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PlutoniumX

So Uhhh me too. Or run-ins with other chainmaillers at shows and elsewhere.

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I happen upon an arts and antiques show over the weekend (I did not have a booth) and stumbled upon a fellow selling chainmaille. 

 

He immediately launched into selling me on the pros of aluminum.  I held up my wrist showing off a chainmaille cuff and explained that I had a business a few towns over.  Of course I looked at his stuff.  He said he made his own (powder-coated) rings. 

 

Being a TRL forum member of course the first thing I check out is his closures.  He's making giant 14 and 12 gauge byzantine.  The ring color looks fine, but it looks like he cut them with a rusty chisel or a dull rock.  Closures, not so much, more "eh close-ure enoughs for me".

 

He had a nice enough booth and did some interesting wire wrapping and enameling, but boy, really shite mail.  I got out of there pretty fast. 

 

Every other booth was jewelry of some sort, but he was the only mailer that I saw.  It was super hot and I sure was glad I didn't have a booth. 

 

I don't even mind competition most times.  Most people around here seem to be more along the lines of "I cut some galvy wire rings with toe nail clippers and I am looking into expanding into soda can tab armor" than any serious art/jewelry/armor business. 

 

 

 

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At least he had some nice other stuff? Too many maillers master the basic weaves and suddenly go "I could sell this" without thinking too hard about what actually looks aesthetically pleasing in jewellery. In my less humble opinion.

Powder coated his own rings! Interesting... In aluminium? Were they shiny or matte?

The two stalls locally I've run across... One was doing a bit in copper, nice if pedestrian, along with other wire work. I never sold much in raw copper myself as the tropics makes you green pretty fast! The other was recently, and quite nice enamelled copper and sterling stuff along with her glass work. Too floofy to be too much competition for me whose stuff is a bit more, um, androgynous/robust/youth-oriented?, though I'm too busy to get out there & sell much at the moment anyway. Also, there's a Facebook-business locally whose time-honoured trick is to get attractive female acquaintances to wear his skimpy bras... Not sure how he's doing.

ETA: Oh and LOL, a snobby high art local gallery/shop had some plain ol weaves in there once, must have been a complete novelty to the curator. In sterling, neat unsoldered links in 1 or 0.8mm wire, nearly a thousand dollars each. I wonder if any of those necklaces sold at those prices.

Edited by calyx

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I saw some very odd closures last weekend.  The rings were closed flat, but they did nothing to close the gap caused by the kerf in the ring.  I'd think this would be a very bad idea since the dealer was making bras, but each item was exactly the same.

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I feature a good bit of my jewelry/accessory pieces at a local boutique and actually had a guy who wanted to put his maille in the shop as well, or to replace mine, talk trash about the "quality" of my maille to the shop owner....

 

Keep in mind that I have been crafting pieces for about 5 years now from every material from stainless to aluminum to gold...

 

The shop owner, who I have worked with for over a year, called me over to take a look at it....

 

This... person.... had a handful of pieces that were all made out of 14ga aluminum wire, clearly cut with cheap hobby wire cutters (sharp v shaped closures), and the clasps were the cheap Walmart "silver" colored ones.

 

Needless to say... I laughed...

 

If the guy wasn't such an @$$ I probably would have helped him out, or at least given him a few pointers.

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I do have to say that my second favorite fun in was with a guy that was making headdresses with stainless rings that had not been deburred..... I could just imagine a girl putting one on and feeling a drop of blood fun down her brow from all the barbs

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I recently tried selling my maille in a store in Salem MA. They explained they already carry maille done by someone else. Of course i scoped it, and discovered *ahem* "jewelry" that I would be ashamed to sell. The closures were all gapped, mishapen, and cut with perhaps rusty bolt cutters. Prices were 5 & 6 times what a properly constructed item would be tagged, and she claimed it was selling quite well. It's sad that there are so many who have the mentality  "i can do that", and really can't. I feel like it gives responsible maillers a bad name. 

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I'm new to Mailling on a serious level but I understand what you mean!

I make custom bondage gear. I have seen some really lack luster effort from people out there. And it's usually not a lack of talent but more a lack of people giving a crap. It's so annoying to take pride in something you do where another person is just like - ok wlel this is good enough.

 

I try not to judge in terms of, "this isn't as good as mine!" but more of "You can't do better but you don't s you're a scrub..." lol

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I've had fairly good luck cutting large gauge wire with Wiss M5 shears. I can't imagine what someone would use to make the ends look so bad on large wire. When working with jewelry, I use magnifying craft goggles, and close them as flush as I can. Even then, sometimes I see something just a teeny bit off center, and have to go back to make it more flush. Out of curiousity, can someone here post some pics or links to chainmail with the sort of very bad closures being talked about?

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I think to start throwing criticism at the work of others unfortunatelly drags the whole hobby down.    Your average buyer doesn't geek out the way we do about closures or SS vs AA, they see something they like and might have an impulse-buy for something that sits in a closet for the rest of their lives. Your average buyer doens't know the value of AA vs niobium.  For those buyers your marketing strategy is much more important than how pristine your closures are or what material you use. If they're making some cash good on them... if they piss off a customer with a costume malfunction... hey time to sell them something quality.   As an avid larper anything I sell needs to stand up to vigorous use, when I sell to folks I tell them about the benefits to proper durability of materials, environental stewardship and buying north american.  Some buyers are really into it, most couldn't care less and just want to be decked in shiny scales without all the chatter.

 

My one exception to this is I DO get serriously up in the grill of folks who will buy mass produced crap from third world countries.  A) the quality is horrible, I've spent hours repairing a friend's shirt in an effort to keep it from being thrown out. B) Child labour is still a serrious problem on this planet, I worry that alot of the cheep mail on the internet is made by tiny little hands. C) Environmental issues.

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I have only been doing this for a year but I am HUGE!!!!!!!! on my quality for this very reason! I want to be know for my work and how well I make what I do. I have TRIED to ingrain this in my apprentice but she just ignores me. . . and is no longer my apprentice for this reason.

 

I know 99% of the population does not know the difference in quality but I know, and that is good enough for me!

 

I nail people to crosses for buying those third world imatations! ALright so I just use a live example with SCA and amtgard boffers on the India riveted maille vs my TRL 16g SS Euro 4in1 butted. Then I ask which one they want to wear.

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I had one guy ask if TRL carried rings to repair his "riveted" Indian shirt and if I would do it for him and basically laughed and told him no I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole...which wasn't entirely true since later when he left it unguarded on a table a friend and I went to check it out and inadvertently discovered you could break the rings in half with your fingers...I was just checking to see how strong they were and did not really apply that much pressure it just kind of snapped.  I so want to be there when it self destructs and he starts shedding .

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I had one guy ask if TRL carried rings to repair his "riveted" Indian shirt and if I would do it for him and basically laughed and told him no I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole...which wasn't entirely true since later when he left it unguarded on a table a friend and I went to check it out and inadvertently discovered you could break the rings in half with your fingers...I was just checking to see how strong they were and did not really apply that much pressure it just kind of snapped.  I so want to be there when it self destructs and he starts shedding .

Exactly my point! They claim it is a good grade of 16g but. . . . *shudders* not in the least. . .

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I was working a two day artisan event this holiday season, the last for me of the year. I don't have much for maille competition where I am so even the couple of folks that have surfaced over the last couple of years are noticeable. I also get to know the handful of hobby maillers during these shows which is always enlightening. One encounter stood out this year. I met a gentleman the first day. A very affable guy, really keen about my work. It wasn't long before he showed me why. He pulled back his sleeve, or perhaps I should say unwrapped it. The guy was rather wrapped up in a fashion one might take as a person of misfortune who wrapped for cold. Covered wrists, scarfed neck, etc. No, I didn't take him for homeless, just that the way he covers up looked improvised.

So, yeah. He uncovers his wrist that was wrapped to the thumb and he must have had a dozen maille pieces layered. They were mostly copper, or siblings thereof. Some were simple and other more ambitious. This is where my salesman side switches off as I don't try to sell to identified maillers, usually I just end up talking weaves. In this case it was his wife who was the crafter and he was interested In some of the other materials I was using in my wares. We had a good chat and we both moved on to the next distraction.

On day two my new overdressed friend came back. This time he brought his wife who, as mentioned before, had made his jewellery. As you may expect we all again dove deep into material varieties, where they could be acquired(usually when I throw in my TRL endorsement) and the challenges of each. At this point the gent proceeded to explain that the excess covering he wore was to hide the jewellery from his employer. He worked in an industry that frowned on it while on the job. He uncovered the wrist from the day before. This time I was far more prepared. At least I thought. He then uncovered the other wrist and the wrap from his neck. It is a challenge to describe the volume of chain this gent had on his person but I am quite sure any metal detector that saw him coming would commit preemptive suicide. Not that it was vulgar, just that impressive. He was a walking shrine to his wife's efforts.

There was something damned romantic about that.

Then he completely stunned me. He turned to my rack, picked out, and purchased three bracelets from me. I was near speechless.

There was likely no man on the planet that needed my work less at that moment. The potential of blowing a disk in his spine alone should have been a deterrent aside from the reality that he had his own personal chain crafter at his side. Of course the black cloud in my mind made me swivel to witness what I thought would be the shock, if not disappointment I expected would come from his wife.

Nope, not even an eye twitch. She seemed just as delighted as she had when we were first introduced.

So here was a guy who didn't need what I had, and lady who could just as easily make the same or better.

I have never been more flattered in all my crafting experience. I sure hope I get to see them again.

I do wish to apologize. I don't think I was quite on topic so I will try to tie this post to something relevant to the thread.

I only know two kinds of maillers. Those who I see as having far greater skill and experience than myself. They are the ones I worship.

Then there are those have less experience and perhaps have yet to make as far along the path as I have. They are the ones who will be teaching me in the future. They are the competition that will drive me to be better, and the friends who will teach the craft when I am gone.

Now the folks who talk smack behind your back can come from either the Olympians or the common. They just make me smile. I guarantee I have never lost a sale from someone else's critique of my work. I don't sell chain, I sell myself. I sell my enthusiasm for my craft, and my booth is friggin sexy. My customers buy a piece of me, not what is better over the booth next to me. Just glad I am not a food vendor.

Reality is, if you get to know some of the folks that could learn from your wisdom you will find they just want you to be their hero. They can be your biggest fans.

I am very thankful for my heroes and they never made be feel like I didn't have potential.

Cheers.

Edited by Borealis Metal Works

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I was working a two day artisan event this holiday season, the last for me of the year. I don't have much for maille competition where I am so even the couple of folks that have surfaced over the last couple of years are noticeable. I also get to know the handful of hobby maillers during these shows which is always enlightening. One encounter stood out this year. I met a gentleman the first day.A very affable guy, really keen about my work. It wasn't long before he showed my why. He pulled back his sleeve, or perhaps I should say unwrapped it. The guy was rather wrapped up in a fashion one my take as a person of misfortune who wrapped for cold. Covered wrists, scarfed neck, etc. No, I didn't take him for homeless, just that the way he covers up looked improvised.

So, yeah. He uncovers his wrist that was wrapped to the thumb and he must have had a dozen maille pieces layered. They were mostly copper, or siblings thereof. Some were simple and other more ambitious. This is where my salesman side switches off as I don't try to sell to identified maillers, usually I just end up talking weaves. In this case it was his wife who was the crafter and he was interested I some the other materials I was using in my wares. We had good chat and we both moved on to the next distraction.

On day two my new overdressed friend came back. This time he brought his wife who, as mentioned before, had made his jewellery. As you may think we all again dove deep into material varieties, where they could be acquired(usually where I throw in my TRL endorsement) and the challenges of each. At this point the gent proceeded to explain that the excess covering he wore was to hide the jewellery from his employer. He worked in an industry that frowned on it while on the job. He uncovered the wrist from the day before. This time I was far more prepared. At least I thought. He then uncovered the other wrist and the wrap from his neck. It is a challenge to describe the volume of chain this gent had on his person but I am quite sure any metal detector that saw him coming would commit preemptive suicide. Not that it was vulgar, just that impressive. He was a walking shrine to his wife's efforts.

There was something damned romantic about that.

Then he completely stunned me. He turned to my rack, picked out, and purchased three bracelets from me. I was near speechless.

There was likely no man on the planet that needed my work less at that moment. The potential of blowing a disk in his spine alone should have been a deterrent aside from the reality that he had his own personal chain crafter at his side. Of course the black cloud in my mind made me swivel to witness what I thought would be the shock, if not disappointment I expected would come from his wife.

Nope, not even an eye twitch. She seemed just as delighted as she had when we were first introduced.

So here was a guy who didn't need what I had, and lady who could just as easily make the same or better.

I have never been more flattered in all my crafting experience. I sure hope I get to see them again.

I do wish to apologize. I don't think I was quite on topic so I will try to tie this post to something relevant to the thread.

I only know two kinds of maillers. Those who I see as having far greater skill and experience than myself. They are the ones I worship.

Then there are those have less experience and perhaps have yet to make as far along the path as I have. They are the ones who will be teaching me in the future. They are the competition that will drive me to be better, and the friends who will teach the craft when I am gone.

Now the folks who talk smack behind your back can come from either the Olympians or the common. They just make me smile. I guarantee I have never lost a sale from someone else's critique of my work. I don't sell chain, I sell myself. I sell my enthusiasm for my craft, and my booth is friggin sexy. My customers buy a piece of me, not what is better over the booth next to me. Just glad I am not a food vendor.

Reality is, if you get to know some of the folks that could learn from your wisdom you will find they just want you to be their hero. They can be your biggest fans.

I am very thankful for my heroes and they never made be feel like I didn't have potential.

Cheers.

You should teach me in the ways of abooth design . . .

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*Snip Of the Funny Story!*

Cheers.

 

LOL!

 

Yeah, I remember at the time I tried to talk to the guy about things and he went off on a somewhat interesting tangent about historical enameling. 

 

I wouldn't have felt comfortable discussing his technique with him at all.  I had the feeling it would be met with outrage.  What he sold in some ways was Pomp.  I'd love to have a local mailing buddy, but unfortunately this wasn't the one.

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There used to be a pretty involved discussion on that topic though I am sure you could start a new one more specific to your needs if you wished to.

Dont make me beg. . . 

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