New Armour Tie Design

I had a client as me to make a new tie for him, and decided to do a new design. This one turned out fantastic! I decided to redesign the back of these, so that they are more stable, as there was a problem with some of the previous ones catching. And the bands that I use on this look better. While no-one really sees the back of the tie, I am happier with this, because it’s a better aesthetic.

armour tie, metal tie, metal couture

armour tie


The front, of course, looks great! They all do. The client likes the rippled look on this, which I’ve done on other ties. This one was custom fit to him, so that it hangs exactly where he wants it to. He gave me the measurements, and I worked from that. The leather is strong enough that this tie should outlast me… I’m really pleased with these, and they are a reasonably priced at $400 Canadian (in 2016. price could rise later, of course).

armour tie, back view of armour tie


















If you want one of these in time for the holiday season, order now! Otherwise I can’t guarantee that I’ll have time to complete it in time. Just contact me to order.

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Handbuilt Melamine Terrarium

This was actually kind of fun to build! My son needed another terrarium for his lizards, since bearded dragons cannot be housed together. If they are, they tend to bite each other, fight, and even eat parts of one another. Yeesh! And we wanted something of a decent size for them as full grown lizards. I looked into the pricing of something this big, and buying one would have cost me at least $700 to $800 dollars, possibly more. Ouch!

So, I decided to build one. And I made it better than what I could buy.

bearded dragon habitat, terrarium, 4'x2'x2' terrarium

Melamine Terrarium: 4′ x 2′ x 2′

This one has wheels, so it’s easy to move around. And the front area isn’t glass, it’s Lexan, which is almost unbreakable. The back area is melamine most of the way up, but then has a screen that opens (if needed). While I still had to buy separate light fixtures, I can at least attach these inside at a height that is safe for the beardie.

Another thing I like about it is that it’s very strong. I’m almost 200 pounds (yes, I need to lose some weight), and I can sit on it without worries. So, the top of it can function as a shelf or table top. In our case, I’ll be building another terrarium to go up there. Haven’t decided what kind, yet. Daveed wants to breed hs lizards, so we’ll need some place to put the babies before they get sold and while they are still young enough to house together. [Again, do not house adult bearded dragons together – they fight and can kill one another!]

And my son is happy with this terrarium! It’s easy for him to reach inside and he can see everything easily. Lights are easy to change (which I tend to do). And melamine is easy to clean, too.

If someone wanted, I would make and sell them one. But only on demand. There’s no way I’d build something this big and then try to sell it… It takes up too much floor space in my small home!


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2015 Calgary Comic Expo

A fun time was had at this year’s Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo, where I had a table in the artists’ alley. At the table I had, of course, copies of Mythic Hero, but also sold some of my hand-made sterling silver jewellery, some of my drawing prints (my gestural drawings are most popular), a hand-crafted knife, and some T-shirts. I also had some of my friend, Michael Snyder’s, leather work there, and his stuff sold fairly well. People seemed really drawn to his sketchbooks with “My Little Pony” characters on them.

charcoal drawing, female nude drawing, nude woman,  original art, female nude shadow figure

Charcoal Drawing “Female Nude Shadow Figure” by Johanus Haidner

I took my kids with me, and while they spent a lot of time with other family members when I was at the show, they did come with me on Sunday, and both really enjoyed the time there. Both said that they want to go again next year. This is encouraging, as I like it a lot when I see that my kids are having fun! So, chances are pretty good that I’ll be there next year…

While I don’t find the workshops or panels very useful, and hardly attend them, I do find it fun to see all of the different displays, the various artists, new comics or graphic novels, and the many different vendors. I also get a chance to run into people I don’t see often. In fact I ran into an old friend whom I haven’t seen in many years, Jeff de Boer. He had some really neat rings that he was marketing there. Jeff is one of the more brilliant artists I know, it’s always worth checking his stuff out.

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Writing and Art Project Updates for March 2015

Last year I completed my Fantasy Role Playing Game, Mythic Hero. I will be attending the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo on April 17, 18, and 19 in the artist’s alley (booth I09) where copies of these will be available for purchase. I will also be selling prints of the comic, Mythified, at this event. I will also be selling some of my other prints, artwork, and jewellery there.

Mythified - still rolling hits_edited-1I am also working on expanding Mythic Hero. I’ll be adding a book on creatures, expanding the magic system (so including many more spells), and there are a couple of modules in development. At present Mythic Hero is only available directly through me and through a couple of select outlets.

I’m also working on a few handmade knives. These are of a higher quality, including Damascus steel blades on some. I expect to have a few of these available at the Expo, as well.

As far as my writing goes, I have finally decided what to work on first regarding Western Martial Arts, and will be releasing that soon. A specific date has not been set, so watch for that. I may even try to fund the printing through an Indiegogo campaign. Once this is done, I will also get some of my children’s stories out. There is no specific timeline on that, as the artwork for it is not done yet. I have a series of stories, which I call the “Freddy Stories” about a little dog and his family. titles include:

  • Freddy Finds a Home – where Freddy goes home with his kids
  • Freddy Takes a Walk – where Freddy gets out of the house himself and goes on a quest
  • Freddy’s First Birthday
  • Freddy Visits the Vet

There are more in the works, but these are the ones that are priority for me. I started these as simply making up stories for my daughter at bedtime when she was four-years-old. It turned out that both of my kids loved these stories! While my son has outgrown them, my daughter, who is now eight, still likes me to tell them to her. And it is time that I started to share these with the world. I haven’t decided whether to publish these myself of search for a traditional publisher, yet. With all of the other projects I have going, I am thinking that I will use a traditional route, and possibly have someone else illustrate these. I’ll decide that after Calgary Comic Expo. Either way, the news will be posted here regarding these.

Mythic Hero, Fantasy RPG, Role Playing , game, Tharsan, lizard man, dinosaur man,  tabletop RPG

Tharsan, one of the many races in Mythic Hero.

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Mythic Hero Fantast RPG

I’ve finally gotten my fantasy role playing game completed. Well, at least the writing portion of it. Of course the lion’s share of this project is the writing! The book could be used exactly as it is. and that’s cool. But it would be nice to have a bunch more artwork in it that is done by other people, and so I’ve started an Indiegogo campaign in order to raise the funds for the artwork and to print the book.

My game is called Mythic Hero. It’s a high fantasy RPG, and is rather unique in a lot of ways. It has a unique personality system that is used in aiding role-playing. While other systems use such things as good or evil to define a character’s behaviour, the personality profiles allow for any kind of character one wishes to play, regardless of how brave, pious, outgoing, honest, or dignified. Using this system, the GM may award karma for the players to “assist” them in skill checks and other rolls. This personality profile system is something completely different, never used in any other role playing game.

Mythic Hero fantasy role playing game, RPG, Indiegog campaign, fund raiser, new RPGIt is a skill-based system, which starts each character with a career. The career may be anything that makes sense in a mythological fantasy setting. Want to be a detective? It’s possible! And the skills that you choose will continue to help you as you play more. The better your skills get, and the others that you choose to develop through play, will make your character even more powerful. And it makes it more fun to play! Heck, why not have a locksmith who inspires to become a knight? He (or she) can still use those skills throughout play. It will only be a help, rather than a hindrance.

The magic system is unique and works from manna points. Players may make up their own spells, and are encouraged to do so. With multiple areas of magical study, one cannot easily master all — but is certainly welcome to try! That would make for a very powerful wizard, indeed…

The combat system is based on what I have experienced through studying Western Martial Arts, so that makes it a little more realistic than just about anything you can find on the market. The armour takes into account its deflective qualities against the weapons, and can be mixed and matched (which often happened in history).

Have a look at my campaign! And give me all the support you can. I’d love it, of course, if you’d buy a copy of the book. But I would also like it if you spread the word about it and tell everyone you know about the campaign.

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Rape Amusing?

When I first saw the title of this video, “Why Rape is Sincerely Hilarious” I was offended. How could such a thing be?

There are some people very close to me, personally, who have been raped. Both male and female. And the perpetrators are both male and female. I was offended by the title and almost didn’t watch this video. Dealing with rape can be very painful, to say the least. And when it happens to a child of 10 years old it can be confusing and emotionally devastating. And when that rape continues for years after the initial act, it can leave scars well into late adulthood. Sometimes they never truly heal…

I watched this video. And I cried.

Watch it! Be brave and watch it to the end…

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Current Projects

Yes, I’m really busy!Besides currently working full-time doing accounting (how’s that again?), and studying part-time, I have a few creative projects on the go…

  1. I’m doing a pair of gauntlets for someone in the USA. These will be nicer than those that I’ve built before. And should fit perfect!
  2. I’ve been commissioned to do a samurai helm that will also be SCA combat safe.
  3. I’m writing a book on simplifying one’s lifestyle.
  4. I’m currently doing some translation and interpretation of some German martial arts material… Really interesting!
  5. And I have a drawing due this Friday for the Calgary Comic Expo… Hope I actually manage to finish it!
  6. The final parts of my game “Mythic Hero”.
  7. And I have several other things I would like to get done, including a new helm and suit of armour for me, a series of artwork that I’m titling “Shattered”, the beginnings of a graphic novel, several fantasy drawings, a new gauntlet design that is easier and quicker to build (something I could finish in a day or less that still has full protection and complete articulation), and all of the advertising that I need to get done to push my business forward… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.
So how am I going to manage all of this? At the present time, I’m not sure. I do know that I will be spending as much time as I can working on all of these projects. It is bothering my kids that I’m working so much at the moment. But I really don’t like being stuck in a job all the time and barely making ends meet (and I do not live an extravagant lifestyle, by any means). So I am pushing myself to have the security I crave! And the pleasure in my career that I need for my personal sanity. Honestly, I think that everyone should pursue their passion in a career, whatever it may be. Well, unless you’re a psychopath, of course. Ha ha!
I may also be attaining a new commission for a pair of fantasy gauntlets, which is interesting. I’ll post more on that if it goes anywhere.
Having  such an array of skills and interests does make some things challenging in life. I don’t have the time armour tie, metal tie, executive art, corporate artfor the kind of relationship that most people really want. And that is sometimes a bother for me. I know that’s a matter of choice, but I really want to accomplish something more with myself in this life. And that’s hard for some people to understand. Yes, I could easily go and work a hard corporate job and make reams of money (and more for someone else). But I really am not interested in that path. And so I pursue my creative endeavours. And it means I’m constantly coming up with new ideas for projects.
I know that I won’t ever complete most of what I think of. I have enough jewellery designs to spend the next two years doing nothing but making jewellery. Most of those will never get made. I have several ideas for books. Some of them will get written by other people before I get around to it. In fact, I know of one that did years ago. I removed that from my project list. Although I’m thinking of adding it back on there, since a new release might be accepted in the market. We shall see in a year or two where that goes… Ha ha!
Oh, and I do want to make some more armour ties. Yes, I know that my friend Jeff deBoer has made armour ties before. But I’m not making the same ties as him. And the current ones I’m doing are way more affordable than his… Different target audience. But I do have some ideas for some work in that target range… Hmmm… Gotta learn more about marketing (once again). <sigh>
Too many ideas, not enough time.
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Realizing My “One Goal” Personal Management System

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day andhe made an observation that I found interesting. He stated that he noticed that a lot of intelligent and highly educated people are less keen than others for any kind of complicated, long-term relationship. I pondered for a bit and realized that, while it isn’t a rule, I agreed with him that more people from that demographic are likely to feel that way. They are also less likely to have children, I believe.

Now I wonder why this is…

My friend commented that he believes it is because these people are more focused on their ambitions – their careers – than other demographics.And that is also why they are more successful in this area than other demographics. Naturally! Perhaps I should have clarified, then, and said that maybe it’s not those who are more educated and/or intelligent, but rather those who are more ambitious.

I once read a quote that said something like, “Anything can be accomplished, as long as you are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to do it.” This means that any goal or ambition can be achieved, so long as one realizes that there will have to be some other things that cannot be achieved in order to accomplish the higher priority desire. And to really get somewhere in a career, relationships and family are often one of those things that are chosen as a lower priority. I’ve noticed this to be true regardless of what area one works in, whether professional, technical, trades, business, or arts. Those who are truly the most successful tend not to have success in relationships or family. And I believe it is a choice.

Now, I’m not saying that these things are impossible. For example, there are many successful actors/actresses who have great families. But notice that the trend is to have achieved the success in a career before the secondary goal of family begins. There has to be an extreme single-mindedness to achieve great success.

When we divide our efforts, rather than focusing on one particular goal, then we tend not to achieve our full desire in the greater objective.We need to work on one thing at a time. Or at least have one goal be a higher priority than others. And this can mean that the others will not be achieved. I’verealized that I’ve done this to myself in my own ambitions. I’ve divided my efforts, had a lack of focus; and therefore ended up getting nowhere in my ambitions. It’s a hard realization to admit.

When I was younger, I only had two real goals. To become an artist. And to have a wonderful family. Then I also wanted to be a writer. So a third one crept in. Then I ended up working at all kinds of things besides the art and writing, mostly at the request of others. Bowing to pressure. Yet,  Istill tried to be some form of artist. And writer. Too many things at once. And I had a wonderful relationship that lasted about 11 years. And I believe that it’s my lack of focus that caused me to lose so much at that time. My career floundered. My marriage fell apart. I stopped doing writing and artwork for a couple of years. In short, I was miserable.

And I thought that I could cure it by finding a relationship and focusing on my career for a time. So I did both. I got a new relationship, even had kids. And tried to focus on a career. But I knew in my heart that the career was wrong for me. And so was the woman. Those both fell apart when I tried to refocus my career. I had no clear goals at all. Not in my personal life. And not in my professional life. Again, everything fell apart. Of course, if I had focus on one thing fully, then I could have made it work. I grant that a failed relationship is not entirely my fault. What was at fault was the incorrect choice in choosing a partner. Had I been focused properly at the beginning of the relationship, it would never have developed. But I am glad that it did. Now I have two awesome children who I have made into my number one priority!

Choosing our priorities is not always easy. In choosing my kids as a priority, I realize that I have to sacrifice other things in my lifefor that. I’ve lost a few short term relationships already because of it. It’s hard for some women to take second place to my kids. I’ve also designed my career around them, so that I can spend as much time as possible with them. I get a lot of criticism for this! The number one comment is that they will always be there, so I should work more on my career. I can spend time with them later. But can I really?

Time is the one commodity that we never can renew. Once it’s spent, it’s gone forever. And children grow up quickly. It is my number one goal to develop a relationship with them while they are young that will foster closeness, love, and mutual understanding throughout our lives. I want to teach them everything that I can. I want them to love G-d and understand that questioning faith does not mean losing faith. I want them to learn self-control and reason. I want to help develop their compassion – towards one another, towards humanity, and towards our planet. I want to teach them responsibility. I want to teach them to recognize evil, even when it is within someone they love or within themselves. And that it hard to do!  And I want them to experience complete joy and love in our small family.

I am willing to sacrifice a lot for this, I’ve realized. I would sacrifice my career. I would sacrifice any relationship with a woman.  I would sacrifice my own health, if I had to. Thankfully, the latter is not necessary. While I realize that we have to live and I have to make a living, I am smart enough that I can make a career around my family. Many people are unable to see ways to do this. Yes, it means that I am unlikely to see stellar success until my kids are adults. I can accept that. I cannot accept a less than stellar relationship with my kids.

People who are goal oriented realize that they have to sacrifice some things to accomplish those goals. It may be subconscious a lot of the time, but the realization is there. I am fortunate, in that I am now able to articulate these goals that I’ve had in my mind (subconsciously) for a long time. And I understand what sacrifices I must make in order to accomplish these goals. It also made me realize how much I really love my kids!

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The Grant Writing Process

I recently applied for a grant from the Edmonton Arts Council. This is the first time I’ve ever applied for a grant, and it feels kind of odd. There’s a little bit of anxiety around it… And a lot of hope! The grant was so that I could do a project expanding on my metal ties and get several of these completed.

Metal ties? Yup! There aren’t a lot of artists who make metal ties, of course. In fact, I’ve seen a few crafts people do some very simple, rather plain ones. And I’ve seen one artist do some really cool, very complex ones. And each artist has a different way of approaching this. I hope that mine is unique enough to warrant the grant. I would truly love to make these ties. The proposal was for 20 ties. And that’s a lot! It’s essentially four month’s of full time work to complete these. Can I do it? Of course! But only if I get the grant.

Armour Tie, inspired by Wisby coat of plates, by Johanus Haidner © 2011. Custom metal ties, custom armour, metal couture, original art

Armour Tie, inspired by Wisby coat of plates, by Johanus Haidner © 2011

For me the hardest part was the written portion of the grant, where I have to explain the project and outline the reasons for doing it, what the benefits are to the community (and me), and what opportunities I believe the grant will offer. It’s kind of cool to think about my artwork that way. Usually I just think about whether it looks good or not. Or if it will sell. Well… there are a few that I’ve thought about the message more than anything else. That’s part of what artwork is all about. But the impact on the community and myself? That’s certainly something different.

Being an artist does often mean applying for grants or submitting proposals, such as in a juried competition or to a client who wants some display art. As an artist, this is always difficult. I think in terms of how the art will visually present, not it’s community impact or its marketability (usually). And I think that perhaps this is something that I should think about more in my work.

Or perhaps not.

I have so many ideas regarding the artwork I want to create. The big problem with being an artist is that for us it’s often backwards on the business model. We create something with meaning, something unique and inspiring. Something that comments about the world. We do it without regard for whether it is marketable or not. And then get frustrated when no-one else is interested in the work. It’s like firing the cannon without aiming anywhere in particular, then being surprised that we missed our target. Yet from this we learn to create better work. And eventually, if one is really good, the work does get noticed.

And that’s what grants are created for – to help the artist understand the creative process, and to know what works are good. Even the grant process requires, first and foremost, that the art be good.

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Creating an Accurate Historical Armour Pattern

I recently completed a Wisby #22 coat of plates for a client. This is an accurate reproduction of a 14th century body protection that would have been worn by a horseman (in all likelihood). The making of this armour took much longer than I had anticipated, but the result was certainly worth it! In creating something like this, it is important to get the historical accuracy of the armour correct. And that requires a bit of research. Thankfully, there is a book, Armour from the Battle of Wisby, that contains most of the information needed.

There is a small segment of the book that show the archeological find and the layout of the plates for this suit of armour. This makes knowing the shape and relative size of the pieces fairly straightforward; all it requires is a little math in order to scale this. And the use of some small ability in drawing. A ruler helps. So does a calculator. However, that alone was not enough.

Many of the plates shown in the pictures are severely damaged, and copying them directly

Wisby coat of plates #22, custom armour, historically accurate armour

A satisfied customer
Wisby #22 coat of plates

would not make a nice suit of armour. One has to read further through the book. There are mentions of the armour in several places throughout the book, and these little details that are mentioned allow a more accurate reproduction of the plates, as well as proper assembly of the coat. Without these, the final product may not have even worked!

My process produced an awesome looking coat of plates that made the owner smile! The buckles were medieval, and very much like the ones on the original coat of plates. There were a few decisions that had to be made during the design of this reproduction that had to be based upon the analysis of the armour and the discussions in the different sections of the book. Sometimes it wasn’t straight-forward how parts were assembled in the original, and further reading helped to clarify this.

I will, at some point, put up a pattern for this coat of plates. This will be for sale, as there is a lot of work to assemble it in a way that makes it easy for others. This is not a project that I would recommend for someone’s first armour attempt, but could be a second or third attempt, if you have a pattern already made! Look for it in July of this year.


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