Everyday Adornment Matters

Michael with his chain mail

This is Michael Roush of Wolfwing Studios. I met him at Pratt’s Open House this past Saturday. He was totally decked out in chain mail that he made himself. Check out the back of his jacket:

More chain mail

So sculptural. And if all that weren’t impressive enough, there’s the squid on his shoulder:

A chain mail SQUID!

Clearly, this is a guy who loves chain mail of all kinds. I was happy to meet him in person because I had heard about him last year from Julia Harrison, who taught a chain mail workshop that he attended. I always like to connect with instructors after we’ve run a new class, to see how things went. And I remember her mentioning Michael—not by name, but by reference to how into chain mail he was, and how good he was at it.

Running into him at Open House was a bit like running into a unicorn–you’ve heard stories but aren’t quite sure what to think, and then unexpectedly, right before your very eyes, you see it: loads of chain mail worn by its maker. . .

Nicely done, Michael!

Everyday Adornment Matters

Road Captain Dan

This is Dan. I met him in Bellevue early yesterday morning. I was standing to the side of him at a Starbucks, admiring the patches on his jacket when it struck me how long it has been since I posted an everyday adornment image. I knew he’d be perfect, but the whole approach-a-complete-stranger-and-ask-to-photograph-him thing is sometimes a reach for me. We chatted about the weather and then he left with his drink while I waited for mine.

I decided that I didn’t want to lose the opportunity to work with him for a post. And so americano in hand, I headed across the parking lot. He was friendly, maybe a little surprised to see me again, and willing to participate. . .

Dan has been riding for 40 years, and is currently Road Captain for his particular chapter of riders (which numbers about 240). Check this out!:

Dan's Road Captain patch

He rode up from Federal Way to lead the ride. The parking lot by the Starbucks was the start point. He said it’s typical to get anywhere from 4-5 to upwards of 20 others on a ride, and you never know how many until that day. Among the riders, and in addition to him, there is always a Sweep, who rides last and makes sure the ride stays safe.

Because this post is about adornment, I asked him which is his favorite patch. He pointed to the one that says Wyatt Wilson, as it commemorates his son, who died of cancer. For the past 8 years, Dan has organized a ride in memory of his son. It benefits the Ronald McDonald House.

Patch commemorating Dan's son

Dan next to his ride

(No post about a motorcycle rider would be complete without an image of the rider and his bike.)

Everyday Adornment Matters

Jason, taking a break

This is Jason. He blows glass at Pratt. I’ve seen him around for the past few months. I think he’s been renting a blow slot, or assisting another blower who rents. I’m not exactly sure. He’s a bit of a regular, though, so it was only a matter of time before we met.

He is wearing, I kid you not, a lion’s tooth on his necklace cord, right next to the glass geode a friend made.

Here’s the story. . .

About 10 years ago, Jason’s grandpa was in Kenya for missionary work (or something such) with local tribes. He was wearing Nike shoes, and when the chief’s son saw these, he wanted them. Badly. Jason’s grandpa kept telling this young man that these were his only pair of shoes, and so he couldn’t part with them. But the young man was determined–he had to have these shoes for his father. Western gear being all but impossible to come by there, he was prepared to trade what he had to secure these high-status goods.

Jason’s grandpa finally acquiesced and the trade went through. One pair of Nikes for several items, the most meaningful of which was the lion’s tooth–the young man’s most prized possession.

In this particular tribe, it is a rite of passage for boys between the ages of 10 and 12 to kill a lion. This signals their transition to manhood.

When Jason’s grandpa returned home, he presented Jason, then about 12 years old, the lion’s tooth to signal his transition to manhood.

That was 10 years ago. It has been on a cord around his neck ever since.

Everyday Adornment Matters

Good friends Robert and Josh

This is Robert (left) and Josh (right). I met them while out for a walk at the elementary school I long ago attended. They were hanging out. I spotted Josh’s substantial silver figaro chain resting on his neck, as I approached, and thus a conversation was struck up.

Josh received the necklace when he was just 4 years old, from an uncle who died shortly afterwards, so it has a lot of meaning for him. I love the balance between this significant piece and his decidedly casual attire.

These guys were really open and friendly. Robert has photography experience, and offered his recommendation for a place nearby great for catching spectacular sunrises and sunsets. We also chatted about school, as they’re getting ready to head to high school next year.

Approaching strangers for Everyday Adornment Matters pushes me a bit out of my comfort zone. It also reminds me of my parents, both of whom knew everyone and were really gifted conversationalists. I’m not sure if this affability is particularly Midwestern, or whether it is generational. I know I don’t see it as much as I used to. But I’ll take a real conversation over a Facebook-anything any day of the week.

Everyday Adornment Matters

David Clarke, Everyday Adornment Matters, Seattle Maker

This is David. I share an office with him. The other day, when he came in, he just looked. . .different. And I could no longer resist getting the scoop on his minimal look.

He keeps things uncomplicated, wearing a surgical steel hoop earring and his platinum wedding band, both bespoke.

Looking at him today, it’s hard to imagine him as a teenager, with multiple ear piercings (and earrings that included dangly parts). Or as a twentysomething, drawing fashion influence from David Bowie and Rod Stewart. That was a time, as he recalls, of long hair, outrageous platform-heeled shoes and boots, and high-waisted pants worn with loud jackets.

Having mostly seen him in standard sculptor/fabricator gear (Carhartts), I have to say, I didn’t see that coming!

We all grow up, or outgrow. David’s look turned towards utilitarian once he began to travel, when his wardrobe, as he says, had to fit into a bag I could carry. . .a guy’s always got to look cool–it’s important!

A silversmith friend made his earring, which is based on a previous sterling hoop that he mysteriously lost: I wore it for 25 years. Then one night I went to bed and it was on. And when I woke up it was gone. I never could find it. It’s bizarre–it just disappeared.

His wedding band has a rough, organic, hammered look, which he says goes well with his personality. It had to be platinum, not gold (the color of which he feels doesn’t suit him). Ten years ago, he and his then wife-to-be had been looking for their bands here in the States and in England. One day, when they were visiting one of his relatives in Bradford-Upon-Avon, they came across a teeny window of a teeny shop located on a teeny backstreet, which turned out to be the shop of jeweler Lee Orton.

The rest, as they say, is history.