April 6, 2009

Art Hop at the Smart Shop

Friday evening, while in Kalamazoo, I had the good fortune of attending the Art Hop at the Smart Shop metalsmithing studio. It was a very exciting event, filled with art, metal, music, snacks and beer, and lots of people who seemed to love metal art. I went with my very awesome friend Alex, who did a chainmaille demo throughout the night. I got to watch him make the beginnings of a coif over the course of the evening, like the one shown below which he also made. A chainmaille coif is a type of armor, protection for the head, made of hundreds of metal jump rings, all linked together. He had several other very impressive chainmaille items on display as well like a shirt and a vest, and everyone was in awe of all the work he had put into them. I had a great time listening to him talk about various facts about Medieval armor, costuming, metalsmithing, and other random bits of trivia. I also enjoyed wandering around, talking to the other Smart Shop interns and the owner, and all the art lovers that came through the shop and gallery. The live band was excellent, and the night had great atmosphere! This was just at one stop on the Art Hop! Kalamazoo really seems to have a great art scene... I am impressed.

By the way, Alex dressed in costume to do his demo. Medieval garb with the kilt, laced up boots, tabard, puffy shirt, and bracers! Plus he had a big metal sword he wore for a while, attached to his belt! It made the chainmaille demo very authentic and fun. He is quite a showman and very adorable, I must say...


  1. I love chainmaille and really admire the craftsmanship. I really want his cuffs!

  2. How fun! Sounds like a great time!

  3. Wow, I think I like kilts. This also makes me want to experiment with more medieval design themes...Anybody know of any suppliers with unusual medieval-type findings (bead caps and bails and stuff like that?) I know Fire Mountain has quite a bit of pewter stuff.

  4. Does this mean you might go for a Renaissance
    weekend? I love walking around and looking at the armour and clothing that's for sale. Not to mention all the people who participate. Lots of fun and some very artistic people.


  5. I would SO LOVE IT if there were such a thing around here. I already have the costume but nowhere to wear it (a little intimidating to wear it to the bars). And I guess the only person who would go with me lives in Vermont. *SIGH* I live in a bitty town in NW Montana and you have to drive quite a ways to find a renaissance fair. Like to Seattle.

  6. SummersStudio,
    ooh yeah, I know! I love that look! especially on a guy.

    It was a great time! Great art, great company! Can't beat that.

    yep. kilts are pretty awesome! *wink*

    you should try Rings & Things for medieval looking stuff. Do a search for Celtic there, and you will find a lot of cools stuff

    Fab Fibers,
    ooh yeah I love renfests. I have been to the one out here in the metro detroit area... the one in Holly. I would love to go to the Silverleaf one too!

    thats a bummer that you don't have such a thing near you. You might look into Sci-Fi Fantasy conventions or SCA events, both might be places to do costuming! Its much fun.