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Poll: How long have you been mailling, and do you make money?

Your status as a mailler  

222 members have voted

  1. 1. How long have you been mailling?

    • Not woven anything yet!
      5
    • <2 months
      14
    • 2-6 months
      13
    • 6 months - 1 year
      24
    • 1-2 years
      27
    • 3-5 years
      44
    • 5-10 years
      39
    • 10-20 years
      50
    • >20 years (wow!)
      6
  2. 2. How do you treat your mailling?

    • Strictly a personal hobby
      29
    • Hobby, but I make a bit of cash when I can
      90
    • Aspiring to maIlle as an income source
      56
    • Chainmaille is a secondary source of income
      34
    • Chainmaille is my primary source of income
      13


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Well I am fairly new to mailling,few months really. My friends wanted to start an artists group so we dove right in,photography,jewelry,knitting,paintings,etc. It's a hobby I picked up to get rid of stress as well and have somethign to do on my spare time,finding it difficult to keep sane without a job right now. So that is where it sprung from,since then I've done some research and practice,pieces for friends and some customers for good measure. Have always enjoyed engaging in new projects,challenges and acquiring different skills in the process. I do graphic designing and such things on the side as well,all self taught.

I do enjoy the craft and artisitic nature of it,and I would like to keep it as a hobby making bits here and there for the time being. :)

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I started in '93. first as a fairly constant hobby, then started selling a bit, maille paid for several semesters of college textbooks in the early '00's, but I've found I have too many other artistic/craft interests to restrict myself to making a living from maille... I worked with maille pretty much every day for over ten years. lately though, unless I have a project I'm really into, I work on maille maybe once or so a month... on that note, before I get too far into a new project I should get back to work on some unfinished maille stuff to meet my monthly mailling quota :)

Edited by dweezle

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As far as I know most of the people making inverted M bikini tops were (directly or indirectly) inspired by Bill's work - he was the first one I saw using that style. He does have a knack for coming up with products and ways of making them that are so straightforward that you are left wondering why noone came up with them before.

You are probably right that many people have been inspired by Bill work. His bikini tops are nicely designed, look like they fit well, and he has attractive people modelling them which helps to promote his work - and he shows his work on a forum about maille, which means anyone (in the last few years at least) interested in making a maille bikini has probably seen his stuff... but who had an idea or technique first hardly matters (at least to me) until one gripes about someone else stealing their ideas. I first saw the inverted M bikini at sblades.com when I started mailling in the early 90's, and believe Knuut when he says he's seen them in the 70's. In the early 00's someone on a maille forum posted a question of how to add a bit of elastic/stretch quality into a maille top and I suggested mixing some rubber/neoprene rings (which were just starting to be discovered by the maille community) into the weave, and though I thought it a nifty idea, the general consensus was that it would not look nice. Bill probably came up with the idea of using stretchy rings on his own, but he was not the first, and certainly not the first to come up the the inverted M and I find it highly unlikely that he came up with that pattern independently.

On a mildly related note, do you know how the term "queen ring" came to describe the slightly larger ring at the top of a coif? Maybe Knuut or someone else who has been around a while can correct me if it was in use earlier, but as far as I know it was first used in the mid to late 1990's after I watched an episode of "Ren & Stimpy" - a friend asked me why the ring at the top was larger, and I remembered an Ask Dr. Stupid segment from "Ren & Stimpy" where the question of something like "what is the big white bean in a can of baked beans". The answer was something like "that's the Queen Bean, and all of the other beans are the worker beans"... So my first answer to my friend's question about the big ring in the top of my coif was "that big ring is the Queen Ring, and all of the other rings are the worker rings". Later, around '98 when I first started my little maille website I had on my site a pattern for a chainmaille hackysack which was made similar two halves of a tiny coif. I jokingly decided to label the large ring at each pole as "The Queen Ring" and it was soon adopted into common use.

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On a mildly related note, do you know how the term "queen ring" came to describe the slightly larger ring at the top of a coif? Maybe Knuut or someone else who has been around a while can correct me if it was in use earlier, but as far as I know it was first used in the mid to late 1990's after I watched an episode of "Ren & Stimpy" - a friend asked me why the ring at the top was larger, and I remembered an Ask Dr. Stupid segment from "Ren & Stimpy" where the question of something like "what is the big white bean in a can of baked beans". The answer was something like "that's the Queen Bean, and all of the other beans are the worker beans"... So my first answer to my friend's question about the big ring in the top of my coif was "that big ring is the Queen Ring, and all of the other rings are the worker rings". Later, around '98 when I first started my little maille website I had on my site a pattern for a chainmaille hackysack which was made similar two halves of a tiny coif. I jokingly decided to label the large ring at each pole as "The Queen Ring" and it was soon adopted into common use.

Allright, I need to remember that one :) Way back when we were looking for a name for my SO's fledgeling chainmail business we decided 'The Queen Ring' would be a good name, as it:

-Reflected that a woman was in charge

-Used an actual chainmail term

-Offered an immediate mental image for a strong logo

...and some other less easily definable advantages.

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I got started on it when I bought a kit to make a couple xmas gifts. I loved it so much that I started ordering a bunch of supplies and now sell at a few farmer's markets. I haven't become ambitious enough to try to get into galleries but I'm told i should try...

On a side note: scale and chain vests/shirts... they seem to be quite fitted in most of the pictures I see... How does one get into them? Are the sides left open and tied up? Or are the wearers contortionists?

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On a side note: scale and chain vests/shirts... they seem to be quite fitted in most of the pictures I see... How does one get into them? Are the sides left open and tied up? Or are the wearers contortionists?

Most maille and scale fabric 'hangs closed', meaning the fabric contracts from it's own weight to conform to the body's shape. There is usually plenty of room in the fabric to stretch it out.

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I started in the 90's when i saw some maille made from beer can openers (or whatever those are named) in a . After much help collecting thousands of those darn thingies it took me some months but i made my first birnie... and i still try very hard to forget how it looked. :X

After that, having read The Lord of the Rings, saw my first real mailles in a Tolkien convention and learned how to make it.

In 2001 made my first Hauberk and been mailling ever since.

My wife and i make jewellry and maille armor practically every day. Didn't get rich yet (dream on!, haha) but we are almost reaching the 'primary source' point.

I count 65 hauberks/birnies done and it's likely we'll be reaching a 10 per year average.

Once i tried to estimate how many rings made and knitted and came around a 3-5 million guess-timation. And not tired yet!

Of course, in my country (Argentina) there is noone with 20 or more years of mailling. WOW!

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Of course, in my country (Argentina) there is noone with 20 or more years of mailling. WOW!

What part of Argentina? I was in Buenos Aires, Puerto Madryn, Trelew, and Ushuaia in February 2010.

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I had the best steak dinner in Buenos Aires. Alas, I was too worried about traveling companions still stuck in Santiago by the earthquake two years ago to really enjoy the city. My mother and I missed the earthquake by a couple of hours.

I'd like to get back to Patagonia, but money is always an issue.

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I'm a full time mailler. As far as sucking the fun out of mailling: I find that there are enough tasks within the business to keep me occupied, and when I get sick of one aspect, I move to another. I mean, there's new design, there's production work, there's costumes, social media, advertising, pictures, talking to customers at shows and online, and if that's not enough, I do wirework, too.

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I've only been mailing for about 2 years. Started my senior year in high school as a hobby that had the potential to pay for itself. Thus far I have not broken even with what I've put in, but I enjoy it more than anything else (Especially studying for my classes :P). I just do jewelry, primarily bracelets with a few necklaces and I've experimented with one inlay, but would like to start making larger projects. Perhaps make my own rings in the future? (Gotta dream!)

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I've been mailling on and off for about 10 years... started as a hobby (made cool jewelry for myself, and gifts for friends), but since I started regularly mailling again in November I have been making some cash at it, and have broken even (I reinvest my profits from small shows/sales on Facebook into new rings and scales). I went from having a small tackle box of rings to a large case filled with rings and scales :) 

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If people ask me to make something I will.  If they offer to pay, I am not one to turn down money.  Most of my work is for friends anyways so I don't charge them.  For me it is a form of relaxation more than anything.

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After 35+ years and a monopoly that Microsoft would envy, I have yet to reach the poverty line.

that's awesome that someone has stuck with this for this length of time.. Tons of knowledge there for all of us to try and draw from!

:biggrin:

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Started in my freshmen year of high school, still doing it now that I'm in college. Over the years I've steadily increased what I make, but mainly because its primarily reinvested in tools and supplies. Started out only selling a few things I've made and gradually worked up to selling supplies as well (some made myself). The side of my business where I make things has sadly faltered with the growing focus on the supplies side. Someday I'll get them both up to my "vision" of quality...

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that's awesome that someone has stuck with this for this length of time.. Tons of knowledge there for all of us to try and draw from!

:biggrin:

Rule #1: Keep your day job!

Rule #2: When in doubt, see rule #1.

Rule #3: The rest of the rules are irrelivant.

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I'm just hitting about the year mark with mailling but I'm already starting to make some decent side cash with it and about to get dead serious when it comes to turning this into my primary form of income. I've been getting custom orders from people online for a few months now and am starting to do craft fairs with my stuff. My first craft fair was on Saturday and, I'll tell you There was very, very little time for me to work on maille at the fair because people were coming up constantly. I was always selling something or talking potential custom orders with an interested person. I managed I think three smoke breaks in 6 hours, hardly had time to eat because people kept coming to my booth and we felt short handed even with two people working my booth, just wow. If that first fair is any indication of what to expect then I can see a decent income coming from this pretty easily.

 

I'm not too worried about chain mailling becoming work and killing the enjoyment because I also enjoy the business aspect of it. I love selling oddly enough and all the business related organization and procedure that comes with it. So I really do enjoy both aspects of doing this as a job. I'm pretty sure I've found something I would be happy doing for the rest of my life.

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For most of my time mailling, it has been a hobby.  Over the last 2 years, I have started selling more of my work, mainly to pay for more materials, and I make dice bags for a couple of gaming stores here in Portland.

 

So I guess I fit between hobbist, making money when I can, and aspiring to use maille as an income source.

 

Katrina Wolffe

Owner/artisan

kittensoft Chainmail

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I have been making chainmaile for about 14 years.  I've been a customer of TRL for 12.  I am a really firm believer in learning to make your own rings so you gain a better understanding of the metal and what it can and cannot do.  And then run, do not walk to TRL as soon as you've mastered the basics.  I have made hundreds of things for friends and family, but only in the last year or so has a friend convinced me to sell some pieces.  I work mostly with micro maile, lately I've been in love with AA 20g 3/32".  I still work a lot with steel about that size and a little smaller, but I love AA for the color.   Unfortunately, I don't think anyone will pay what micro maile is worth, so I stick largely to gifts to friends and gifts to myself. 

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I've just started I love chainmail and will be making it ASAP I don't know if I will sell but I have a huge order I'm for battle of the nations :) so I think I will

I've always had a passion for different art and I will be making it for combat and pleasure,

My mate makes it for combat in the evening as her job and I will be helping with her she does make a profit but what she earns in profit she looses in sleep :(

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