Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thursday Spotlight On: Eric Young of Tangled Metal

Eric is a metal smith and April's Army team member, who I see everywhere in the team forums. He's continually commenting, being active and supportive toward the other team members. After reading 'The Lord of the Rings' series, at thirteen, he decided he wanted to make himself a set of chainmail for himself. Twenty five years later, he's made dozens of suits of armor for other people, all kinds of cool chainmail items and has expanded into the all-too-awesome territory of steampunk items and still has yet to make a suit of chainmail for himself.

Mechanical Crow Pendant

Tell us three things about yourself.
1. I come from a long line of metal smiths and stone masons. My ancestry is mostly Irish and Scottish but I was born in America.
2. I am a Master Stone Mason and Master Armorer. I hope to one day be a Master Metal Smith.
3. I am a professional stage technician. I have worked with touring Broadway shows to Heavy Metal concerts. I can run sound, video, stage curtains, and hand set pieces.

What’s your medium and how did you get into it?
I am primarily a chainmail artist. I started when I was 13 by taking coat hangers out of my closet and making rings and linking them together. That was how it started. Over the years I have worked for museums, movies, stage plays, reenactors and plenty of other people making chainmail from armor to jewelry. I recently started making Steampunk jewelry and am having a lot of fun creating things from recycled antique and vintage clocks, pocket watches and hand watches.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?
I like my 3D chainmail items the best. I do not have any of them in my shop at the moment, but I have made all kinds of creatures and such. I am working on a line of 3D chainmail to add to my shop soon.

From where do you take inspiration?
I am inspired from many things from nature to movies. I like to be challenged. It is great when someone asks if something can be made in chainmail. I say yes, then I create it.

Name one piece of art you wish you’d created and why?
Cher wore a chainmail dress once. I really wish it had been mine. I would be a lot more famous and probably a little better off had that happened.

Birdcage Chainmail Bracelet

What are you doing when you’re not crafting?
Well, up until the beginning of April I was working a 9 to 5 job that was more like 7 to 7. It paid the bills. After the layoff, I have been making as much as possible and hoping that it will start to pay the bills before I run out of money.

If you had to give up your medium and pursue another, what would it be and why?
I am not sure what I would do. I did take a break from my art for a while and did a few other things. I learned how to run sound equipment and worked with stage and such. I am not really interested in trying to learn anything from scratch. My father is a silver/gold smith. I guess I would start apprenticing with him and learn more about how to make things with torches and precious metals.

Tell us about a time you were making something that came out better than expected and how it happened.
That would be tough. I have made so many things. I guess my first full chainmail shirt came out quite a lot better than I expected. It was also one of my very first pieces. Coat-hanger-mail! The shirt sold before it was even finished. That was pretty shocking.

Who is one person living or dead, famous or not, who you wish owned one of your creations and why?
See the above answer about Cher.

How would you explain how to do what you do to an eight year old?
Funny enough, 8 year olds understand what I do better than adults. For them learning is just a part of who they are so it is easy for them to understand. I have shown several young kids how to make chainmail and they pick it up quick.

Chainmail Dice bag

What’s your favorite part of the process?
The end result is always my favorite part. Taking a pile of rings and organizing them into a piece of jewelry or armor is quite satisfying.

One random thing you think people should know.
Though compliments are very nice they do not pay the bills. :)

Your shop address/facebook/Twitter/blog/website. Etc.

If you could go anywhere in the world, at any era in time, for one week, where and when would you go and why?
I would have to say sometime during the Victorian or  Edwardian era. I have always loved those time periods and would love to get more inspiration for my Steampunk jewelry.

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