Reflection In The Silver (rings, of course)

As the end of 2015 draws near, I like many have been pondering this last year. This is a-typical for me. Time is relative, and thus, I don’t tend to feel that the coming and going of a calendar year is significant.

This year is different. My life has been filled with so many substantial events that all I can do IS reflect.

2015 marked the soft launch of JohnsChains as a wholehearted business endeavor where I will continue to focus on my art as a career option; with the most recent months leading into a hard launch; setting myself up with a running start in 2016. Thanks to all of you, I have the motivation to follow through with these plans. Oh! I almost forgot, I have started an online facebook group called the Maille Weavers Guild of Northern MN, so if you or anyone you know makes chainmaille and lives the Minneapolis area and up (I’m not very strict on the definition of Northern), send them my way!

But beyond JohnsChains, my personal life has been equally as momumental. Now, I won’t go into incredible details, as I DO like to keep some aspects of my personal life..well, personal, haha. However, the purpose of this wordpress website is to provide a platform in which to share more about myself so I am a real person to you and not just that “chainmaille guy” who sits behind a table bending metal like some sort of machine.

Within the last several months I lost someone who previously, I considered the love of my life. That also meant I lost a second family.

Two weeks later, my youngest OLDER sister got married which was an absolutely fabulous event full of joy and dancing.

A week later, my grandfather passed away..needless to say, after all of these ups and downs, I was absolutely worn to the bone. BUT life goes on. I got back on my feet, poured everything into my chainmaille and my job at FedEx – where I was recently given a full-time position, and meeting new people. I have met such a tremendous amount of fabulous new people that I can easily call my chums! Among these peope, is someone I’ve taken a mild interest in, so we’ll just see where that goes, I suppose. ; )

“And so, without further gilding the lily, and no more adieu..” (A knight’s Tale)

Here is to 2015 and all the it took from us, while always giving us more in return! I raise my horn to all of those who stood by me through turmoil – my family, Adam, Tina, Eden, Cody, Travis, Nick  (for drinking with me at the Ren fest, with his wife and friends and showing me a good time).

And I drink to welcome all of those fantastic new-comers to my life, and to those who have been brought back into my life; Rachel, Keila, Josh, Jasmin, Stephanie, Katherine, Emily, Corey and his band, Maddie, Emi, Evan, Tristan, Alecks, Dan Krueger, Eden, Nick, Dan Swenson, and Fisher. (And to anyone else I may have missed! Sorry!)

Onward to 2016 and all it has to offer, whether it be good or bad! Bring it on, I’m ready.

“I am not afraid. I was born to do this” – Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc)

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Thank You.

I’ve got a confession to make. Right now, I am absolutely astounded. I’ve been making chainmaille since I was just about 14 – for the better part 10 years. When I started, I was instantly enthralled with it. I had to make MORE and MORE and bigger and better projects. It was purely a hobby. I began selling my pieces just so I could afford to flesh out my personal projects without going broke.

Within the last two years, I decide it was time to take my art to the next level. I didn’t want this to be just a hobby anymore. I wanted to make a living off of chainmaille. While I know that isn’t easily feasible and will take a lot of time and effort to get to that point, I started pointing myself in that direction anyway. I started boosting my social media presence, my presence in the community with more local shows, grant writing and the fourth of July parade, and marketing my products more aggressively.

This last year has been real eye opening. A lot has changed in my life, but it is allowing me to focus more on my chainmaille as a career. I am now in 4 shops in two states. I have a fully developed Etsy shop, and I am starting to take on more art shows. This is all useless, however, if I don’t have any customers. So, finally, I’m at the point of this whole blog post. You. If it weren’t for all of you, I would have nothing; and lately, I have been absolutely blown away by you and your faith in me. Your investment in my future.

Holidays by Hand this year was easily my most successful year at this show; despite other vendors having a hard time. Largely because of MANY returning customers and several new ones! This year has also marked the success of my Etsy shop. For several years after its creation, I hadn’t had a SINGLE SALE. 2015 has produced at least one sale per month, and now 5 sales in December ALONE. While I am still a VERY long way from full-time maille weaver, All I can say is ‘wow’. Thank you. I promise to keep creating chainmaille at the highest quality I can offer and I will never skimp on the customer service. If you ever have a problem with anything you’ve purchased from me, let me know. I am more than willing to discuss a solution. I also promise to keep coming up with new products and hopefully, some really neat big projects for your entertainment. Finally, I feel that I need to make a larger effort to be more involved in my local community, so 2016, I will be trying to brainstorm some ways I can get involved. If you have any ideas, be sure to let me know.

With all of my heart,
Thank You.

John Theroux
JohnsChains

Art in the Park!

July update!

The First Friday Art Crawl went pretty well, not the turn out we expected though. A lot of our regular supporters stopped by, so thank to everyone who did come and see us!
Two days later we were in the Bemidji 4th of July parade. The parade was awesome and was definitely more fun than we thought it would be! We actually won an award for Most Creative float. We will hopefully have more people to help us next year. There was eight of us and we could barely keep up with handing out stickers and candy.

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Now, we are preparing for Art in the Park taking place next weekend. Our whole living room is full of chainmaille and we are getting excited! We are hoping this will be our best year yet.

First Friday and Photo Shoot!

Hello!
The first weekend in July will be a busy one this year! Not only are we in the 4th of July Parade held on the 5th of July. On the 3rd we will be participating in the First Friday Art Walk here in Bemidji MN.  Basically, different businesses in town will host local artists to show their work in a self-guided art tour throughout the town.
You can look at the Watermark Art Center website for more information on all the different locations and who else will be featured.
The Least of These Boutique will be hosting us along with another artist. (whose name we don’t know yet) Be sure to check out their facebook page!

And! We did fun photo shoot the other day to show off some of our armor pieces so be sure to check it out in our NEW photo gallery!

Extra! Extra! read all about it!

Hello! We are very excited to announce that we will soon have jewelry in City Drug located International Falls. This will be the 3rd shop we have jewelry in, not including Etsy. Just a small selection of cross necklaces for now, but we are hoping they do well so that we can expand the available options later.

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   We are also planning something new this year. Joining forces with our friend and fellow chainmailler Dan Krueger, we will be walking in the 4th of July parade here in Bemidji, MN. So, if you live in the area and want to wear some of our chainmaille and help us out message John on our facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/JohnsChains

Be sure to check out Dan’s etsy page! https://www.etsy.com/shop/KreationsbyKruegers

Belts and Bronze

John has been busy preparing the silicon bronze rings for his grant project that he mentioned in his last post. To prepare the rings he uses pliers to partially open about half of the rings, and close the other half of the rings making the two ends flush. All together they will total to be around 60,000 rings for the Shirt, Coif and Mantle. 020

I have been working on something we haven’t done before, women’s belts. I am just starting off with a simple design to see if it is something that people are interested in.

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Also! This weekend we are beginning preparations for Art in the Park coming up in the middle of July. Keep an eye out on our facebook page for updates!