My name is Chaos Doverspike. I'm a Graphic Designer, Leatherworker, Modern Manticore, and Wastelander.
This site is an attempt to gather up these variegated skills, materials, and experiences into something coherent...
Not a common name, I know. It's one that I chose for myself years ago, and at this point in life, I've been known by it longer than any other. Considering my path in life, I might've chosen a little too well...
I'm originally from Western New York, about as close as you can get to Niagara Falls. Most people hear "NY" and assume "NYC", but I've never been much of a city-dweller.
There, I spent my formative years drawing, playing Nintendo, stomping around the woods, learning how to build PCs and work on cars with my dad.
Originally, I had aspirations to be a writer, though I was also attempting level/game design, learning HTML and Photoshop 7. Once the highschool started offering CAD and robotics courses, I completed NY's new "Tech Prep" initiative, and my interests became more design-oriented.
After High School, I attended several different community colleges for architectural drafting and CAD, but the interest just wasn't there.
After roughly 20 years, I moved down to Florida and attended Full Sail University for "Digital Media and Design". Following that, I moved all around the country; Maryland, Florida again, Wisconsin, Texas. Freelance was never sustainable, and I couldn't find a studio position with my disparate skillset, so I worked in various technical and AV positions.
In recent years, a mutual friend and business partner extended an opportunity to work with a laser engraver. We had started with leather-bound books and accessories, selling at conventions, before relocating to Central Texas in 2014. From there, I began to take an interest in armor design. With my design background & those tools at my disposal, I was able to rapidly prototype & design something unique.
This was also around the time that I learned of Wasteland Weekend, and so my crafting also took on a post-apocalyptic flair...
Iconography: glyphs, runes, icons, demonology, logos & branding, UI elements
Post-Apoc: Mad Max, Wasteland, Fallout, crafting armor & costumes
Forging: Smelting metal, welding, creating uncommon knives & swords
Composite Beasts: Manticore, Basilisk, Dragons, Cryptids
Crafting: Finding unique textures and parts, disassembling machinery, establishing visual themes with different materials.
Archery & Target Shooting (.177 - .22)
Somewhat current consumption
Music: Djent, Witchhouse, Industrial, Dark Ambience, VG Soundtracks
Podcasts: PRX Remix/Radiotopia, MBMaM, 99% Invisible, Maxfun
Video: Twin Peaks, The Expanse, Fargo, RedLetterMedia, Internet Historian
VG: Zelda:BOTW, Thumper, Hades
When I first started all of this, I looked into what information was out there, and what other makers were offering.
I didn't find much of the former, in that a scant few, hand-drawn instructions described very basic shapes & rules. Metal armor seemed to have all the interesting techniques and mechanics that allowed for joints and moving pieces.
Leather armor exist in a broad variety of functionality & price ranges. Now, I'm not the first to create articulated gauntlets. I studied other designs, but the motion was usually very "broad", it didn't seem to correlate with the hand.
Starting with foam sheets, I began to cut out pieces that would align with the joints of the hand. Hopefully, they would also twist, stretch, and move along with them.
Those first few iterations were admittedly ugly, and I spent a lot of time agonizing over the order of layers and contours of edges, long before I even starting working with leather & learning all of those particular nuances. Determining what edges to skive and which to burnish, how tight to set the rivets, how much to water-harden the plates, everything took numerous attempts to refine.
I'm still refining the process as I go, and I'm glad to have had those many prototypes and display pieces over the years, to flip them around and see how I've been changing my technique and aesthetic.
Currently, I have gauntlets, vambraces, pauldrons, and greaves readily in stock, and I've taken up a number of custom cosplay requests. Those in particular are what drive me to innovate new designs, and it's how the Manticore Gauntlets came into existence, which is it's own section.
Requests for custom work has always enabled me to innovate, and it was such a request that lead these into existence.
A commissioner on Etsy was looking for gauntlets that could cover the entire hand. At the time, I didn't think it could be done. Layers would be too thick between the fingers, rivets too unweildly, etc. It would take a few months of idle thought before the notion of using 'live joints' even came into my mind.
Working in vector format and using a laser engraver means that I can design shapes with a tolerance of .001". It didn't take too much trial & error to decide on the shape & thickness of the joints, and the smaller cuts that would determine how they flex. As expected, 8 oz. leather was very accommodating to repeated flexing. I tested a prototype for at least a week before proceeding with the commission.
In the midst of this, I had randomly tweeted a few pictures of the prototype, and it had gained a lot of attention (for me, anyway). [Embedded tweet to follow] After finishing the gauntlet & posting, my follower count had climbed from roughly 100 to 1,000.
I took the initiative to bypass Etsy and offer this yet-unnamed design to Twitter directly, creating an order form, figuring out the logistics of taking proper measurements, and creating a Trello page to track orders with regular WIP updates and news. "Manticore Gauntlets" launched on March 20th, 2020.
I've got to say, I did not expect this much of a reaction, or so many wild requests for custom work. Getting outside of Etsy showed me a whole different possibility, and I remain thankful for that experience, as the past year has been an absolute blur of activity.
Wasteland Weekend is an annual post-apocalyptic gathering in the Mojave Desert, a confluence of established culture & entirely unique forms of insanity. This is an arena where all of my skills intersect.
The Post-Apoc aesthetic is a common interest I share with my partner. In 2014, we cobbled together costumes, a themed tent, and were introduced to Road Rash via a mutual friend. It was an amazing first year, and the reason we kept coming back.
After that, we expanded our efforts; the tent was now a modular structure for others, as we started our own VULTUR tribe. I had found an old 96' Toyota Tacoma that was previously used as a hunting truck in Alaska and already had a terrible paintjob and a bullethole or two.
We're now members of the Dauntless Express Corp, who oversee the tribe and mission boards just beyond the front gates, and manage the Forlorn Hope Saloon. Although 2020 managed to cancel everything for a year, I'm very anxious to get back out there again...
2014 - 2019
Armor & Weapon Crafting
Daily Posts, WIPs, Random Oddities
Stock Items & Leatherwork Commissions
Tipping, Stickers & Printwork,
Flash Sales / Small Batch
Manticore Order Form
Commission Information & Options