We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Amanda Little a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Amanda thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Was there an experience or lesson you learned at a previous job that’s benefited your career afterwards?
I worked at Target for over 10 years. It was my first job right when I turned 16. I truly believe that working in the service or retail industries can prepare you for almost anything else in life. You deal with wonderful, terrible, rude, amazing customers every single day and that job really helped me to understand people a lot better. I learned how to deescalate tense situations and the importance of just taking a few minutes to say hello and ask someone how their day has been. I think I really learned how important it is to be kind. We have no idea what someone could be dealing with internally and that could be the reason they may be rude, or reactive. That’s helped me a lot in both my chainmail business and playing in bands. People are going to be rude sometimes, but I do my best to be kind, while also keeping boundaries and knowing when things go too far.
Amanda , love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
My name is Amanda Little, I live in Orlando Florida and have been a part of the local punk scene since I was just a little 15-year-old kid sneaking out to Wills Pub on a school night. Music is really the focal point of my life that everything else kind of revolves around. I heard the Ramones for the first time, and it changed my life. I bought a guitar and just wanted to play. I’ve been playing in bands and touring for the better part of a decade and it’s still my favorite thing in the whole wide world. Nothing compares to being with your best friends in a stinky van on the road playing songs that you wrote. Chainmail came into play as an extension of music because it’s a great punk accessory! It’s a perfect mash-up of tough and beautiful. Chainkiller turned into a business without me having any expectations of that, haha. I watched YouTube tutorials repetitively and figured out the patterns until I got blisters. I was just making little pieces for myself, and my friends and it slowly evolved from there. My favorite part is taking commissions from folks and hearing all their creative and fun ideas! I recently made a chainmail coif for someone because they wanted to tattoo in it and I love that. I love when people have fun and want to share that with me. I just aim for my work to be top quality and I do my best to also keep affordability in mind. When people tell me that they wear their pieces every day and it’s their favorite item… it makes me feels so special. I’m still kind of shocked that people like the stuff I make!
For you, what’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative?
The most rewarding aspect of being an artist is getting to make your own rules. Getting to set your own boundaries. Most days I feel creative but some days I don’t, and, on those days, I don’t push myself. It’s easy to burn out with the way our society treats the idea of work. 40+ hour work weeks, while still trying to manage a small business, a band and a personal life is hard. So, I really keep a heavy focus on work-life balance. Being transparent is the best thing for me. If I can do something, I say yes. If I can’t, I say no. If I think I can but don’t know…I’ll let you know that too, haha. And to the folks who give me space to try, fail, learn and experiment – I’m so grateful.
Looking back, are there any resources you wish you knew about earlier in your creative journey?
I grew up right as YouTube was becoming a thing. Unfortunately, me and my friends just used it to watch the “Shoes” video by Kelly on repeat (if you know you know). I wish I has used it to its full potential. Now I use YouTube for everything! Learning guitar riffs, unlocking a new chainmail weave, etc. I’m an extremely visual learner, so I really think it’s such a cool resource for people who learn like I do.
- Website: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Chainkiller
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chainkiller_jewelry/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ViciousDreams77
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyz_pXtlWvgyW1_WP89sFNA
- Other: Band Website: https://viciousdreams.bandcamp.com/