Short North beads mecca Byzantium is closing. The shop, open for 25 years, has become a regional destination for all things beads-related.

Short North beads mecca Byzantium is closing. The shop, open for 25 years, has become a regional destination for all things beads-related.

So their liquidation sale, which started last week, will surely be a regional destination too. Everything down to the fixtures is up for sale.

Days before news of the closing was announced, I took a class that ended up being among the last offered at Byzantium. The $35 beginner's instruction in chain maille, a chain-link technique often associated with medieval armor, was called Cry Like a Little Girl and taught by Mary McGavick.

The setting: A Sunday crafting class, I've found, is one of the most relaxing ways to spend an afternoon, and this four-hour session (it took me about three) was no exception.

Byzantium limits classes to about eight to 10 people, and all are seated around a big table in the back corner. I gathered that most of my peers were some type of artist or another, and one had driven down from Akron. Whoa.

The crafting: The materials - jump rings that pry apart with pliers and a clasp - needed to make a Half Persian bracelet design were provided. McGavick gave us a "starter" - a one-inch section of the design to add on to.

High-contrast rings are best for beginners, she said, but that didn't keep me from making lots of mistakes and having to restart, especially in the beginning. It wasn't frustrating enough to bring me to tears, but it was complicated enough that I couldn't hope to explain it here.

After completing my bracelet, McGavick showed me how to start the Half Persian design, a none-too-easy jumble of jump rings that I somehow pulled off solo.

The aftermath: Learning an introductory chain maille technique like this one orients you to the pattern and approach. In my research since, I spied an intermediate-level design I'm thinking of tackling. Maybe I'll make some pieces to give as gifts.

Google "Byzantine chain maille" - it looks amazing. And it might just be a fitting tribute to Byzantium.