Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from Tangled Metal

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Black Friday Sale From Tangled Metal

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope all of you are going to have a safe T-day. I just wanted to spread the word about Tangled Metal's Black Friday Sale! Select items have huge discounts. The sale actually started yesterday and goes through Monday so there is still a little time. Be sure to check out some of my new items as well.

That is all for now. Have a great one!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tangled Metal Is So busy!

I recently made a deal with a distributor for one of my best selling lines and their initial order was 200 items. I am about 3/4 of the way through the first part of the order which was 88 items. My hands are sore and I might be a tad bit grumpy because of that.

I would love to say that is the reason that I have not blogged lately but it would not be entirely true. The main reason is just me being lazy and slacking. I have six different blogs that should be maintained but lately I am finding it difficult to keep up with one.

Anyhow, I am working full time on my art and I love it but I have been making the same thing over and over for the last week and I can hardly wait until this order is done so I can move on to something different. I am going to try and blog more often so stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Coffee Thoughts On Chainmail

Before coffee every morning I think some pretty random thoughts. My mind has yet to focus on little more than the process of putting the coffee maker on and yet I come up with some pretty spiffy ideas.

Today while setting up the coffee maker I was thinking about a device I am making to cut rings more efficiently. Currently I use a jewelers saw.
It is like a coping saw, only with a much smaller blade. I can buy a machine that will cut my rings for about $500. It uses a circular saw blade connected to a motor to cut rings very fast. Of course, I don't have $5 extra in my pocket today, let alone $500.

I have been building a prototype machine in my head. I have gone through several designs and many failures without ever having to build the machine. I am very lucky in that way. I can do much of the trial and error in my mind without having to build it.

All the basic pieces for the machine are pretty simple and I have been picking them up here and there for a couple of weeks. So far my entire investment is about $25 or $30. I have almost everything I need to build my first working prototype. The most expensive piece is the blade. The blades cost anywhere from $8 to $15 each. The problem is most places have a $50 minimum order.

All and all I figure I will have less than $50 in the machine when I am done building it. It will save me a ton of time when cutting the rings I use to make chainmail. Today, while setting up the coffee pot, I figured out how to build my splash guard for the blade coolant system. Interesting how your mind can work when you have not completely woken up.

Monday, October 10, 2011

More Christmas Ornaments By Tangled Metal

Chainmail Christmas Ornaments by Tangled Metal on Etsy

Over the weekend I created a few more chainmail Christmas ornaments and added them to my shop. Later today I will be adding some chainmail Christmas jewelry as well. Christmas is going to be here before you know it.

Our tree is white. We decorate in silver and gold. We do put a little color into it but not much. We only use white lights. How do you decorate for Christmas? Do you use a lot of color? Do you decorate outside? Or do you not celebrate Christmas? What holiday if any do you celebrate?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall Is My Favorite!

I am happy that I live in an area that has such great fall colors that people come from all over to enjoy them. I live in the Northwest corner of Arkansas in a small town called Eureka Springs. You may of even heard of it. It is a tourist town so for 8 month out of the year the population is about 10,000 to 15,000 and the rest of the year it is only about 1500.

The fall colors here are very beautiful. Though this year we did not have near the normal rainfall, so, I am not sure if the leaves will make it to what they normally show. Time will tell. It is however starting to cool off. Lows in the 40s and highs in the 70s.

Fall has always been my favorite time of the year. I like the cooler weather. I like the sound of the leaves crunching underfoot. I guess there isn't much I don't like about fall. I just thought I would share that with all of you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Steampunk Designs from Tangled Metal

Sometimes it is better to join them than to try and beat them. Though I do a lot of one of a kind steampunk designs, they are very different from the mainstream. I decided to do a few designs that are mainstream but fit with my unique design style. Here are three from my latest works.
This one is made from a vintage Bulova watch. You see a lot of Steampunk jewelry using recycled clockworks like these. 

This one has a honey bee pendant and some gears from turn of the century clocks. It is simple but very fun.

This one uses pocket watch parts from the mid 1800s. It is different than most but still a great set of jewelry.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Etsy Finds Features My Chainmail

I went to the post office this morning to mail some packages. I just happened to look at  my stats on Etsy before I went. I had 42 views and 5 favorites. That isn't too bad for 11:00am. When I got home, I was still on the stats page so I hit reload. I had 189 views and 19 favorites. That was a huge jump for being away for only an hour.

My stats showed a lot of links from email so I go and look at my email and see that the Etsy Finds Newsletter is in my box. I open it up but I don't see anything until I click the "Click Here To See Complete Message" and low and behold one of my Chainmail Coif's is featured under the Halloween Section.

It is really cool to be featured in an Etsy newsletter. I was featured a while back in the Etsy Wedding newsletter for another one of my coif's. The amount of traffic to my store is very cool. I thought I would share my excitement with all of you. You can click on the picture at the beginning of this post to see the newsletter.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Very Cool Chenille Halloween Ornaments On Etsy 

For me Halloween is a love/hate relationship. You see, my birthday is November 1st, so, I never really had a birthday party when I was a kid. It was always a Halloween party. It is kind of hard to enjoy a birthday party when everyone dresses up every year for your party! Of course, I grew out of having parties for by birthday long ago.

I like things a little dark and creepy. I like skeletons and black cats and carved pumpkins. I love just about everything there is at Halloween except candy corn. I think I may have OD'd on candy corn when I was a kid.

Anyhow, Halloween is right around the corner and I have no idea if I will dress up or not. I usually don't dress up but maybe this year I will. Do you dress up for Halloween? If so, what was your favorite costume as an adult?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Whistle While You Work!

I have been adding many items to my shop. I am up to 181 listings as of the time I write this post. I am trying to get as many items up as I can to give everyone plenty of choices when the Holiday season rolls around. It won't be long. I have taken pictures of about 25 more items and will be getting those listed this week.

I enjoy making chainmail and Steampunk items. For me it is less like work and more like fun for the most part. It is a good thing to love what you do. Since I have been making chainmail for over 25 years it is often times difficult for me to create new items. I tend to make a lot of what I think is good as well as things that I think will sell.

My wonderful girlfriend, Rachel, brought to my attention that I should make things other than what I think would sell. She gave me some projects to do that will be up in the shop soon. I wanted to ask you what you would like to see me make in chainmail. Leave me a comment with your suggestions. Who know, if you come up with a great new product I might just send you one for the idea.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Christmas Is Coming!

Chainmail Covered Christmas Ornaments On Etsy

Christmas will be here before you know it. I decided to get a little bit of an early start and create some new items for my shop. I am trying to think outside the box and create items with chainmail that are Holiday specific. My first addition are the above chainmail covered Christmas ornaments. I plan to make a few more of these in different sizes as well.

I already have a few chainmail ornaments in mind and will be trying those out this week. I am going to attempt a chainmail wreath in the next few days, we'll see how that turns out. I am going to start working with anodized aluminum rings for chainmail. Actually I already started. I made a few pair of earrings in different colors and they turned out pretty cool so I plan to expand very soon. That should help make Christmas items easier.

Anyhow, I am going to start posting blogs more often here. I know I have been neglecting it lately. I have had a lot on my plate, as always. I am starting to take my own advice and managing my time better.

What are you doing for the Holidays? Got plans?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

ArtFire Featured Artisan

Over the weekend I was the Featured Artisan on ArtFire. Being a Holiday weekend I did not see much if any increase in traffic. It was still a pretty cool honor. If you would like to read the interview here is the link: Featured Artisan on ArtFire: Eric Young of Tangled Metal

Anyhow, I thought I would share. I hope all of you had a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Lot Of Things In The Works

It is once again time to do the monthly show. Last month we decided it was just too hot. The heat index was over 110 and was going to be quite miserable. Tomorrow looks promising at just 96. I have been creating a lot of new stock for the show, so, hopefully I will make a little bit of money tomorrow.

I have also been busy with a couple of new projects. I started a new blog helping people to understand SEO and marketing for small business. It has really taken off and has taken a lot of my time. If you are interested here is the link: Market My Shop

I am starting to work on my chainmail Christmas ornaments. I should have some pictures up sometime next week. They will be quite different from the usual ornaments.

That is about it. I need to write more blog posts here but sometimes I get so busy making chainmail that I don't have the time. Any suggestions?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Knightly Teddy Bears

Knightly Teddy Bears on Etsy

I used to make these years ago and recently remembered that I did. I guess over the years you sometimes forget some of the things that you have created. I am actually missing a couple of old photo albums with all kinds of stuff that I used to create. Maybe I will find them, in the meantime I have to rely on my mind.

Knightly Teddy Bears on ArtFire

These fun loving bears are wearing custom made suits of chainmail armor. Each one is a little different and very cute. The chainmail is made from aluminum so as not to way down the bears.

These guys range from 6 1/2 inches to 7 1/2 inches. They come in five different colors. If you have a bear that needs a suit of armor let me know and I will give you a quote. I also make armor for other types of dolls and stuffed animals. I will be adding more types of chainmail suited animals soon.

With the holidays coming up these little teddy bears make a perfect gift for kids aged 5 years old to 105 years old. You don't need a holiday to give one of them as a gift. They will certainly brighten anyone's mood. That is it for today's blog post. Let me know what you think!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Time For Halloween Costumes

Halloween is fast approaching and it will be here before you know it. With the kiddos off to school it is time to start thinking about costumes for the kids and for you. You do know that you are never too old to dress up, right? Here are some fun costume pieces I found on Etsy.
Cute Owl Costume on Etsy

Wonder Woman Costume on Etsy

Gothic Wings on Etsy

Ladybug Costume on Etsy

Knight Costume on Etsy
Okay, so I cheated a little bit and added one of the items I made. There are tons of really cool Halloween Costumes on Etsy. Have a look and see what is there. What do you plan to dress up as this Halloween. I'd like to know.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Results Of My Giveaway On Facebook

Congratulations to Tarra Hamby and Joshua Ketrman, winners of  the Tangled Metal Facebook Page 250 fans giveaway. I gave away two prizes. The choices were either one of my world famous chainmail hacky sacks or a pair of my chainmail earrings. They both chose earrings. I will be doing another giveaway once the page gets to 500 fans. As of the writing of this there are currently 281 fans. Please help spread the word.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Times, They Are A Changing.

Over the weekend ArtFire made some major changes. They redesigned how the artist's studios looked. They also did a few other things on their side to make things easier to find and navigate and make for an easier checkout process. I think the changes are very nice. Of course with any kind of change comes a bit of a period of adjustment.

ArtFire was smart enough to pick days that had the least amount of traffic for their changes. There were a few bugs and they have been working through them. A few more days and they should have it all worked out. The staff at ArtFire worked late into the evening several days in a row to make this all happen.

I just want to say that I appreciate the diligence they have shown in trying to make our shops look and work better. If you have a moment, stop by my shop on ArtFire and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Too Hot For Chainmail

As I write this it is currently 108 with a heat index of 112. It is too hot for chainmail, just look at my apprentice in the pic above. But seriously, it is really hot, really, really hot. I do not like it Sam I am.

I moved to the Ozark Mountains because the average summertime temperature was listed as 95. Okay, that is not the reason but it was one reason. This has been the hottest summer on record for Northwest Arkansas. That follows one of the wettest springs on record. I have heard that there is record cold and snow predicted for the winter.

Hey Mother Nature, lighten up will ya? I was born and raised in Texas so hot isn't new to me. I remember the summer of 1980. It was 117 in the shade and there were 41 days when the temperature never dropped below 100. That was hot. It was a heat wave.

I was scheduled to do an outdoor show tomorrow. I opted to stay home and not get sick from setting up a tent and tables and all the chainmail. Just in case you had no idea, it is very difficult to sell jewelry and armor when you get a second degree burn from trying it on. 

Oh well, it is supposed to get over 100 for the next 5 days in a row. I will try not to go out much. I guess I will be working on making more jewelry and armor. It isn't all bad, at least my A/C unit is new and has been keeping up pretty well.

How is the weather where you are?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tangled Metal Is Giving Away Chainmail!

Tangled Metal's world famous Chainmail Hacky Sack
I decided to do a little giveaway when I reach 250 "Likes" on the Tangled Metal Facebook Page. It isn't a contest because there are no requirements. Once I have 250 people liking the page I will select two people at random to receive a free gift. The winners will be able to choose from the chainmail hacky sack pictured above or a custom pair of chainmail earrings.

If this works out well, I will be doing a giveaway for every 250 fans I get on Facebook. But I need your help to spread the word. At the writing of this blog I am at 223. Please share this info with anyone you might think would like my work.

I have been making chainmail for over 25 years. I love making it. I love coming up with new designs and patterns. I also enjoy making things that I have made over and over again in my 25 years in the craft. Even though the earrings look alike, each one is a little different.

I put a little bit of myself into each and every piece that I create. Some of my designs took many years to perfect. I have stumbled upon new and interesting weaves and designs by accident more than a few times. Someone asked me recently which of the items I was most proud of from everything that I have ever made. I answered them the small scrap of chainmail made from coat hangers from the very first attempt at chainmail. That was over 25 years ago. I look back it it every now and then and think about the amount of time it took to make that small scrap.

Today it would tame me minutes compared to the days it took back then. Anyhow, the reason I wrote this blog was not to revisit the past but to look forward to the future. If you are not already a fan of the Tangled Metal Facebook Page, please take a moment and go "Like" it. If you are already a fan, pass the word on to all your friends. Who knows, you may just get some free chainmail.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tangled Metal On Etsy Front Page With Steampunk Pendant

Click to see the treasury featuring one of Tangled Metal's items
Yes, it happened again, one of my items was on the front page. Well, actually it was an alternate for the front page. Meaning that I was in the treasury but my item wasn't on the front page. That is okay because I did pick up over 100 item views from it and maybe a few views to the whole shop.
Tangled Metal's "Mechanical Sea" Steampunk Pendant on Etsy
The Steampunk pendant is one of my earlier works. I really enjoyed making it as I do all of my pendants. I have been making chainmail for over 25 years but I only recently started making other forms of jewelry. I am learning the art of silver smithing from my father. He has been making jewelry for more than 45 years. I do not yet use a torch for soldering so all of my pieces currently feature rivets or wire for connecting. I do not use any glue in any of my metal work.

I have had two items on the front page on Etsy. It is a great feeling to see your work and to know that many people will see it as well. The pendant is still available as of the writing of this post, but if you click on it and it is sold when you read this, rest assured there are many other Steampunk pendants and brooches in my shop.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Reaching Your Goals Through Mini Goals.

The tortoise and the hare is a great example of how to reach your goal. If you asked the hare what his goal was before the race he would have said "To win!" Had you asked the tortoise he would have said "I plan to go slow and steady and put one foot in front of the other until I reach the finish line. I plan to stay focused and meet each obstacle and overcome it while always moving forward."

Well, okay, maybe they would not have said anything like that at all. The point is if you set your goals high without a plan it is just as bad as not setting a goal at all. I have to write my goals down. I then try to imagine the path to reach my goal. I tend to write a flowchart like path. I then look at each of the mini goals that lead to the end result. If those goals are too big I break them down even further.

I do not always reach my main goal but I do manage to meet many of the smaller ones along the way. I also learn from each of my mistakes. My biggest flaw is seeing the timeline. What I sometimes think will take a month may take a year. Perhaps I am overly optimistic sometimes. I am working on that.

This week I have set a goal of getting 2000 "Likes" on the Tangled Metal Facebook Page. When I set the goal I was at 143 followers. That was three days ago. Today I am up to 153. It seems like a very unreachable goal if you look at it overall. However, I have set the goal of having 200 followers by the end of the next weekend. 47 Likes seem a lot easier to reach than 1947 followers.

I have set a plan in motion and I am going to stick to the plan and reevaluate after the weekend. I will let you know how it goes. If you would like to help me reach my goal go to the Tangled Metal Facebook Page and "Like" it and share it with all of your followers. What are your long term goals. What short term goals have you set to make it to your long term goal? I would really like to know. Please leave me a comment and maybe we can help one another.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What Will You Do When The Zombie Apocalypse Starts?

Zombies have become pretty mainstream. From Toshiba laptops to Honda zombie driver commercials it would seem that they are the next big thing. But have you ever stopped to think about the possibility of it actually happening, the zombie apocalypse, that is? It would seem that there are some who take it pretty seriously.

The CDC was recently shown in a poor light on AMC's The Walking Dead. The CDC actually decided to create a zombie preparedness guide. I am not kidding. They actually created it. The idea is that if you can be prepared for the zombie apocalypse you will be prepared for anything. They made it out to be a bit of a joke, but it is a great way to make sure you are ready for any emergency.

The truth is, a zombie apocalypse is probably not going to happen. The idea has been around for many years and noting even close has happened. It may just be all fun and games and a way to sell laptops but I think the zombie craze is pretty cool. I will continue to watch the movies and commercials and try to be prepared.

What are you doing to prepare? I'd like to know what you think of the popularity of zombies today.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I Love My Wonderful Daughter!

Me and my beautiful daughter Rowan
In light of recent news I wanted to just make a short post to say just how much I love my daughter. She stays with me four months or so at a time and four months or so at a time with her mother. She is now 16 years old, but I don't have the typical problems that most parents have with a teenager.

Rowan Elizabeth has rarely ever been in trouble of any kind. I have never had to ground her let alone punish her in any form. She made all A's when she was in school and now that she is home-schooled she continues to learn everything she can. She's smart, very smart.

I love my daughter very much. She is kind of taking after me in a way. She has already started making very cool hand sewn plushies.  I am trying to talk her into opening up an Etsy shop and as soon as that happens I will let all of you know. Never forget to tell your children how much you love them.

Anyhow, I just wanted to write this little bit about my daughter. Do you have any children? If so, leave a comment and tell me something that you love about them.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Birthday America!

Happy Birthday America. There is no place I would rather live. What I love about this country is hard to put into words. So, here are some images that say it far better than I could ever voice.

Lake Ouachita, Arkansas
1967 Ford Mustang Shelby Cobra GT500
American Comic Books
American movies
There are many more things I love about America but this page could end up with way too many pictures, so I will stop and ask you a question. What do you love about the country that you live in?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chainmail Is A Nerd's Best Friend

Chainmail Dice Bag by Tangled Metal on Etsy
It is true, I am a nerd. I am geeky. I love Sci-Fi and Fantasy. That is probably the why I started making chainmail in the first place. Only someone who has played Dungeons and Dragons could create the chainmail dice bag in the photo above. Sometimes the nerd in me takes over and there is very little I can do to stop it.

Chainmail Hacky Sack by Tangled Metal on ArtFire
It would seem that chainmail dice bags were not enough for me. I had to go and create a chainmail hacky sack. Now I will not take credit for being the first one to make one. I will however say that before I made my first one I had never seen anyone else make one. I had seen some juggling balls but they were quite a bit larger. About a year after I started selling these at Renaissance Fairs and shops, I started seeing them all the time.

Chainmail Coif With Mantle by Tangled Metal on Etsy
The above picture shows why I really got into making chainmail in the first place. I wanted to make armor for myself. I read The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy and the Hobbit when I was 12 or 13 years old. I wanted to be like the warriors in the books. I wanted to wear armor and wield a sword. I wanted to be like them. It is funny that I ended up the guy who makes the armor and not the guy who wears it.

Something Blue Chainmail Necklace by Tangled Metal on Etsy
As time went on I started making chainmail jewelry. There were many other chainmaillers out there making jewelry but I wanted to set myself apart from them. I started making things that I thought people would like to wear outside of just the Renaissance Fair. I wanted to create items that were everyday wear.

When I was on the Renaissance Fair circuit I would only have about six months with each new design before I started seeing them done by others. This gave me the opportunity to create new designs on a regular basis. I had to stay ahead of the game. And I did for many years.

I retired from the life of being on the road after the events of 9/11. Traveling just did not seem safe to many people and it was evident by the decline of patrons at the Renaissance Fairs. Though I sometimes miss being on the road I am happy to be in one location where I do not have to wear a costume or fake an accent. Being in one place has also made it much easier to create new items and designs.

Steampunk Pendant "Time Lord" by Tangled Metal on Etsy
As seen with this picture I have branched out from Medieval Times to the Victorian and Edwardian era. I guess the nerd in me will never die. Steampunk is my newest love. I take that back. I have always loved Steampunk but it hasn't always had a name. I do enjoy creating the pendants and brooches.

My father is going to retire from being a school teacher next year. He is going to teach me silver smithing. So, I guess I better get to selling some jewelry and armor so that I can afford to buy some silver. I am looking forward to learning a new trade that will help me with my current one.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Eureka Springs, Arkansas - I Live Here

As far as small quirky towns go, Eureka Springs, Arkansas has them all beat. Located in the heart of the Ozark Mountains you might expect a town full of hillbillies. You couldn't be further from the truth. The residents of this town are as odd as the town itself. I include myself in the oddballs of this town.

The town was established sometime around 1881. On the surface it is a quaint Victorian village. Digging deeper you find that it is a community full of artists and craftsman. There are tons of Art Galleries and retail shops all through down town.

I moved here the first time in 1994. It was a busy time then. The economy was booming and tourism was up. The local newspaper was full of want ads and very few places for rent. A lot has changed since those days. The economy is down and there are three times as many for rend ads as help wanted but the charm is still the same.

One of the main reasons I moved here is because I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to work with metal and make chainmail. I have worked many jobs here in the years I have been here. Some jobs I hated and some I loved. I even became a master stone mason while working here.  I love being here making my art. I can hardly imagine a better place to live and I have lived many places all over the United States.

If you ever make it near North West Arkansas, stop by my little town and see for yourself how cool it is. See how it does not seem like you are in Arkansas at all. It is a place all to its own.