Hidden link! Hidden link!I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun.
My name is Rich Suchoski, and maile is my "hobby". =)
It all started the beginning of my freshman year of college. I went to the Maryland Renaissance Festival, saw a shirt, and thought, 'I want a chainmaile shirt". The next summer, of 1997, I took 37 paperclips, a screwdriver (around which to wind the paperclips for coils), aviation snips (to cut the coils into links), a pair of pliers and a pair of quarters (to bend the links open and closed - I didn't have a second pair of pliers so I used quarters), and a week later I made the choker which I still have today. It needs much maintenance to keep it from rusting and staining clothing, so I don't recommend using paperclips for a first project. I definately recommend keeping the first project around so you can look at it once in a while and see how far you've progressed. And it's good luck to keep your first creation in your workshop.
From those humble beginnings I started inventing some patterns of my own, which I later found elsewhere in the world, already named and well known such as the byzantine and japanese 6-in-1 styles. I used 17 and 14 gauge galvanized steel fence wire from the local Southern States, bent it into roughly 3/16" inside diameter coils with the long shaft of a Craftsman 1/4" wood bit, and made a slave bracelet (aka hand flower), some bracelets and some necklaces. Later I used steel dowels from the local hardware store around which to wind my wire and made a shirt, a bra, handcuffs, some flails, and many other small samples of patterns, such as Persian 5-in-1, and creating my own, such as European-4-in-1-plus-1/2.
I now work mainly in 316L stainless steel, bright aluminium, epdm rubber, niobium, silver, and gold, mainly 1/4" inside diameter and smaller. My precision for link production is down to 64ths of an inch! I like to teach maile building classes, with some history thrown in, pro bono at libraries, Girl Scout, and Boy Scout meetings as a craft or to talk about entrepreneurship. I hope to cultivate an appreciation of how difficult it is to manipulate pliers to make maile, how long it takes to make even one single bracelet, re-enforce some popular images of maile to ultimately engender a knowledge and respect for history, and give kids something creative and constructive to do to keep them from roaming the streets at night.
Currently, I am selling my wares at a steady
circuit of festivals, such as Wine
in the Woods in addition to my other habit of sailing the consultan-seas, brewing, and closing out my paintball field.
The first week of June of 2007 marked the tenth year since I first picked up pliers .... and a pair of quarters.