Monday, June 26, 2017

MULLET SCRATCHING



So this weekend we did our first vendor stint at Motoblot.
 It's a motorcycle show with bands, booze, bikes and everything that you would imagine a motorcycle show to be.
 Our presence there was par for the course in terms of who we are and what we represent.
Among vendors carrying t-shirts that say shit like "if you can read this, then the bitch fell off", and patches that say "certified asshole", along with the ones carrying made in China bolt on parts for your 30% made in America motorcycles...we definitely stuck out.
 "Cool shit man" was the phrase of the day, which was good for the ol' ego, but another common phrase was "so....what do you guys DO?"
 So, let me get this straight...you're standing in our booth, surrounded by all this cool handmade shit, and you're asking me what it is that we do?
 "We sell insurance fucko...the stupid phrase t-shirt vendor is across the street"
As much as I would stare blankly at these people while thinking "how are you so fucking dumb?", I also realized that maybe it wasn't such a dumb question.
 We're a Walmart society.
We're conditioned to accept the nicely packaged products that some blonde bitch on TV is telling us to buy.
 We're taught to go buy disposable shit that we don't need.
We're bred to not remotely give a fuck about quality, but be concerned with price.
 We're programmed to not acknowledge the hand that built the house.
So, you walk into our booth which smashes every one of those talking points, and you're left scratching your mullet, thinking to yourself "what the fuck is this", until it's actually vomited out of your mouth, to which I then have to come up with a smart ass response.
 It made me realize that the deck is stacked against us, which is fine because I don't play cards anyway.
All in All, the response was great and the people enjoyed something different.
 All right...picture explanation time...
Chain lamp...I've posted many before, but this is the first one made using a jig.
 We made a jig to keep the chain straight which made the product to be cleaner and much faster to make.
Devils tail wall hanger....because I felt like making one.
 Concrete top sink...This is for our bar build out at what will be called "Tavern 57" in Chicago.
It's one of 3 sinks and one giant bar top all made from concrete.
 Concrete is a really cool medium to work with, and we don't work with it as much as I'd like to because it's stupid heavy and I'm old. Truth.
 New website, more retail work, doing outdoor street fests...we're finding our way.
We're trying new things to see what works, to see where we fit in and it's all essential in order to grow.
 Somewhere there's a dude playing guitar in his moms basement, and he is the best guitar player in the world, but until he get's out of his moms basement and plays for an audience...no one will ever know and his talent dies with him and everyone misses out.
 Get yer dick (or vagina) wet. Go outside your comfort zone. Try new things. Take the plunge, otherwise you'll never know.
 Could have or should have, just doesn't cut it.
This show was exhausting. Me and Zach both missed out on time with our family this weekend, but it's those sacrifices that dictate our future and the future of our families.
 This is real life. You pay to play.
There is no such thing as luck. Either you put in the work or you didn't.
  Anyway...now that the weekend is over, it's back to building. I swear to god that my face hurts from 30 hours of fake salesman smiling.
 Have a good Monday my friends.

Monday, June 12, 2017

SHITTY DIAPERS



Everything you see here is going to our retailer Jaunt in Arlington Heights.
 The bowling alley top bar is a custom order.
We were given "inspiration" photos, and tried to comply with all the little details as well as added a few of our own.
 The coffee table is just us fucking around with color.
I mean...why not?
 Shit is just bland-blah-boring sometimes, so why not fucking blue? Add blue...see what happens.
2 of the 3 lamps are for Jaunt. The 3rd lamp is for Motoblot.
 As much as we'd like to sell as much stuff as possible at Motoblot, it's also a way to showcase and network.
It's a motorcycle show. Maybe someone will wanna walk around with a fucking lamp all day, and maybe not, but what they will know, is where to get it if they like it.
 We've made enough cash and carry items so that we don't totally eat shit, but we want to showcase some bigger items as well.
 We're also going to have t shirts and shop rags for sale and once the show is over, those items will be available at www.makerschicago.com , in case you live in fucking Idaho and don't wanna make a 23 hour drive to look at motorcycles and buy a couple of dirtbags t-shirts.
 I've been thinking lately (you all know what that means) about "moments".
If you dissect an average day, you realize that most of that time is filler bullshit, and the things that define what will soon be your past, are "moments".
 How do you have more moments and less filler time?
I don't fucking know, but if I did, I'd be able to make Tim Robbins bank account look like my daily deposit.
 One thing I do know is that we need to spend less time focusing on what we need to do later and be present in what is happening right now.
 Here's an example...Saturday night, my son wanted to ride his bike. He just grasped the whole bike riding thing the day before and he wants to get better at it. Although it was already 9pm and the house was a disaster from a sleep over the night before, I am in no way going to hinder his progress in the fine art of bicycle riding.
 We went to a school across the street that has a big empty parking lot. Off he goes exploring every inch of that parking lot on 2 wheels, and I'm sitting on the curb freaking the fuck out over everything I need to do when we get home.
 I caught myself.
Here I sit, a gorgeous night, cool breeze, clear sky, bright moon, and I'm sitting on a curb consumed by dishes and putting shoes away?
 It took me a minute, but I was able to clear my mind and put myself in the moment.
The result was staggering.
 Not only did I enjoy the moment more, but I can tell that my son was happier because I was really present in what was going on.
 Yeah, we went to bed hella late, and no, I didn't finish all the stuff that I wanted to finish, but so the fuck what?
 What I gained from being present in a moment, totally trumped all the bullshit that I didn't finish in my self allotted time frame.
 Did anyone die because I didn't put his flip flops away, or because I only did half of the dishes? I don't think so, but I do think that both he and I will remember that moment for quite possibly a lifetime.
 Don't let shit slip past you because you're busy creating laundry lists in your head.
 Immerse yourself in the real, the present.
Time fucking sucks. There's never enough of it, so the ticks of the clock that you get...ya gotta make that shit count.
 As a parent, we love to pat ourselves on the back for all the wonderful shit we teach our kids, when in reality, it's them teaching us.
 Play with me...read to me...watch a movie with me...this is their way of saying "hey asshole...forget about laundry, and be present with me because I'm only going to be young for a little while and when you're the one shitting in a diaper again, and I'm off doing adult shit, you're going to beg god to have all of those moments that you missed...back, and you don't get them back, you just sit there being sad in a shit filled diaper."
 I'm not gonna be the sad old man in a shitty diaper.
If I do end up shitting in a diaper, that'll be sad enough as is, so by no means do I wanna add to it.
 We convince ourselves that all the tasks that we do, are for them.
Guess what?
 They don't give a fuck.
They want you.
 They want you to be present in all their new found experiences.
You owe it to them.
 And ya know what?
The world would probably be a much better place if you did.
 If you gave them the time they needed, then they wouldn't spend the rest of their lives seeking outside approval.
 What the fuck do I know?
I'm a glorified carpenter.
 I have no psychology degree. In fact the only degree I have is deodorant.
I am aware, and I am damn good at reading my kid.
 When I'm over occupied with distractions, his demeanor changes. My goal is too at the very least be aware when that shift takes place, and adjust accordingly.
It's not just about children, it can easily be applied to every other life situation.
 I'm at a stop light, and to my right is a outdoor cafe. Every mother fucker there is staring at their phone. Why bother? Why go out? Is it that painful to engage each other now?
It's Monday. It's gonna be a long, hot and dirty week for us.
 Enjoy your moments.

Monday, June 5, 2017

FUCK THE OCEAN.




I was asked a question the other day that actually made me stop and think.
 That is extremely rare because most questions I get asked are different renditions of the same questions, but this time...I had to do some head scratching.
 The question was an honest inquiry, and nothing offensive, just momentarily perplexing.
"What's with all the skulls?"
 Fuck. I don't know. I've never given it a whole lot of thought until that particular moment.
Was is my punk/hardcore/metal roots? nah.
Am I obsessed with death or dying? nah.
 I had to dig deep.
Deeper than I thought I would, and I had to sort through some baggage and personality traits.
 Then...the light bulb went on.
You know how rat poison or other shit that can kill you, usually have a skull and crossbones on the label?
 Well, it's sort of the same warning.
I'm not concerned with being ingested, but I believe my affinity for skulls is basically a warning label.
 You want to know me? You want to get close to me? Proceed with caution then.
It's my way of saying "I'm not looking for friends, or business ventures, nor am I willing to accept anyones bullshit or baggage. Tread lightly...you've been warned."
 Why am I so guarded and introverted?
None of your fucking business...that's why.
 Those who know my demons have gone through a screening process. They have EARNED a spot in the ranks.
 These people have paid their dues, gone to battle with and for me. They've seen me rise and fall and been there every step of the way.
 You don't just walk into my soul like you own the fuckin place.
Knock first mother fucker, and I decide if and when I'm opening the door.
 So the answer to the "what's up with all the skulls" question, is exactly that.
I'm actually more of an ocean than I am a skull.
 I'm vast and beautiful, intriguing and interesting, but also dangerous and violent, and if not respected, I will swallow your ass up in an instant and you'll never be found again.
 But ocean rings, or patches, or t shirts would be pretty fuckin gay, and not nearly as spooky and cool as skull stuff.
 So there ya have it.
Stuff we built...
 Another coffee table and side table set going to the fine gentleman who just got a coffee table and side table set..his name is Mike, but I'm gonna call him Noah cause the fuckin guy is getting stuff in deuces!
 Rolling table just slammed out for those wacky marketing genius's at Limitless Creative.
They needed a rolling table for a NIKE event in 24 hours and we delivered that shit in 4 hours.
 Go above and beyond for your customers, crush their deadlines, make it a pleasure to work with you.
These people are our bread and butter. They deserve our best and they get our best.
 We have so much stuff coming, and I actually just looked around the shop the other day and had to catch my breath. It's a creative hurricane, and me and Zach are finding a sweet spot in our working cohesiveness.
 We've always been able to feed off each other, hence being in business together, but we're reaching a new level of that.
 It's fluidity...like water...like the ocean (HAH!)
Fuck the ocean. I'm actually terrified of it.
 Had a run in with a Bull Shark, well, almost a run in, had the shark been paying attention, and I've never stuck a toe in salty waters again.
 Maybe that's where my occasional "God complex" comes from?
While Jesus may have walked on water...I ran on water like a Nigerian during the last 100 yards of a fuckin' marathon.
 All righty...lot's of cool shit built this week and apparently, lot's of new self discoveries to boot.
Head on over to www.makerschicago.com where you can buy our goods and while you're doing some good ol' healthy internet shopping, shoot over to www.witnesscompany.com and get some skull rings, so that people will stay away from you...works like a charm.

Monday, May 29, 2017

WHIPPING YER DICK OUT

Fucking 2:39am, and I'm up.
 I was going to skip a blog this week.
I do that that sometimes just to let my thoughts back up like Friday traffic in Chicago.
 Since I'm up at this ungodly hour, I figured "fuck it", it's Memorial Day, and from my observations of society lately, at some point today, everyone will have their faces jammed in a phone while life is passing by, so maybe I'll contribute and give folks something to read.
 All this stuff here is going to our retailer Jaunt in Arlington Heights.
1. console table made from old bowling alley lanes
2. live edge bar cart
3.cafe chair with swivel table top
4. stitched steel desk lamp
The way a retailer usually works is...you make and piece and they consign it, and once it sells, you get some money in 30 days, or the have specific requests and you wholesale it to them.
 Not Jaunt.
They gave us a bunch of money and said "make us cool stuff".
 Trust and belief.
The two ingredients in any successful relationship.
 By Jaunt doing that, they were saying "I trust that you won't blow this money at a shady titty bar, and I believe that you guys will make us items that we will be able to sell".
 It's the equivalent of letting a chick leave her tooth brush at your house.
I'm loyal to a fault.
 "Do me good and I'll do you better"..."do me wrong, and I'll super glue the locks on your house and set that bitch on fire while you're sleeping"-That's basically my life mantra.
 When someone goes out of their way for me and especially my son....there's nothing I won't do for that person.
 That's more so on a personal level. In business, the extremes are toned down a little.
We've been pretty lucky to have good customers and we've built some really solid relationships.
 We've also had our share of shit birds.
There are people who look at me and see the tattoo's, the dirt and sawdust ridden clothes, and take me for one who is easily manipulated.
 Bitch, I read "The Art of War" when I was 15, so trust me...I see right through the tactics.
Here's a couple tell tale signs of when a customer is going to be a piece of shit...
1. the promise of a lifetime of future work before you've even started on their current project.
 This is done in order to get you to make this customer a priority above all else, and as leverage to slip in a bunch of free shit, because they have soooooo much FUTURE work for you.
It's the dangling carrot tactic and believe me when I say I will snatch that fucking carrot and beat you with the stick it was tied to.
2. Promise of payment.
 This is when a customer goes above and beyond to express how money isn't an issue and how they have no problem paying. This is usually done before you've even given them a price on anything.
 When I hear that speak, I automatically shut down.
I shut down because what they're really saying is "I don't really have any money at the moment and I'm desperately hoping to string you along until I can either get some money of flat out ditch your ass".
 Good customers go about things in a very sensible, cut and dry manner.
Shitty customers have a tendency to whip their dick out before even buying me a drink.
 It's business though. There's gonna be good and bad.
If you get a bad vibe and you proceed because you're hungry, well...be prepared to eat shit.
 The good eggs...give em' your best and never take them for granted because they are your foundation.
I'm off to the gym, then to the shop to hopefully knock out what I need to so I can get home and get some yard time with the fam.
 Now, put your phone away and engage those around you.
WWW.MAKERSCHICAGO.COM

Monday, May 22, 2017

BE COOL-DON'T TOUCH-BRING COFFEE


It looks like we will have a vendor booth at MOTOBLOT in Chicago June 23-25.
 It's a motorcycle/hot rod street fair with bands, bikes, beer, a pin up contest, film festival and a slew of other shit. (www.motoblot.com )
 We don't do the street fair scene.
A lot of folks that kinda do what we do, happen to love them. In fact, they make their money for the year by doing them.
 I really want to spend 12 hours a day for 3 days, sitting behind a table, in the blaring sun, with thousands of people working their way into a drunken stupor, about as much as I want the inside of my asshole tattoo'd.
 I don't like crowds of people. I get real squirrely at those types of things.
The reason we chose motoblot to display our goods is because the moto / hot rod culture is one that is near and dear to us. The other reason, is that it's put on by the same people who do Riot Fest, and I know from first hand experience how they run things.
 If you look at their website, you'll understand why we decided to represent ourselves there.
As much as those street fairs weird me the fuck out, it's probably going to be a lot of fun.
 I want to meet the people that buy our stuff, or at least just like our stuff and our down with what we're trying to do. I want that connection, that interaction.
 You see, social media has made it real easy to make friends all over the world, and not have to spend any time with any one. I don't wanna knock it, because I have made some really close connections with some really great people via social media, but goddamn if I don't want some human interaction.
 I wanna hear your story over a coffee, I wanna meet the dude that "LIKES" every photo we post and tells us how bad he wants to quit his sucky ass job and make knives, because he was inspired by us.
 One day I took my kid to The Bean and Maggie Daley park last summer.
My son is playing in the playground, and there's this dude lookin' at me, and I'm thinking to myself "man, I think I know this guy from somewhere", and the dude is thinking the same thing, cause he makes his way over to me and says "Breclaimed?"
 Turns out to be Christopherrabbit from Instagram, and we chat it up for a few minutes, but both of us had out kids, and it's a big crowded tourist haven, so in lieu of what was a really nice conversation, we had to ensure our respective children didn't get abducted.
 But THAT is what I'm fuckin' talking about.
I'm a slow starter, but once you get me talkin'....I don't shut the fuck up (Zack will confirm that).
 So, if you can...come visit us at motoblot.
Allrighty then....on to the photos
 Cool ass lamp, big ol' LED edison bulb, I didn't think I'd be into the bulb, but I discovered that...I'm into the bulb. If you're not into the bulb guess what....you can change it. It's a light bulb. Real easy to swap out.
 You don't NOT buy a car because you don't like the windshield wipers, right?
Lastly is our helmet/jacket hanger as seen here on  display at the Witness Company lair.
 The owner of Witness was very involved in the chopper scene, and it's only fitting that his gear is parked properly.
 I love seeing our stuff in use. These hangers will be available at Motoblot in many variations.
We try to switch them up as much as possible, so everyone gets something unique.
 Thanks for checking in.
Come visit us next month at Motoblot, hell...come visit us at the shop anytime.
 There's only 3 rules to visiting the MAKERS shop...
1. be cool
2. don't play with the tools
3. bring coffee

Monday, May 15, 2017

I AM WHAT I AM AND THAT'S ALL THAT I AM...


With the launch of www.makerschicago.com , a couple of questions have come to my attention that I would like to address before I go into some kind of nonsensical ramble about the atrocities of humanity or the plight of the working man.
 The first question was...
"Are you going to tone your blog down now that it's connected to your website?"
 The short answer to that is...Fuck no.
The second question was...
"Do you think you have to appear more professional now that you have a website?"
 My answer to that is....I don't "appear" to be anything. We are professional. In fact, we're very fuckin' professional.
 I don't even really know what the fuck that means. Am I supposed to dress up like the fuckin' Monopoly Man when I go to the shop?
 "Appear professional". This isn't a scam. We're not selling vacuum cleaners door to door or doing an infomercial on some magic cream that makes your dick bigger.
 We don't alter our appearance or verbage  when we meet clients. Most clients don't give a shit. We're not making talking coffee tables. If a client doesn't like the way I look or speak, they never have to see nor speak to me again once their piece is in their space if they so desire.
 That question kind of bothered me because I'm not a fucking idiot.
Yeah, if we have a meeting with Starbucks or a Bar owner, or a home owner, I'm gonna try to not smell like burnt metal, but if we're meeting you at 2pm, chances are we have been building shit since 7:30am, so my apologies if I offend, you'll get over it.
 I understand society is all about appearance, and I still don't give a fuck. It's not like we're babysitting your kids, we're making you pieces out of steel and 100 year old wood and leather and bullet casings and barbed wire and a whole slew of other dangerous shit.
 I'd buy a motorcycle from a guy in a bunny costume if the price was right. Once the paper work is signed and I go riding off into the sunset, I never see Mr. Bunny Suit again.
Things like that get me a little worked up, and what's worse, is that the question is actually a common occurrence.
Let me get to the photos because we all have shit to do...
Chain lamps..they're happening...you can buy em' now...they're not that expensive...they're really fuckin' cool.
The coffee table was a custom build for an old friend.
 It was built from reference photos that he text to me of his existing decor.
It was a perfect match apparently, because he ordered 2 more.
 Nothing makes me happier than when our clients are stoked.
When all your work, all your worries disappear after a client receives their piece...THAT is the ultimate gratification and THAT is what we strive for every single time.
 Thanks for dropping by and thanks for all the positive feedback and support on the new website.
It's Monday...Lets "appear" to be happy, let's "appear" to be grateful for another day above ground, let's "appear" to treat each other with kindness and respect, let's "appear" to give every moment the best of us.
If we're an appearance based society, lets at least try to appear human.

Monday, May 8, 2017

CAN I GET A WITNESS




A couple of weeks ago, my friend Dr. Andrew Carr brought his family up to Chicago from St. Louis.
 Me and my son picked him up from his hotel on a beautiful Saturday morning, and gave him a little tour of Chicago, outside of the tourist traps.
 Let me tell you a little bit about Dr. Carr...he looks like a body builder, that went to prison, where he was broken out of the joint by the editors of GQ magazine....That's just looks. Don't judge, because this big, tatted up, well dressed teddy bear collects chemical engineering degrees for the fuck of it.
 So we're driving through the asshole of Chicago, and Dr. Carr has on these big silver and brass rings, and I say "hey, let me try that skull one on".
 I've never worn jewelry in my life, but in that moment that I'm driving with this massive piece of carved brass on my hand, something changed in me.
 He got his rings from a place called Witness Company (www.witnesscompanyusa.com).
When I got home from our outing, my 7 year old son, dug out every gumball machine ring he had and adorned his tiny hands with those tiny pieces of junk to look like Dr. Carr.
 That's when it clicked.
I love fine denim, artisan made clothing, rugged leather, but all those things will wear and die over time, but jewelry...hand crafted, artisan made jewelry...I can pass that down to my son.
 When I exit this life, my son can look down at his hand and remember his old man, if only for a moment.
When something interests me, I study it like I'm going for a masters degree in whatever it is that interests me.
 I studied the process, the people who make it, the history...I probably looked at every artisan mens jewelry maker on the internet, and they all brought me back to Witness Company.
 Stuff was either cheesy, over the top, over priced (for me), or just not interesting enough for my taste, but Witness was just the right fit for my style, ethics, and budget.
 I was inspired to make the skeleton hand jewelry display.
I'm not sure if it will work, because I don't own any rings yet to display on that piece, but regardless, the challenge to make a skeleton hand out of steel filled me with a huge sense of accomplishment because let me tell you...that shit was not easy to make.
 The next piece is a commissioned clothing display for Botteligera in Rome Italy, which is a mens clothing store that highlights American made brands.
 The last photo is me working on a chain lamp.
As Zack finishes up the website, we have been creating pieces for our webstore. One of the many things we will be offering, are these welded chain lamps.
 This is the product that we'll eat shit on because the amount of work that goes into them, definitely did not dictate the price.
 We made them more affordable, because people should have them. They're rad as fuck. But there is a huge gap in what we deserve for them and what we can charge for them.
 We're combating the process by simply being better prepared to make them by making specific jigs, and ordering the electrical guts in bulk.
 Everything we have worked for over the last couple of years has brought us to this moment.
The moment when all of our work, all of our creativity, all of our soul, will be available and easily accessible to the public.
 It's time for us as well as time for you.
In the age of consumerism, you now have a choice.
 You no longer have to settle for made in China bullshit, or big box store garbage that every other swinging dick has.
 You can choose quality. You can choose products that out live you. You can choose to surround yourself with art that exudes the quality and individuality that represents you.
 Or...you can save a couple bucks, shop at IKEA, or Urban Outfitters, or Kay Jewelers, or any other outlet that rapes you of quality, integrity, and purpose.
 It's your money...I don't blame you. We've all been conditioned through out our lives to settle for mediocrity. That's why McDonalds, Starbucks, Ikea and a shit ton of other market manipulators make billions of dollars.
 Break free. Don't settle. You're an individual not a consumer or customer #224795...you deserve better.
Until you figure that out on your own, you remain a means to someones bottom line that satisfies share holders.
 How fuckin' bogus is that reality?