16+ years of passion and devotion to quality

The story of Archmaille Designs starts in 2000, the name wasn’t there, and I certainly didn’t have the skills I do today, but 2000 was the year the passion for what I do was ignited. At the age of 14 myself and my cousin Jordan were at the church camp Circle-C where I was first introduced to chainmaille. A man volunteered his time to teach the craft during free hours. Quite honestly the craft didn’t appeal to me too much back then. I was more interested in another craft he had teaching people to make wire wrapped nail crosses. Over the next year I made hundreds of tiny little cross necklaces. Because of budgetary concerns the church we went to Circle-C through sent all of us kids to another church camp that year. Going in with nothing but a pocket full of nail crosses we sold them for a couple of dollars each, fulfilling our desire for pickles and beef jerky at the snack bar… we even left with a little cash in our pockets. Feeling inspired and a bit ambitious we registered to sell our wares at Parkville Days.

Over the next couple of months I went to the grindstone and refused to lift until Parkville Days came up. We went armed with nothing but a wobbly card table, and a few hundred cross necklaces strung on twine. We had a few pity sales, or sales to people who admired our spirit and ambition. Lets face it though, our showing was abysmal – I’m a bit surprised that the organizers didn’t ask us to leave before we even began. I am thankful that they didn’t send us on our way though; as anyone who has ever built anything will tell you, far more can be learned from your failures than your success. From this experience, I learned that it takes much more than just making something to move a product. We also learned about perseverance, sales dynamics, and better ways to present our goods when at shows and art fairs.

Later that year, I worked at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival, once again with my cousin Jordan, a native to Bonner Springs. It was there that I wore my first chainmaille shirt. With 45 pounds of steel rings slung across my shoulders, I fell in love with the way the chains conformed to my bone structure and seemed to disappear, becoming a part of the wearer. I learned the craft, buying books that taught various patterns (we didn’t have a computer back then – I know, it was like living in the stone age). The repetitive organized nature of chainmail was very calming to me, and I became quite good at weaving it.

After I had gained some skill in the trade I was introduced by a friend to Troy of Parkville Jewelers (it was Trinity Jewelers back then though). Troy saw potential in my talent, and hooked me up with a small jewelers tool set, and some silver wire to work from. Because of his help, I was truly able to take Archmaille Designs from a hobby and sad showing at craft faires to the business it is for me today. I have since obviously expanded beyond just copper and silver chainmail jewelry, though, it is still a core part of our business. I have the most fun sitting at the anvil hammering away at a copper bowl anymore, but more on that later.

Today’s world can be very fast paced, and high stress. While my primary job is being a stay at home father helping my wife (A night shift nurse, and true every day hero!) and caring for our son. I have to remind myself to take time at the anvil every day, or at least a couple of times a week. It is in the act of worship I perform through hammer strokes that God connects with me and fills me so that I may serve them. I urge you to find a passion in your life, figure out what God made you for. Take a look at what God is drawing you towards, don’t use the worlds filter seeking worldly wealth, but rather look through God’s filter. Ask yourself how you can best use the gifts God has given you to inspire and help others. Only then will you move towards fullness of yourself as He created you to be.

"Do your work with enthusiasm. Work as if you were serving the Lord, not as if you were serving only men and women. Remember that the Lord will give a reward to everyone, slave or free, for doing good."

– Ephesians 6:7-8 (NCV)