Thursday, June 2, 2011

Etsy Seller Q&A - Meet Eric of Tangled Metal

{Something Blue Necklace}
Why don't you start by telling the readers a little bit about yourself.
My name is Eric Young and I have been crafting with metal for a little over 25 years. My dad is a silver/gold smith and my grandfather was a gunsmith. There are also a lot of blacksmiths in my family line as well as masons. I am also a master stone mason.

Your Chainmail work is impeccable! How did you get starting working with metal?

It started with the coat hangers in my closet and no one willing or able to teach me how to make chainmail. I grew up in a small town in East Texas about two hours from Dallas. I relied on pictures from library books. There was no internet back then and VHS was quite expensive. We had a beta but there were not any movies that showed chainmail much back then.

Describe your studio...

Oh, what I wouldn't do for a studio! Currently I make most everything sitting on the couch. I know, it isn't very glorious, but it works. We live in a three bedroom and there just isn't enough room for a proper studio. The couch works fine for me though. I just put in a movie and open and close rings.

How soon after you started creating did you decide to turn your craft into a business?

Well, in a way it has always been a business. I only own a few small pieces of chainmail now after 25 plus years of making. I used to do it very full time in from the mid 90's to around 2002 when I retired. I had a really bad injury to my hand and the economy was pretty bad after 9/11. I only recently picked up the pliers and started back again. I wish I had 1/2 the client base that I did 10 years ago. Up until last month I worked a full time job that took 50 to 70 hours a week from me. I was laid off and now I am trying to get the business going once again.

What else do you like to do when you're not working on your crafts?

I love to mine for diamonds in Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. I have registered 8 genuine diamonds there in the last couple of years. A lot of people do not know about the park. Here is a link to the website: www.craterofdiamondsstatepark.com/   It makes a great vacation. I also enjoy caving and outdoor activities. Being a stone mason I also do a little landscaping on the side every now and then.

{Half Persican Bracelet}
What inspires you?

At the moment, the need to pay my utilities inspire me greatly, along with the desire to eat! All kidding aside, I am inspired by fantasy books and movies and just the Medieval and Renaissance periods in general. I used to be a merchant at Renaissance Fairs across the country and that was a lit of fun and inspiring.

 
What is the most difficult and your most favorite part of crafting as a business?

The most difficult part about crafting as a business is the uncertain nature of it all. It may be a 70 hour a week job but it may be weeks before you see that paycheck. You can have a really great week followed by a long dry spell. It is best if you have some form of constant income. My favorite part of crafting is the couch is my office. I do not have to dress up for work every day. I also set my own hours which are far more than my old 9 to 5 job.

What is your favorite: 
a) scent?   I love the smell of Virginia Pines at Christmas time.
b) movie? Too tough to call as it changes, but I LOVE the Hangover.
c) blog/website? I do not read a lot of blogs or surf all that much. I guess Etsy is my favorite site and I really enjoy the Onion and other parody sites.
d) guilty pleasure? I watch a lot of below b-grade horror movies, mostly zombie ones.

How long does it take you to finish a particular piece...take your Teal hand flower, for example 

In the beginning every piece would take hours to create because I was learning as I was going. My first shirt took several months. When I was in full production mode I could create a shirt in 2 days or so. I have learned many efficient ways to make things and make them fat. One thing I do is I try to always make at least 10 of an item at a time. Sometimes more. This helps the repetitive nature and makes it so I can do all of the bead wrapping at once, then all of the linking of the beads and then all of the bands and so on. It is impossible to tell how long one item would take these days.


Lastly, do you have any advice for fellow crafters/entrepreneurs just starting out?

Don't give up your day job. No, seriously, don't do it, no matter how much crafting work you are getting. If it gets to the point where you are having trouble keeping up, raise your prices until sales level out to a comfortable level. Today you may be getting 20 orders a day but you do not know what tomorrow will bring. And never lose your momentum. Once you lose it, it is nearly impossible to get it back. Oh and one last thing, buy your materials in bulk every chance you get. You save a lot of money that way.

Isn't his work gorgeous? You can check out Tangled Metal online, here:

22 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for your feature on me. I love your blog. Keep up the awesome work!

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  2. Great interview; I love his work!

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  3. Excellent feature ! I love your advice Eric (form someone who has 3 day jobs! lol)

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  4. It's always a pleasure to read Eric's features. And now I love this blog and have followed and subscribed. Thanks for this wonderful post.

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  5. Wonderful interview! I really love Eric's work and appreciate its intricate nature. Must be hell on the auld hands, though!

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  6. Interesting piece - I work from the couch too, all the best people do!

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  7. I definitely try to work from the couch when I can!

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  8. Great interview! Eric's work is absolutely gorgeous. I have one of his bracelets and a pair of earrings that I get compliments on all the time!

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  9. Great work, Eric! I do have the luxury of having a studio, but it is currently spilling into the dining room and living room - I think that more space just sometimes breeds more mess :) So excited to get the choker that you're making for me!!!

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  10. I've been a fan of your work, Metal, and this is a great review! GREAT advice for people just starting out, too :o)

    Keep up the Fabulousnesss!

    -Giggles

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  11. great interview! I really like the vacation idea, too!

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  12. Beautiful work! Thanks for sharing!

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  13. What a great interview! I can't believe how intricate your work is. Looks fantastic!

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  14. Fantastic interview, made us grin- so many similarities with how we work :)

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  15. Fantastic article! I love to hear peoples stories!

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  16. Way to go on getting featured! Interesting perspective on the "quit your day job" topic. Interesting read, and love your work!

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  17. Great interview, reminds me of me except the number of years I've been doing my jewelry is a lot less. Your stuff is so cool.

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  18. Lizone's JewelryJune 14, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    Love the interview and I love your work Eric....Clockwork Team...yay!

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  19. Dr Brassy here. I am a huge fan of Eric's. Hazzah!

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