He’s Made A Living Making & Selling Chainmaille for More Than Forty Years

Meet Chainmaille Artisan Lord Randolph of ChainMaille Fashions

Lord-RandolphScrolling through the ChainMaille Fashions page on Facebook, and the ChainMaille Fashions website, it is amazing to see the sheer amount and variety of pieces Lord Randolph and his team have created over the years. You’ll find an incredible archive of hundreds upon hundreds–thousands, really–of photos of chainmaille clothing and accessories, each a little different and always sized to fit the client just right. One constant: so many happy faces of people clearly loving what they are wearing. As one fan wrote on Facebook,”Randolph, you & your team have the ability to make ordinary people feel & become extraordinary!”

Every month in our Meet the Artist series, we chat with a different chainmaille artist to find out more about their process, history, inspiration and goals. We also try to uncover one or two things you might not know about the artist, even if you’re already familiar with their work.

In this edition, you’ll meet artist Lord Randolph Markham. Together with Jane Markham, Jo Woolam, and their team, they are ChainMaille Fashions. They’ve vended at multiple Renaissance Fairs across the US for the past four decades, so you may have even seen their work in person.

Enjoy getting to know Lord Randolph below!

women-wearing-chainmaille-fashions

Thanks for taking some time to chat with us, Lord Randolph! When and why did you start making chainmaille?

In 1975, I was unemployed scratching out a living making candles and I did a show that was a fundraiser for KPFK community-sponsored radio. The Society For Creative Anachronism (SCA) were doing demonstrations and one of them let me wear a shirt of maille. I was hooked. I ordered one from him and paid $100 deposit. A year later when he still had not started it and did not have money to return my deposit, I took his pliers and his small supply of rings and started one myself. It was the last piece I ever made in rust-able metal.

The photo below is not that first shirt, but one of the earliest pieces you made, back in 1978. I love that you’ve got such a great photo archive of your work!

early-chainmaille

I know your wife also makes maille … did you two meet at the Renaissance Fair? Has maille always been a part of your lives together?

We met before chainmaille. I had taken a position as navigator and crew on am brand new motor/sail boat from Vancouver to Jamaica by way of the Panama Canal and we stopped in Ft Lauderdale to refinish the teak before we delivered it. I met Jane there.

How did you get started vending at the Renaissance Faire?

Jane had been cutting coins for a wholesaler when we met but I knew the craft circuit from candle making. The KPFK show we did was the first thing we did together and Pegasus Coin and Candle. We had applied to the Southern Fair but were rejected until we applied as ChainMaille. We started at the Texas fair in year 4 and added Minnesota Renaissance Fair and Southern Fair the next year.

coif-and-shirt-by-chainmaille-fashions

What’s the hardest aspect about being an artist at the Renaissance Faire? What’s the best?

Hardest: dealing with management (they are all kind of dysfunctional).

Dealing with patrons can be the best especially for me. Dressing people bonds us quickly.

lord-randolph-at-work

Haha, I’ll bet! How many states have you traveled to with your wares?

California, Arizona, Tennessee, Maine, New York, Florida, Texas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois.

chainmaille-collage

What’s your best/favorite chainmaille-related memory?

Too many and I don’t talk about anything that happens in the dressing room … but here’s one that sticks out and is sharable. Twenty-five years ago at Bristol, I had a group of 5 coeds who came together regularly to dress. A few years later they all graduated the same time and then married about the same time so you can guess what else they all did about the same time. They were all dressed in chainmaille so we agreed to let them come use the AC in the dressing room when it was time to nurse. They always chatted together like I was not in the room and I know way more about nursing than any man should!

How did the “Lord” part of Lord Randolph come to be?

My SCA persona Lord Randolph the Devious.

lord-randolph-full-shot

Lord Randolph 1980 and 2014

You’ve been making chainmaille a long time. Could you offer your thoughts on how the industry has evolved over the years?

There was no industry when I started. Only Whiting & Davis making stuff for butchers and lumberjacks. So everything has changed.

family-wearing-chainmaille


What inspires you?

My clients. Most of my ideas are developed because they were asked for and I have always thought if one person wants it and if they are 1 in a million, then there are 8,000 others that would want it also.

woman-in-maille3

What’s your favorite piece that you’ve created?

The stuff I like the most is not sharable, not advertised or pushed in any way but I get asked for strange stuff all the time.

Well, this piece isn’t strange, but I for one love this … Baby’s First Chainmaille! 😄

babys-first-chainmaille

How many hours a day do you weave?

Now or in the beginning? Early on, Jane and I would work a few hours in the morning watching the morning shows. The middle of the day was for working on books or booths then 4 or 5 hours in the evening watch TV and knitting.

two-women-in-maille

What is your current goal?

Semi-retirement! I have sold Minnesota Renaissance Faire and am trying to sell Bristol. At 70 years old, I have no mortgage and enough solar, so don’t have an electric bill, which means I can do quite nicely with just 2 shows. For the Texas Faire, I have a HUGE fan base who I tap to do repairs and cleanup of my building two weeks before opening, they also unload and distribute my inventory. Arizona is not a big show but February and March are nice there; the booth is low maintenance and the show is an easy 10 am to 6 pm. Sustainable for an old man.

Hmm, I think I’m gonna have to head out and visit the Arizona show to see your wares in person! I saw your shoppe at Bristol, but it’s been years.

men-in-maille

What is one tool that you cannot live without?

There are several, my pliers, my truck and my partners top the list.

Lord Randolph, Jane Markham and Jo Woolam of Chainmaille Fashions.

Lord Randolph, Jane Markham and Jo Woolam of Chainmaille Fashions.

What general advice would you give to someone who wants to make a living in the Ren Faire scene?

Start with local craft shows and listen to the feedback. To start you need a niche. When you have been doing it as long as I have … well, I very rarely make anything new because I can’t even replace what I sell right now! Part of why I need to sell Bristol.

man-chainmaille-collar

 

woman-in-mailleOK, onto some quick questions: What do you do when you aren’t making chainmaille?

Garden and play Everquest but we are “in production” year round.

Do you listen to music/podcasts/tv/etc while mailling? If so, what are your favorites?

Music when working on something that requires focus and audio books for mindless repetition

What would your superpower be and why?

I can talk strangers out of their blouses in a minute or two 😉.



What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?


Never be the first to release a hug.

What’s one thing Blue Buddha readers might be surprised to know about you?

I think I will leave them surprised.

Also, I think it’s worth noting that you probably have some of the earliest photos of cats in chainmaille and dogs in maille on the entire internet:

pets-in-chainmaille

Before we let you go, please tell us where we can find your chainmaille.

Chainmaille Fashions website: www.chainmaillefashions.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chainmaillefashions/
Faires: Bristol Faire (Wisconsin), Texas Renaissance Festival and Arizona Renaissance Festival

couple-wearing-chainmaille

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us, Lord Randolph! We wish you much continued success and are so thankful for your decades of inspiring people to embrace chainmaille.

And thank you to everyone who’s read this interview to the end. While you’re here, be sure to check out the previous “Meet an Artist” posts: http://www.bluebuddhaboutique.com/blog/category/ask-an-artist-series/ and let me know if there’s anyone you want to see interviewed. ‘Til next time, happy crafting!

48 Beautiful Ombre Ideas For Colorful Jewelry Making

Be Inspired By These 3-Tone Color Fades Of Chainmaille Jump Rings

As most of you know, I love creating ombres with the chainmaille pieces in my Rebeca Mojica Jewelry line.

I finally created a sample sheet of many ombre possibilities to inspire me and help customers decide on colors for their personalized pieces. I printed the chart to leave it near my workstation, because I love looking at color and contemplating the possibilities!  I thought it might be inspirational for other artisans, too, so here ya go:

ALL-Ombres-ALL-sizes

Here’s the “water” ombre in action in my Tapered Mobius Necklace:

chainmail necklace in purple blue and turquoise on display form

In chainmaille, the ombres work particularly well with mobiused pieces, because you can transition the color very gradually by changing the color makeup of each adjacent mobius unit. (If you’d like to know how to make the necklace, you can purchase the Tapered Mobius tutorial in the Blue Buddha Etsy Shop.)

Here are a few other examples of some of my most popular ombre pieces of jewelry:

flame colored scalemaille necklacePurchase Elemental Leaves necklace tutorial.

 

5-flower-ROCKFree downloadable tutorial for Flowers Bracelet (which is easily adapted into the earring pattern shown here).

SSE-106-sky-on-ear-3-4SSE-104-gold-brwn-blk

Free downloadable tutorial for Shaggy Scales. (Both of the previous 2 earrings shown are Shaggy Scales, just with the scales in different orientations.)

chainmaille necklace with scale in turquoise, green and brownPurchase tutorial for Knotted Triangle Necklace With Scale.

 

Follow Rebeca Mojica Jewelry on Facebook or @rebecamojicajewelry on Instagram to see other colorful (and non-colorful) chainmaille jewelry pieces.

 

 

 

Chainmaille Artisan Lisa Ellis Will Mesmerize You With Her Intricate and Colorful Jewelry Designs

Meet The Founder Of The Armorer’s Wife & Creator Of Many Chainmaille Designs

Disclosure: Some of the links to products below are affiliate links, meaning, at no cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. It helps me create content like this for you, and I thank you for your support.

Every month in our Meet the Artist series, we chat with a different chainmaille artist to find out more about their process, inspiration and goals. We also try to uncover one or two things you might not know about the artist, even if you’re already familiar with their work.

In this edition, you’ll meet artist Lisa Ellis from Leander, Texas. I’ve always been in awe of her Moorish Rose creations, so excuse me while I fangirl for a few moments here and there. :-)

Enjoy, and please post your comments below!


headshot of Lisa Ellis, chainmaille artisan

Thanks for taking some time to chat with us, Lisa! When and why did you start making chainmaille?

Six years ago I went to my first renaissance faire, and it was there that I discovered chainmaille. I had only seen it in history books before, and I was just fascinated by it. I had to know how it was made. My first project was a Helm bracelet, and it was terrible! I wasn’t giving up, though. I knew already that chainmaille was for me. I liked how it looked and how it felt. I liked that it was hard for me, that it made me think. So I kept at it. I discovered the M.A.I.L. database. Woah! So much to learn! I keep challenging myself to learn new weaves, and I’ve discovered that I really, really love sheet patterns.

Black square of moorish rose with colorful diamond shaped inlay

When I think of your work, the first thing that pops into my head is Moorish Rose. How did you become so fascinated with this insane weave?

aluminum moorish rose basket with colorful moorish rose balls by lisa ellisIt‘s funny, because up until recently I’ve felt that my head pieces defined me more than the Moorish Rose. I guess that’s changing, especially if I can get my Moorish Rose inlay to work! (More about that in a few moments…)

I love Moorish Rose because it’s a sheet, it’s swirly, and it’s mesmerizing! And I like that by adding contractions it can be shaped into things like bowls and truncated dodecahedrons. I’m always looking for new ways to use it. My favorite Moorish Rose project so far has been a kind of helm/coif hybrid. It’s an unusual piece, but interesting I think.

Recently I’m discovering the vast opportunities for color manipulation in Moorish Rose, not just mobius to mobius, but within the mobiuses themselves. I’m very excited about the design possibilities.

What general advice would you give to someone who wants to learn Moorish Rose? Asking for a friend.

Be persistent. It’s a rare person who can pick it up on their first try. I’ve made a YouTube tutorial for Moorish Rose that may be helpful to you. I think seeing how the weave works in 3D is really useful. If that tutorial doesn’t work for you, don’t give up, try another. I’ve heard that Joshua Diliberto has a good one. The weave is so pretty, and so satisfying to make, your success will be worth the effort.

pink, purple, turquoise moorish rose cuff with black edging

OK, you’ve motivated me to give this weave another try! Confession: I gave it a go for a few hours, many years ago, created a spectacularly tangled pile of rings, and never picked it up again. 😂

What’s your favorite alternate name for Moorish Rose?

Haha! I know the popular name going around these days is butthole weave, but I think that name is far too undignified for such a lovely pattern. (Though it may seem entirely fitting when you are learning it.)

It is most certainly fitting. 😜

Colorful Moorish Rose Chainmaille Coasters and MugWhen I posted on Facebook that I was seeking questions for you, the accompanying photo showed your Moorish Rose coasters plus a chainmaille mug. So of course the burning question that just about everyone had: Is there a tutorial for the coasters?

I didn’t know people were interested in this, so not at the moment. I think maybe in July I can set about making one.

If you do create a tutorial, you’ll sell tons! Be sure to let me know and I’ll post to the Blue Buddha page on Facebook.

What inspires you?
Creative people of all types, whether their interests lie in art, science, architecture. The field doesn’t matter. It’s their enthusiasm, their willingness to take a chance with a new idea. Creative people encourage me to push myself, to think out of my box, and to be my best.

How do you come up with new designs? When you have an idea for a new design, do you pattern it out on paper first, or just dive in and make a design from there?
Oh, I just dive in. For example, I wanted to make a coif out of Hoodoo Hex. I’d never made a coif, had no idea how to make one, but I went for it anyway. I just started weaving. 17,000 rings later, I’d finished, and it’s now one of my favorite pieces.

aluminum Hoodoo Hex chainmail coif by Lisa Ellis on mannequinMy work pretty much always starts with me picking up my rings and playing. There’s one exception, and that’s the Infinity Rose. The idea for the base weave popped into my head while I was getting TENS therapy at my chiropractor’s office. It’s weird how that works.

copper chainmaille handflower with aluminum and green stone decoration

How many hours a day do you weave?

This varies a lot, depending on what I’m working on. When I’m really excited about something it can be 10-12 hours a day for weeks. Other times 4 or 5 hours. This Winter I took a three month break from weaving completely. I definitely wasn’t planning on quitting, I just needed to recharge. Now I’m in the super excited stage again. Once my latest orders of rings get here I anticipate some intense weaving.

rear view of chainmaille and pearl headpiece

 

What is your current goal?

OMG! I’m glad you asked. I’m planning a Moorish Rose inlay! I’ve chosen Van Gogh’s Starry Night. I think the movement of the weave could work nicely with the visual motion of the painting. It may be an impossible undertaking, but I’m going to give it my best shot. The finished inlay (if I can do it) will measure 33’ x 41,” and I expect to use almost 50,000 rings.

What is one tool that you cannot live without?

hand with tronex snub nose pliersNo doubt about it, it’s my Tronex snub nose pliers. I use them for almost every project. If I need to, for smaller work I’ll use a pair of Tronex oblique nose in my left hand, but the snub nose accomplish nearly everything I need. If I’m in a pinch for teensy work, I’ll use my Xuron chisel nose.

 

And….probably the most unusual question that has ever come inand, haha, I figure there’s an inside joke hereIf I wanted to buy a creepy mannequin, which store should I burn to the ground?

I suspect that Stephen secretly loves my mannequins. In fact, if any of you have any extra mannequins lying around, I suggest mailing them to him immediately!

Ha! 
moorish rose chainmaille coif by Lisa Ellis

OK, onto some quick questions: What do you do when you aren’t making chainmaille?

My husband and I love attending renaissance fairs. We’re lucky that we’ve got three within a couple hour drive of our home. This year we’ve started camping out, and are loving meeting some of the other rennies.

We love to travel too. Now that our kids are grown, we’re trying to check some items off of our bucket list. So far we’ve been to the United Kingdom and Greece. This year we’re headed to the Baltics. I’m so very grateful we have this opportunity.

My guilty (not so guilty) pleasure is RPG video games. Mass Effect, Skyrim and Arc are my favorites.

colorful Infinity Rose Fidget toy and bracelets in chainmaille moorish rose basket

Do you listen to music/podcasts/tv/etc while mailling? If so, what are your favorites?

I know it sounds boring, but usually I have the news running quietly in the background, but sometimes I put in a movie. I love, love, love really bad Sci-Fi movies. Tremors and Mega Pirahna are two of my favorites.3D chainmaille shapes

What are your favorite artists/artisans (chainmaille or otherwise)

?

My father will always be my favorite artist. I loved his wood sculptures best, and as a kid I would watch him work for hours. He also painted and sketched, and he had some mad airbrush skills. I’m sure we were the only family in Pennsylvania with a full rendition of the Battlestar Galactica gracing the side of their Blazer!

Some of my favorite chainmaille artists are Simon Menz, Kirk Nelson (Brilliant Twisted Skulls), Tony Moeller, Nathan Asselin, Deborah Wilson Taylor, Daniel J G Miller, Kristina Griffin, Stephen Hoffman, Joshua Diliberto…. I could add so many more.

 

What would your superpower be and why?

The power to heal people. I hate to see people suffering.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?



It may not be the best piece of advice, but my favorite is when my Dad used to tell me “just don’t get caught” with a smile on his face when I was a teen. ROFL!

aluminum necklace with colorful stones in What's Up Buttercup weave by Lisa Ellis
What’s one thing Blue Buddha readers might be surprised to know about you?




I met my husband in the mosh pit at a Violent Femmes concert! I can’t believe it’s been 33 years. I love him so much.

Anything else?

I’d just like to say how grateful I am to be a part of the chainmaille community. Chainmaille people are just about the nicest people I’ve ever met. Thank you, Rebeca, for the opportunity to share a little about myself. You are an inspiration to me, and one of my idols. I think the first chainmaille book I ever bought was one of yours, so I have much to thank you for.

Awww, that’s so kind of you to say. I am equally in awe of your work!

Before we let you go, please tell us where we can find your chainmaille.
Etsy shop with finished jewelry: TheArmorersWife
Moorish Rose project on Facebook: Lisa Ellis Starry Night Chainmaille Project
Tutorials: Lisa Ellis: Chainmaille Tutorials by The Armorer’s Wife
Instagram: @thearmorerswife
YouTube: Lisa Ellis

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us, Lisa! We wish you much continued success and we are soooo excited to see how your Starry Night Chainmaille project turns out!

And thank you to everyone who’s read this interview to the end. While you’re here, be sure to check out the previous “Meet an Artist” posts: http://www.bluebuddhaboutique.com/blog/category/ask-an-artist-series/ and let me know if there’s anyone you want to see interviewed. ‘Til next time, happy weaving!

Artist Tony Moeller Creates Amazing Portraits And Landscapes From Tiny Metal Rings

Meet The Chainmaille Inlay Artisan From Georgia

I’m happy to revive our Meet the Artist series, in which Blue Buddha Boutique chats with chainmaille artists to find out more about their process, inspiration and goals. We also try to uncover one or two things you might not know about the artist, even if you’re already familiar with their work.

In this edition, you’ll meet Tony Moeller of Conyers, Georgia. I was excited to chat with him because for a long time, way in the back of my head, I’d envisioned making a chainmaille portrait inlay since it wasn’t something I’d often seen. But I always got overwhelmed just thinking about it. And right when I started to seriously think about tackling such a project, I came across Tony’s work. My jaw dropped and I threw in the towel–literally: I had a hand towel hanging over my shoulder and I threw it to the floor in amazement! Here was someone who was prolifically making portrait inlays, and impressive ones at that. So, maybe someday I’ll follow the tips he outlines below and will tackle my own inlay…but for now, I’m content to drool over his amazing work, and I hope you like it too. 😊

Enjoy, and please post your comments below!

artist tony moeller holding framed chainmaille tiger inlay

 

Thanks for taking some time to chat with us, Tony! Please tell us: what inspires you?

For the most part, I love everything pop culture related so a lot of my pieces have something to do with that, but recently I’ve been wanting to explore more things from nature. I love colors, all of them so I love finding an image that takes advantage of that.

cherry blossom tree in bloom made of chainmaille
What has been your biggest accomplishment?

The fact that someone living on another continent, whom I’ve never met in person, owns one of my portraits is just staggering to me. When I first started I was just hoping people would like them, I never expected anyone to really want to buy any of my pieces and to then sell one overseas… wow! I was not really prepared for that.

Speaking of when you first started — when and why did you start making chainmaille?
It’s sort of a long story. A couple of years ago I was in the dealer’s room at Dragon*Con (a huge sci-fi/pop culture convention in Atlanta) and I came upon a vendor that was selling these incredibly beautiful rings and was even making them into jewelry and I knew I wanted to do something with that! I was going to originally make full sized cosplay outfits using chainmaille and sell them but then I remembered I had no clue what I was doing…

sonic the hedgehog in chainmailleI couldn’t get the idea of the cosplay outfit out of my head but it was going to be too much of an investment without a real guarantee that I would even have any way of selling them at all. A coworker suggested making something small, like a pendant for a necklace and I loved this idea! I asked what his favorite character was and he immediately said Sonic the Hedgehog. I figured I’d just make Sonic to start and give it to him as a thank you for the idea. Boom! Easy! Done!  Well, first I had to learn how to … you know… make chainmaille. Anyway, I studied Sonic and realized that there weren’t that many colors so I could order only what I needed and go from there. I’ve always been pretty good with using Perler Beads so I made a quick pattern and honestly just assumed it work as an analogue for the rings on a one to one ratio. I started with Euro 4 in 1 and while you can see the image, it wasn’t really what I was hoping for. After that I changed to E6-1 and haven’t done anything else since.

Now that you’ve been making chainmaille for a while, what is one tool that you cannot live without?
Here is a picture of my pliers… I just get the cheapest ones available from TRL. Since I only use 18swg 1/4″ aluminum rings, I don’t need any of the heavier duty pliers. But I did try to open and close them by hand and after about the 15th or 16th ring life sort of sucked. Not recommended…red pliers on a cat with a chainmaille project in the background



Wait, tell me about the cat!
That is Calliope. She doesn’t always come in and sit with me while I’m working but she is just gorgeous and will happily help my legs fall asleep anytime I’m willing to let her sit on them.

How do you get all the different variations of color for your work? I’m assuming you are using anodized aluminum, but if not, what metal are you using?
johnny depp chainmaille inly by tony moellerThis is one of the biggest challenges with using the rings as a medium for art. I have 22 colors. I can’t mix them to create different shades. Want to make a portrait? There are only 3 shades of brown. Most of my portraits use only 5 colors: silver (bright aluminum), champagne, light brown (saw cut bronze from The Ring Lord, aka TRL), dark brown (machine cut bronze from TRL, there is a difference in color), and black. That’s it. I’ve just learned some tricks about utilizing some light pink or pale yellow (my FAVORITE color from TRL) and blending them in with the browns to create what appears to be a new color. It has to do with how close they are to each other and your brain interpreting the image. I got lucky when I made the Johnny Depp portrait and found out that it works since that one had a lot of already blended sections in the pattern I was using (I pixelated an image in Microsoft Paint and it just worked out that way). While it isn’t necessarily a secret, I don’t tend to showcase what I’m doing so that I can keep it all for myself for as long possible. 😉

How do you decide how many colors to use? For example, if you take a picture and zoom in to see the pixels, there will be way more colors than are available in rings. So how do you narrow down how many colors to use?
I try to stick to the original as much as I can, but I will make some color change decisions on the fly. Most of the time I only work it out as I go because I don’t always know if I’ll want it to be a lighter color or a darker color until I see it next to the area I’m working on. It just comes down to what I think of as my artistic license. There are definitely times when I have a ton of colors out and I’m using almost all of them. Just use your best judgement. There really doesn’t seem to be a right or wrong to it, just do what you like.

couple-in-chainmailleAny particular suppliers you like because of the large selection of colors?
The Ring Lord is where I get the bulk of my various colors but I do use Chainmail Joe for my red, black, and silver (bright aluminum). I tend to use more of those colors and he has them in half pound sizes for an amazing price. But I will buy from any supplier if it’s a new color to add to my extremely limited palette.

What has been the toughest hurdle and how did you overcome it?



I struggled for the longest time with circles. They seem like they shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but every time I made something circular, it came out egg shaped when hanging. It took about a year for me to find the right formula because I ran across a Batman logo shirt that was made to look pijokerxelated. I thought that it might be pretty close to what I needed and used that as a guide and it worked! Perfect circle! I only had to make a small tweak to it to make it look just right but without that I might still be struggling with it.

 What is your current goal?
 I would love to do this for a living. Buy more stuff! 😃

What general advice would you give to someone who wants to make an inlay?
Think in 8-bit! It’s basically an 8-bit imagery system so use that. Perler beads, pixelated images, cross-stitch patterns all work perfectly for this. I’m always available for questions as well. I’ve had many people ask for my advice or even specific questions and I’ve tried to do my best at helping them. I love seeing the final inlays when I was able to help out a little bit. It inspires me to want to do more as well.
Ha! I may take you up on that! 😈 I’m impressed that you can create such recognizable images using so few jump rings (I mean, relatively speaking, of course. You manage to create detail without resorting to micromaille and tens upon tens of thousands of rings.). The POW/MIA flag is one of my favorites, and a great example of what I mean:
veteran holding POW MIA art made of chainmaille


OK, onto some quick questions: What do you do when you aren’t making chainmaille?
I am the warehouse manager at Starbase Atlanta, a geeky online store. I’m also a “father” of 4 dogs, 5 cats, and 5 rabbits (plus 2 rescue rabbits currently) and a husband.

OMG, so many animals! 🐶🐶🐶🐶🐱🐱🐱🐱🐱🐰🐰🐰🐰🐰🐇🐇 I loooove it! 😍

Do you listen to music/podcasts/tv/etc while mailling? If so, what are your favorites?
Mostly I will watch something on Netflix since I do all of my mailling at my computer desk. When I do listen to music instead it will almost always be something by either Pearl Jam, Snow Patrol, or Barenaked Ladies.

What are your favorite artists/artisans (chainmaille or otherwise)

?
Chainmaille: August Grappin has made some beautiful pieces, anything by Steampunk Garage, and I am generally in awe of anyone that does micromaille in any form.Non maille: Jasmine Becket-Griffith is the most talented painter I have ever seen!
What would your superpower be and why?
I would want it to be instant teleportation so I don’t have to drive everywhere. Or, 30 more minutes of sleep everyday? Sign me up!
tesla-in-chainmail



What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?


Don’t give up on your dreams. They may not seem attainable right now, but if you work towards them everyday, one day they will be.

What’s one thing Blue Buddha readers might be surprised to know about you?



Um… I dunno. I can sing? I guess that can be a surprise? I was in choir from 2nd grade on through all of high school. Also, I clearly am not good with ad-libs?

starry night chainmaille inlay by tony moeller

Before we let you go, please tell us where we can find your work!
Most of my work can be bought from:
Etsy page: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TonysRingArt
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Tonys-Ring-Art-1526837590897431/
Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2405242
Or you can contact me directly through Facebook.
Thanks so much for the questions!

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us, Tony! We wish you much continued success.

While you’re here, be sure to check out previous “Meet an Artist” posts: http://www.bluebuddhaboutique.com/blog/category/ask-an-artist-series/

Protect Your Peepers! Eye Exercises to Relieve Eye Strain and Fatigue

Save Your Eyes From Computer Vision Syndrome (And From Too Much Crafting)!

Recently I’ve seen several articles about Computer Vision Syndrome: eye and vision problems resulting from long time periods spent staring at a computer, mobile phone, tablet, e-reader and other digital screens.

closeup brown eyes with minimal makeupThough in my case–and possibly yours–the C may as well stand for Crafting! I’m sort of joking, because looking at a flat, back-lit screen is different from looking at hands moving around using tools. But I’m not joking when I admit that I have an easier time turning off social media and putting away my phone/computer than I do trying to stop weaving when I’m in the middle of a project. (“Hello, my name is Rebeca and I’m a chainmaille addict…”)

Symptoms of CVS include eye fatigue, blurred vision, neck pain, headaches and more. Those symptoms are similar to what happens if I craft without stopping to take care of my eyes and upper body. With CVS, lack of adequate sleep (due to staring at a digital screen into the late evening hours) leaves the eye muscles unable to recover from strain. Hmm, that also sounds familiar, because I’m probably not the only chainmailler who’s stayed up just a little too late, trying to finish “one more ring … oh, well, actually just one more row…OK, now it’s just one more row … ”

The American Optometric Association’s website lists tips for protecting your eyes and treating Computer Vision Syndrome. Do check it out.

If you have eye strain, whether it is more due to crafting or the digital screen (or, most likely a combination of both!), remember to check out the Blue Buddha video on eye yoga. These are real techniques for strengthening and relaxing your eye muscles. These tips are great for crafters who experience eye strain or worsening vision, and great preventative exercises to keep your eyes healthy and strong as long as possible. Have you tried eye yoga? Let me know in the comments!