Here’s a note from the “jolly ol’ elf”
Hello Dear Friend,
The cold dark winter here at the North Pole has ended and it is time for me to visit folks around the world. My first stop will be to visit my mid-Atlantic workshop in Olney, Maryland. While in Maryland, I will participate in a few athletic Charity events and run in the Cherry Blossom 10 mile race, the Race for Hope, the Race for the Cure and the Purple Stride race. I will also check-in on Olney Armorers where I am a Master Armorer and teach armor construction and chainmail jewelry. I learned these skills many years ago when some of my elves asked for chainmail shirts as props for their role playing games. At $800 each we could not afford to buy chainmail shirts. This was before the days of the internet, so we used a picture from a museum catalogue and a magnifying glass to teach ourselves how to make chainmail.
In August, I will be visiting Searsport Maine where I will be teaching chainmail, macrame and cartoon character design. As you may remember, I learned my basic knotting (macrame) skills as a Boy Scout and expanded upon that while I worked as a cowboy and a canoe guide. I taught myself cartooning when I needed to create my Santa Claus coins to give to children who were brave enough to talk to Santa. In addition, I expanded my cartooning when I needed to create sports team t-shirts and singlets for my North Pole Endurance Team.
All three arts take time to learn the basics and even more time to broaden your knowledge. Macrame takes the least amount of time to learn and chainmail takes the most time to learn. Cartooning is somewhere in the middle. For chainmail, I teach all three basic types of chainmail: European (what you see in the movies), Persian (what some call Byzantine) and Asian (rarely seen). Most beginners can learn European and Asian weaves in a couple of days. Persian weave is much harder and should wait until a student is more advanced.
The most popular type of macrame today is “Survival Bracelets.” My students have so much fun with them and they are quick to make, we seldom go beyond the survival bracelets. The students end up making bracelets, anklets, dog collars, and leashes. If a student wishes to go beyond survival bracelets, I will have a knot sampler project and resource books with me.
The cartooning I teach is character (or avatar) design. I start with simple characters like “Kilroy was here” dating from World War II. I will have several resource books for character ideas and sketching pointers.
I have a special fondness for these three art forms because I can use them to bring happiness to others. Watching the triumph in a student’s face as they master an art is priceless.
While at Searsport Shores, I will be helping children and adults create many fun projects. The typical chainmail projects are key chains, bracelets, necklaces and pouches. The most common projects for macrame are bracelets, anklets, dog collars, and belts. The cartooning projects are mostly animal avatars. Typically I teach chainmail and macrame at the same time on a walk-in basis. For the cartooning, students should arrange a specific time in advance. I will be available for teaching from 9 am to 5 pm with a 1 hour lunch break.
Take care and I look forward to seeing you at Searsport Shores.