Yeah, ok, so this is a bit of a promo post. But still!
I’m offering 20% off all orders over £10 on my Etsy shop this weekend, and if you’re nice to me I might extend it to custom orders too. 😉
“Your Etsy shop,” you ask. “Where do I find that?”
Well, my dears, you can just go to www.victoriaxsol.etsy.com and voila! You’re there! 😀 All you need to do is input the code BLACKFRIDAY at checkout and you’ll get your 20% off until the end of Cyber Monday (the 30th). (Actually, knowing me, I probably won’t turn the code off until Tuesday morning, so do try your luck then as well. 😛 )
I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to update in ages, but if you’ve been following me across social media you’ll know that I am one of the selected few chosen to represent Amazon Handmade from the very beginning!
One question I get a lot as a chainmailler is “So how long does it take you to make a bracelet?” When I tell people, they tend to go wide-eyed. Some people are under the impression that I buy the maille in sheets and only roll it up and hook it together. Nooo. This is all made from individual rings. I would say I slave over my workbench, but truth is I love doing it and it never actually feels like work. Having said that, though, I’ve spent practically the entire day on one bracelet which is still not finished, so my brain went a little weird…
This is how far I got Tuesday.
So naturally I’ve been posting my progress on Instagram. (Follow me! 😀 ) And answering questions. Like “How long did it take you…?”
This one has so far taken me two albums by Poets of the Fall, one by Saint[the]Sinner, two Sugarcult ones, a Trust Company one and I’m on the second by Vampire Weekend. And there was a mixed playlist in there somewhere as well. And counting. So we’ll see!!!
(I took half an album’s break after typing that. So I guess the second Vampire Weekend one doesn’t fully count.)
I was going to schedule this post for tomorrow (Thursday), but my brain is so tired I can’t figure out verb tenses and day sequences, so you’re getting it Wednesday evening instead. Yay!
Have some more pictures of the process while I’m at it. As of posting, the last picture is up to date. 🙂
As some of you know, I’m fairly active in one of the biggest chainmaille groups on Facebook. A few days ago, I decided to make a little game for us obsessive maillers to play – all in good fun and to laugh at ourselves and our weird habits.
The game is simply a list of common things for a chainmailler to experience, with various points values attached. I haven’t balanced it out to hit a round number, and the number of list items is 37 in the end, but for those of you who have some knowledge of maille, or even jewellery making in general, this will probably sound very, very (very!) familiar.
So without further ado – on to the points gathering!
1. Dreams about maille – 5pts
2. Sleep walked to your work station – 10pts
3. Slammed pliers down in anger – 5pts
4. Thrown pliers or half finished projects – 10pts
5. Made rings fly – 1pt
6. Made half finished projects fly (without throwing them!) – 10pts
7. Knows five weaves without looking at the tutorial – 5pts
8. Knows 20 weaves without a tut – 20pts
9. Knows weaves whose name you can’t even remember! – 25pts
10. Has five unfinished projects on the go – 5pts
11. Has 20 unfinished projects on the go – 10 pts
12. Has 5+ bags/boxes/bowls of unfinished projects – 50pts
13. Found rings on the floor – 5pts
14. Found rings on the pet – 15pts
15. Found rings in the shower / toaster / cup of Coffee / other insane place – 20pts
16. Has a mailling specific music or video playlist – 5pts
17. Played a spot-the-chainmaille drinking game – 10pts
18. Made armour – 10pts
19. …For a soft toy – 20pts
20. …For a pet – 25pts
21. Made your own picture/banner out of maille – 20pts
22. Has war wounds / scars / permanent injuries from mailling – 10pts
23. Makes own rings – 15pts
24. Has a pliers collection bigger than the cutlery drawer – 25pts
25. Has a bigger supply of rings than food at any given time – 15pts
26. Can use more than two pairs of pliers at the same time (juggling included) – 50pts
27. Poked self in the face/nose/eyes with pliers – -5pts
28. Makes Freudian slips with maille jargon – 15pts
29. Named pet after chainmaille (weave, jargon, etc) – 25pts
30. Named kid after chainmaille – 100pts
31. Considers two hours of sleep to be perfectly acceptable in exchange for 12 hours’ mailling time – 1pt
32. Can identify wire gauge on sight – 15pts
33. Has worn out more than five pairs of pliers – 20pts
34. …In one year – 50pts
35. Drinks more cold Coffee/tea/”hot” drinks than fresh ones due to maille – 10pts
36. Can make at least one weave blindfolded – 25pts
37. Can make five or more weaves blindfolded – 50pts
So I was asked to write up a blog post which would start a blog challenge for the Brighton Etsy (#btnetsy) Team, all about tools and how I work and all that good stuff. This is my attempt at making a few starting point questions without making it sound too much like an interview. 🙂
Show us a picture of your work station.
It’s never usually this tidy!
This is the small area in which I make all my chainmaille. It’s about the size of a third to half a desk, with the laptop to my right, Coffee cup within easy reach and tools and supplies scattered around in a “creative” way.
The cardboard boxes you see are the containers I use to keep my rings from being swept onto the floor, and the like. I keep the rings in zip lock bags when I store them, but they need to be in easy reach when I work. Hence cardboard boxes and lids!
The desk itself has definitely seen better days. It has paint stains, bits of glue that won’t come off and even knife marks from cutting plastic. Not to mention the marks I’ve intentionally put on it, which measure out the most common bracelet sizes so I won’t have to always bring out the tape measure. It’s a good desk, though. I like it. 🙂
What are your favourite tools, and how do you use them?
My favourite tools are my pliers. You can see them in the above picture, with the blue handles. They’re hardware shop pliers rather than jewellery pliers, but they work great for my purposes. I use them to open and close each ring individually, weaving them together into the beautiful patterns of chainmaille. I even have a video showing how to do one particular weave!
What time of day or night do you do your best creative work?
My favourite creative time is somewhere between 2am and 5am. Just around 3am I hit my peak. Unfortunately I live in the real world and I can’t help but appreciate sunlight, so I don’t work during that time much. In practice I work during the day. Probably around 11am-2pm for the creative stuff, with admin and other boring things surrounding it. Then I get a second wind in the late afternoon – early evening and do some more. 🙂
Do you prefer working in silence, with music or with something else as secondary entertainment?
I prefer working with music on. I have several playlists, but my most used one is one simply called “Metal”. Lately I’ve been listening a lot to Vanity Draws Blood, Prolong the Agony and Saint[the]Sinner, all sort-of-local bands who are really, really good. (Check them out. 😉 )
I also keep the TV on if I’m not listening to music. I’ll be watching a sci-fi show or Mythbusters, or something else that doesn’t take too much concentration. I don’t work well in silence. I think it’s a psychological thing.
Describe how you structure your work
I really, really don’t! I try to fit in everything I need to do in a day, but it rarely works. Between creative work, admin work, social media and general household chores, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I’ve been thinking of trying to adhere to a schedule (I even made one!) but my brain just doesn’t work like that. I fail miserably, and then spend time feeling bad about it rather than, you know, working. Humans. Pah. Honestly. 🙂
I hope this has given you some more insight into the enigma that is yours truly. I’m a simplistically complex person, and everything makes sense in my head, honest. Hopefully some words work together in coherence in writing as well!
If you’re a Brighton Etsy person and want to join in with the challenge, just copy the questions from here or the forum and make your own post. And please do comment with the link. I’d love to read it! 🙂
If you hadn’t guessed by the amount of rainbow and other Pride things I make, Victoria Sol Jewellery is a big supporter of LGBTQ rights. (LGBTQ, you ask? Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer, it stands for. I’m hoping the inclusion of the Q will encompass everyone else who fits under the umbrella. I don’t like leaving people out!)
I’m going to refrain from going all political on you (although you know I want to), and just celebrate in the spirit of Pride instead. Pride parades and parties around the world are so important. It makes us visible. It shows that being gay, bi, trans or otherwise queer is a normal thing and that we deserve acceptance the same as everyone else.
And now the season starts! Summer is a great time for Pride. Sun, warmth, lots of skin for those who like that… 😉
I looked up a few important dates for you, because everyone should be aware of these events. Pride parades around the country! London – 27 June Brighton – 1 August Manchester – 29 August
Yeah, so I was going to write a blog post, but then the postie came by and gave me a package of dice. Dice!!! Yay!!! I’ve not been waiting that long for them, but the anticipation was massive nonetheless. And now I must immediately make stuff, so, er, see you next week? 🙂
I lost my internet connection today. When I got out of bed and went to the computer, I couldn’t connect to anything. Here follows a log I wrote to keep my sanity while cut off from the world.
Hour 1 without Internet
I feel vaguely lost, is if a part of me is gone. I can’t check Facebook. I can’t go on Etsy. I can’t even watch Netflix! The latter realisation hit me hard. That was my backup plan. I suppose I’ll have to resort to… dee-vee-dees. I vaguely remember the concept of these things. We’ll see if I can figure out how to use them.
My boyfriend is almost as confused as I am. He told me the oven doesn’t require the internet, so he can still cook something. I remain unconvinced.
Addendum: I can’t even check my ***** email!!!!!
Hour 2 without Internet
I have put my laptop to sleep, finally. I kept it on, just in case, but I fear the Internet will take its time coming back to me. Oh, Internet. Why did I not appreciate you more when I had access?
The boyfriend is trying to make the home network come to life, so we can watch videos from his computer on the TV. The desperation in his voice is clear. Something must stream! Unfortunately his computer is laughing at us both and refusing to transmit the right files. I feel like all technology has turned against us. It makes me fearful.
Addendum: The oven is spreading smoke all over the kitchen. I told him it wouldn’t work without the Internet.
Hour 3 without Internet
The Kitty has come to me, complaining that her wi-fi is down. She must have used up her 3G data allowance. She will not accept that I cannot help her. The entire household is falling apart.
I am watching Captain America. They have an Internet connection. That’s so unfair.
Hour 4 without Internet
I have resorted to the ancient technology of dee-vee-dees. Good thing I’ve kept these things around. Score one for the hoarding tendencies!
The Internet is back! Praise Jove, Zeus, Odin and all the others! If there is a god of technology, I shall build a shrine to her.
It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to most of you that I’m the geeky sort. I own an Xbox 360, I watch sci-fi shows, and board games are one of my favourite things to do in the evening. I suppose you could call my chainmaille another geeky pursuit, but that one depends on your point of view.
So far I’ve been using maille to make jewellery almost exclusively. There are some keyrings as well, so I include “accessories” in my descriptions of my business, but in general it’s been wearable art. Now, for the first time, I’ve tried something a bit different.
I’ve started to make chainmaille pouches.
“A chainmaille pouch,” I can hear you say, “What’s that good for?” Well, what would you use a pouch in general for? One of the primary uses, out there, is as a dice bag. (Are you starting to see why I introduced this with some geekery?) Lots of tabletop gamers carry a collection of dice around. If you’re a role playing gamer, you might need a few different kinds of dice. If you’re a tabletop wargamer, you might just need a whole bunch of D6s. And if you’re not a tabletop gamer, you might have no idea what I’m talking about!
This one took a very long time to make.
Not to worry. Pouches can be used for so much else. You could use it as an unusual coin purse. You could use it as a make-up bag. You could carry around semi-precious tumble stones. Or anything else that takes your fancy.
Making these pouches has been a nice break for me. I’m not bored with jewellery by any stretch, but it’s always interesting to expand my skills!
You wouldn’t believe how tiny this thing is!
Now I just need to get this obsession with making them out of my system, and then maybe there will be more new ideas. 🙂
For the moment I only make these as custom orders, although I’m sure some will appear in my shop eventually. If you want one before then, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can make one to your specifications!