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Wearable Art “With a Twist”

“Shimmering Free”
Dress is constructed of large & small ring stainless chain mail and anodized gold and red aluminum chain mail.

Elaine Unzicker combines stainless & anodized aluminum chain mail, which is interlocked by hand to create unique wearable art and fashion accessories.

She will often embellish the chain mail surface with castings from nature in bronze or gold-plated brass, such as the cast brass, gold-plated catalpa pods decorating the purse in the photo below.

The fluid movement of the mesh allows Elaine to create art that caresses & conforms to the body. And it’s uniquely “you!”  A new interpretation of her work happens each time a person wears any of Elaine’s whimsical creations.  Meet Elaine and see (try on, wear, buy) her latest work at the Washington Craft Show November 16-18 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington DC.  Her work will be included in a fashion show on Saturday, November 17 at 3pm.


As a grad student, Elaine designed a complex headpiece that she first modeled in paper, later to be executed in metal. She worked feverishly and when she was finished what she saw in front of her frightened her so much she hid it away in a closet. When she got the courage to pull it out and show her professor he loved it. And that encapsulates Elaine’s process. Her designs come through her and she is often surprised at what is in front of her when she is finished. A visiting professor saw what she was working on and, seeing the complexity of the solder joints, told Elaine that it would never work.

The creative process is essential to Elaine’s being. Early in her career, frustrated by the difficulty of supporting herself through her artwork, she took a year off from creating her art. She was miserable. There was no way around it, she was destined to be an artist. Once she accepted that fact her business began growing. When she moved to Ojai, California in May of 2001, her work began to blossom. Surrounded by open space and mountains her work also began to take on new dimensions, moving from the intricacy of jewelry to larger, more expressive pieces. Her love of sculpture began to show up in her creations.

Elaine’s work will be included in a fashion show on Saturday, November 17 at the Washington Craft Show.

That piece that the visiting professor said would never work? It now stands in a place of honor in our living room, a testament to the courage of an artist who follows her passion.


Elaine described her creative process “as one of trial and error.”

I keep adding or deleting until I come upon the finished product. I approach my life in this way, changing as I need to, expanding my awareness of who I am and the work that I am here to do.

I moved to Chicago in 1986 and launched my jewelry business there in 1993. Chicago was a fabulous city to live in and a great place to do business. I now live in a small artist communitysurrounded by mountains, only 20 minutes from the ocean. Now that nature surrounds me, I expect my artwork to transform to reflect this change. Only time will tell. 

We think the mountains and the sea have been good to Elaine Unzicker.~



Interview with Brothers-Handmade:

Ojai Studio Artists interview (YouTube):

Elaine’s website:

Washington Craft Show:

Stainless steel chain mail purse with cast brass, gold-plated catalpa pods.



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