Student stays relaxed with the art of chainmaille

Student Spotlight
Tiana Adams-Hawkins, fourth-year computer engineering

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A. Sue Weisler

Tiana Adams-Hawkins is president of the RIT Metalworks Club. Adams-Hawkins and the club will sell their creations in the SAU lobby next week.

Handmade bracelets, necklaces, rings, belts and dice bags make perfect gifts for the holidays.

For those still looking for gift ideas, these can all be purchased in the Student Alumni Union from the RIT Metalworks Club next week. Tiana Adams-Hawkins has been part of the Metalworks Club for four years and enjoys the craft of making chainmaille, mesh formed from small metal rings linked together in a pattern, that some members ironically equate to “manly knitting.”

Question: Where are you from?
Answer: I’m from Camden, N.J., born and raised.

Q: Why did you decide to come to RIT?
A:I wanted a school that was out-of-state, had a study abroad program for Japan, offered the most financial aid, and offered computer engineering as a major. RIT not only offered the most financial aid, but I fell in love with the campus and the students upon my visit.

Q: What is something that you are proud of accomplishing?
A: Although I don’t normally measure myself in terms of my accomplishments, I feel as though my greatest accomplishment is on the horizon. I am starting a business regarding assistive robotics and am currently working with a team on our first product.

Q: What types of things are you involved in around campus?
A: I enjoy spending time with my friends and I am the current president of RIT Metalworks Club.

Q: How did you get involved with the RIT Metalworks Club?
A: My freshman year I found Metalworks at the club fair. They were showing off some shiny things that they make—even a couple tigers with little chainmaille capes.

Q: For those who haven’t heard of the club, what do you do, in one sentence?
A: RIT Metalworks is a club dedicated to spreading knowledge of chainmaille while creating unbiased bonds.

Q: What kinds of things do you make with chainmaille?
A: I am primarily a jeweler. I make things like bracelets, necklaces, rings, etc. Lately however, I have been expanding my horizons to large-scale projects like bags and belts.

Q: What kinds of community projects have you done?
A: We typically hold free chainmaille teaching workshops for adults and children. We will also be starting a book drive soon. My most memorable moment is when we taught at a school for underprivileged kids who were one step away from juvenile detention. It was a great feeling to see that we were helping them feel good about themselves for a change.

Q: Why should people get into metalworking?
A: Making chainmaille can be a very relaxing though sometimes tedious craft. The repetitive motions can also be quite soothing.

Q: When and where can people purchase your work?
A: This is our first winter sale. We will have a table in the SAU lobby Monday through Thursday next week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Q: Any advice you would give to other RIT students?
A: One—time management will save your life a thousand times over. Two—get involved with something on campus—employers like that.

Scott Bureau covers student affairs for University News. Contact him at with “Student Spotlight” suggestions.