An Explanation

You must be thinking: “Why is Sebastian sending me to this link? I’m just looking for some help!” Let’s look inside this workshop. In the end, you will see how this text is helping you and Ironskin.

Along with you, I’m getting a couple of people per day who are asking for help with their mail projects. It is an enjoyable way to make new friends and to get to know each other. Yet it is also getting in the way of getting the actual work done.

So how do you become the one that I write back to when there is just not enough time to answer everyone? That is heartbreaking to decide. And heartbreaking is what I am feeling when my explanatory drawings and descriptions are spread without credit and sent to competitors to cheaply copy what I do. Naturally, trust is an important foundation. And the first step toward trust is to listen to each other:

Likely you reached out because you like the things you see here. You want to know how to get similar mail. That was my situation when I started. I looked at many, many museum pieces and at historic manuscripts. And I could only look at so many with the help of people who paid me with their projects to do this craft full time. They were willing to pay for commission works because to them it made a difference to the generic mail shirts that you can buy ready-made in online shops. To you, it also makes a difference. You would like to get there more efficiently. That is why you are here.

Let me throw in a thought experiment that I had with my hair-dresser. I went to him and said: “Please teach me how to cut hair. I want to do it myself.” He was very puzzled, but since he is a friendly person, he explained to me all the different steps: how to hold the scissors and how to comb the hair at the right angle before cutting it. Sometimes he struggled to find words because he had never thought about how to explain to another person what his hands just did without thinking. After two hours I learned a lot. I dropped two coins in his coffee box and left. At home, I took my scissors and cut my own hair and that of my brother, too. Even though I had carefully listened, the result was not satisfying. It felt as if there was some magic that the hairdresser had and I hadn’t. So I went back and asked him: “What is your magic trick?” He replied: “It is named experience. You benefit when you do this a lot. Do you want to stay here and become a hairdresser like us? Be welcome to join the team. Otherwise, I really need that time to work now.”

Imagine you are the hairdresser. It’s not a problem to share your knowledge. You know that your experience counts for something. With your help, many people cut hair for themselves and for their friends. You are happy for them. Together you enjoy the craft. Still, enough people come to you when they want to look extra nice for a wedding. One day such a customer walks into your salon. He asks: “How much is a haircut?” Your answer: “It’s 30 euros”. He says: “I beg you pardon! Did you mean 3 euros? All my friends are doing it for a bar of chocolate and it almost looks like what you do.” He walks out of the saloon and you start thinking: “Should you quit and sell scissors instead?” Suddenly the idea of what a haircut is worth had been distorted.

You see what this is about: Is there room in this modern world for a full-time mail maker to exist or not? It is you who can keep this alive or let it die. I’m just the one who is very grateful that I could follow this path. Only because of people willing to put money into this, could I build up the experience of many many work hours. Only because of that I can share for free what is easiest to share and easiest to learn. Please understand that I can not always answer individual questions. Please understand that sharing knowledge takes effort. It is necessary to earn something from that. I trust you and thus you find an option to become a supporter of Ironskin via Patreon if you like. Do you trust me?