August 23rd, 2015 Last Updated on: August 23rd, 2015
Quick! Close your eyes! What comes to mind when you hear the words, “Native American Jewelry?” Is it Beadwork? Well, one artist is carrying on a tradition of working in sterling by making delicate pieces that can be worn with regalia or work wardrobes. Meet Danielle Chase!
Interview by Dawn Karima, Native Culture Editor
Q) Your tribal themed art is very imposing! How does culture influence your art?
A) The Creator gives me the inspiration and I find items from the woods and plains here in Oregon. I get the feeling of what it wants to be and I sit down and let the item express itself as to what it will be when it's all done.
Q) Are your tribal beliefs in your work?
A) All items like wood, rocks and even feathers all have a story to tell. All you have to do is listen and they will talk to you from their own world. My grandfather on my father's side was of the Abenaki of the Micmac clan from the New England area. Although my father was not registered and I'm not either, here in the Oregon area in the Northwest, I deal a lot with the Chinook Tribes.
Q) What's your specialty? What kind of projects do you like to do best?
A) Well, I love to do chain maille style from the medieval days and times. There are three styles of chain maille. One is the butted style which i do and two is riveted style invented by the Japanese. Third, there is the sauder style from the medieval days.
Q) Your chain maille work is so intricate! Tell us about your charming designs? How did you start making them?
A) About 15 years ago, I read an article about doing chain maille bracelet and I said I can do that. I bought me a set of jeweler pliers and some jump rings and I was hooked! My designs are some of the old style from days gone by and the names have changed , but they are still the same style. My designs are things I sit down and play with till i like something and then i make several of them. A lot of my styles are a one of a kind and never two the same.
Q) What have you learned about yourself from making these?
A) I've learned that there is always a challenge to make something no one else want to do. Almost every one can do the big jump rings but not every one can do the small jump rings and so far the smallest jump ring I've done to make jewelry is 1.6 mm! Everything I do in chain maille is from reading books and articles and I've taught myself how to make the things I do.
Q) What do you like best about the jewelry that you make?
A) I've learned how to take wire and roll it into jump rings and cut them so there are no sharp edges and tumble them to shine and then sit down and design something that will catch someone's eyes and make them stop and look. My jewelry that I make can and will go with what ever style you wear from dresses to jeans and shirts. I can make anything from dainty to bold and rugged to very elegant.
Q) How do you hope folks will feel when they wear your work?
A) I hope that when they wear my jewelry it feels like silk on their skin, and whatever their style of clothes, that it will make them stand out and draw attention to what they have. I hope people will ask where it came from and who was the designer when they see my work on Facebook and at the Saturday market in my small town in Scappoose, Oregon. I can also send pictures of something they are looking for or close to it and even design it for their needs.
Q) Thanks for sharing!
A) Anytime i can share with someone it makes my day, we're never to old to learn something new and every day is a new adventure.
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