Scott David Plumlee is a chain maille designer whose family buffalo ranch is somewhere in Kansas.His shop, Davidchain, shows his design aesthetic.

He is adept at creating clean lines using geometric shapes as he teams up chain maille with beads. Colored beads really make such designs pop and take away the utilitarian look of what was once part of medieval armor.

I first came across this designer when I bought his book Handcrafting Chain and Bead Jewelry not long after it was published back in 2006.  There weren't many - if any - chain maille jewelry books out back then.

I was instantly charmed and resolved to learn the technique. Youtube (born in 2004) was still a baby back then, so his book was instrumental for my education.

He also has 5 of his books - signed copies - available in his store. One example is Chain and Bead Jewelry : Geometric Connections.

Scott takes what are the easier weaves - especially the Byzantine - and transforms them into elegant pieces with beads.

I love how he strung on beads while weaving these in and out of the chain mail work. Also admirable is how he uses short sections of Byzantine to form his designs.  His work is meticulous - the saw cut rings are so tightly closed!

There are many tutorials in his store, most of which can be tackled by beginners.

During his time in art school,  he said he "came upon a small booklet that was written in an Asian text and had simple line drawings of how to transform a metal ingot into round wire by consecutively pulling it through a drawplate.

Furthermore, it showed how the metal wire could be wrapped into a coil, cut into jump rings, and also provided some simple chain pattern illustrations. One of these chain patterns had been used throughout the Byzantine Era (from 867 to 1056 AD) as a necklace that was awarded by royalty to the noble knights for their bravery. I call this chain the "Byzantine" but is also known as the "Etruscan", "Idiot's Delight", and "Birdcage" throughout time and across different cultures."

He later dropped out of art school as he could not imagine himself having to make a huge investment in tools for a studio.

"I was looking for a "mobile craft" that would engage my creativity while I was backpacking around the world, and I did visit a dozen countries throughout North and South America over five years developing my designs. With a spool of silver wire, several knitting needles (wire-wrapping mandrel), side-cutters (to cut the wrapped coil into jump rings), two Frisbees (to contain all materials and tools), two jewelry pliers, and a jeweler's file, I could simply sit on the beach under a coconut tree and create to my heart's content, without the need for electricity, hot torch, nor studio."

He added,  "Something inside of me connected with this quiet, meditative process and sensed that it was my true calling to explore."

After his initial traveling, he began teaching chain maille in Seattle and then the Northwest region and all that led to his books. He taught and wrote extensively for the next 10 years.  But his creative well then went dry . He is currently in another nomadic phase and exploring a different creative field.

Scott explained, "Now, after climbing mountains across South America, studying yoga and meditation in Guatemala, riding a bicycle 7,000 km across New Zealand and Australia, and backpacking around SE Asia, I found a home in Bangkok, Thailand. I am currently working as an English teacher to corporate adults, which is a very rewarding job, but it is also improving my writing ten-fold, as my next goal is to be a novelist."  His new website chronicles his travel philosophy, published ebooks and his writing aspirations.

Yes, Scott. You do have my utmost "appreciation for a life less ordinary." We each have but one life to live - but how many of us truly live it fully on our own terms? He has managed to choose a unique path to satisfy both his wanderlust and creativity.

Before You Go:

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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