would probably look good with some neon green crystals set into the eyes of the mask, or possibly done in red. For an even more elaborate cyber punk look, I’d go for some green spikes attached all the way around.
Before I found my niche (so to speak) with chain mail, I attempted wire work and really didn’t do so well with it – it’s a lot more work, and requires much more finesse and patience, than I expected and I gave up on it quite quickly. Generally I wouldn’t be proud of that, but chain mail was the next thing I tried and while I didn’t get the hang of it straight away, my failure with wire work made me determined to stick it out with the mail. I’m really glad I did, as I love it more than any of the jewellery techniques I have so far learned.
The point, though, is that I have continued to not only admire the work I’ve seen done with wire, but wish I was somewhat competent at it so I can incorporate it into the mail. So that ‘s what these two necklaces were about. They’re nothing special, but they’re definitely a drastic improvement on my earlier attempts.
The first necklace is a simple beaded chain made with black anodized aluminium rings and white crackle glass beads (which I love), plus enamelled copper for the wire work, which I kept quite simple. The pendant is clear glass with a mirrored finish on the back, hence the warbled reflection of me an my camera – I’ve dubbed it the Ice Queen’s Heart.
The other one was quite a bit more work and uses ‘proper’ chain mail, with a stainless steel beaded Byzantine chain – the beads are black agate and smokey grey, translucent glass crystal.
I don’t think wire work will ever become a major component of my jewellery (I still find it a little daunting and frustrating), but I’m glad I persisted until I was satisfied with the result.