Thursday, 31 January 2008

Happy Birthday to me.

I forgot to publish this post (oops!).. but yes, it was my birthday on the 31st! I didn't plan on doing anything at all but the day before my birthday, a friend took me to watch 'Wicked' at the theatre, front row seats, and it was amazing... then on my actual birthday, two other friends took me to dinner, and my boyfriend got me a laptop which I am typing from right now and something I've wanted for years! I'm not going to go on about it all in detail because it can get quite boring and I'd rather be typing about a beautiful dress I have recently made, think ivory and navy plaid georgette, solid navy crepe de chine and a pop of cerise!... and I was so excited with finishing it that I accidently cut a hole while I was just trimming off the last bits of thread hanging off.... all will be revealed shortly!...

Monday, 28 January 2008

The Little Book of Art.

As you may know, I'm quite obsessed with ACEO's (don't know what they are? Click here). So far, I have 7. When I got my first ones, I definitely didn't want to frame them in any way, (I'm just not a framing type of person) but I knew I wanted to keep them in a box or a book of some sort. I also definitely didn't want to keep them in those typical plastic trading card sleeves (the 3x3 slots) which are then stored in a folder.. I just felt it would look too cluttered.

So, about 2 weeks ago, I made my own book to keep them in. I've called it 'The Little Book of Art', because that's exactly what it is. I decided to treat the book as though it was a mini art gallery with only grey, black and white pages, just like how art galleries have clean, neutral wall tones, so that all attention is on the art and is complimentary.

Also, I've attached the actual ACEO (still in it's card sleeve) to the pages, so if I ever get bored (most likely) of the order or composition, I only simply need to take the ACEO out, and swap it with another! I love my book, I think it looks so cute and I can't wait for it to be completely filled with beautiful pieces of art.. and I can always add more pages if I ever need to.
These are a good example of how either the grey, black or white base colour can be used to compliment ACEOs. These are my own #1 ACEOs which I have kept as a reference while I sell the others in the limited edition. These will of course be up for sale once the rest of the edition has been sold. (So they are not purely in my book out of vanity!)

Saturday, 26 January 2008

From Wood to Sterling.

A few months ago:
I came across this buckle on eBay, which I'm sure is made from wood, and loved it straight away. It had a strong deco aesthetic because of the shapes, but as it was made from wood and not something like... black lacquered Bakelite.. it seemed to have a whole theme of its own! I can't remember anything else about it and I don't recall the seller knowing much either. I decided to try and win it as I'd never seen a buckle like that before, but the bidding got too high and I lost out... but I oh so wanted it!

As it was now going to someone else, I decided to at least keep the images, worked out the measurements and other details, and asked if my father could attempt it, in sterling silver. Surprisingly, I forgot I'd sent it to my email the same time I sent it to my brother (who was currently working with my father) and found it in my inbox which is great because I am now able to show you how it looked, otherwise you'd only have the finished product to see... also I couldn't believe how bossy and demanding my 'instructions' were! (i.e asking for pearls!!)He whipped it up in about 2 weeks in between his other commissions and complained of it breaking one of his machines, but he did an amazing job and each section joins perfectly!..he also used genuine tiger eye beads to form a section for me to attach a belt to.. However.. I ended up snapping them off pretty much straight away as they were strung with fishing wire which my father thought would be OK, so I had to send it back to him so that he could use a thick silver tube instead ...and so soon after I had just got it!


Present time:
I got it back a few days ago, and this time he has used some beautiful beads which are part of the carnelian family.. (and also super secure!) I don't think I'll be using it as a belt now.. it just seems too special to me, and if I ever dropped it on a hard surface, the silver would get scratched or dented. The buckle also slightly curves, which of course, sits beautifully against the waist.
I'm also thinking, at a later date, to ask my father to engrave my name... y'know, just to make it that little bit more special...


Thursday, 24 January 2008

A little bit of milkglass, rhinestones and enamel.

I collect vintage jewellery, and those are my most favourite elements. I suppose there are notions of milkglass almost being like freshwater pearls and rhinestones being like diamonds, but you never ever get them in the same design. It's either costume, or fine. For example, a stretchy rhinestone encrusted bracelet, you would never see that with diamonds.
I can only think of 1920/30's Chanel having the most beautiful costume jewellery-esque designs but with the use of diamonds, but then again maybe it's only because it was so many decades ago.. I don't really understand why diamonds are so expensive though, shouldn't things be expensive when they are rare? There are billions of diamonds, there's never a shortage... OK fair enough if it's a pink one.. or any other 'rare' colour.. but I still don't get it, someone please enlighten me...

...Anyway, here is a peek at some of my favourite pieces of vintage jewellery that I have picked up from all over the place. I never wear them though and some need fixing but I just keep them in a box, so it's like my own little treasure chest! The image below is of a red enamel and gold tone necklace with a little 'droplet', then we have the milkglass and rhinestones, and a textured gold tone and rhinestone choker. And here is a gold tone rose choker accented with rhinestones and also a purple enamelled choker with matching earrings, although I'd love to turn the earrings into rings!

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Moo.

No I'm not just making random animal noises, I'm talking about Moo cards! I've finally invested in getting business cards made... which I should have done a long time ago. There are 100 altogether in 11 different designs, I'm not certain which I prefer the most yet, but I quite like the one in the middle where it shows a snippet of what I currently have in my shop.
I've often been stopped in public by women of all ages asking where I got my dress from, my shoes, my jewellery.. or just to tell me that 'it's really nice' .. I usually just respond with a 'thanks!' and that was it, never really thought much about it, but, it suddenly clicked (took a while, but it got there), that they clearly like, what I like, and most of the time, it is something I have made or something my father (the jeweller) has made. .. of course, this is when I should really be handing over my business card, not just thanking them and skipping off merrily down the road. Also, I have received two different Moo cards in some purchases I made from Etsy and absolutely not throwing them away just because they're not the standard type of business card, so if I feel that way, maybe other people do too?

Friday, 18 January 2008

Digital Fantasy Art and Manipulations.

I am obsessed with vampiric lore, I have seen pretty much every vampire thing there is to see!..Vampire in Brooklyn, Interview with the Vampire, all of Buffy, all of Angel, Embrace of the Vampire, John Carpenter's Vampires (excellent!), From Dusk til Dawn, Blade, Queen of the Damned.. (a lot of the very old cheesy ones too) I could go on and on and on...

... and if I could be anything else apart from human, it would have to be a vampire. When I was younger, I even wanted to get my canines sharpened... !Well well well, this is all possible with amazing photo manipulation techniques by bunny! Her before and afters are absolutely stunning, and so realistic. I couldn't take my eyes off this one, my absolute favourite:
The manipulation below is so dark and beautiful, and I will definitely, eventually get one done myself (when I'm not feeling so shy about it)! This completely beats those prim and proper (and boring) makeover shoots.
Bunny also does manipulations of your pets, your children, anything and everything. You can see more of her wonderful manipulations (and get one done yourself!), other art and fantastic shoes in her Etsy shop and here.

Another digitally talented artist is linranae. I accidentally came across her art, while I was bored late at night and decided to check out the 'art collectors' section under Gift Guides on Etsy. The image that was featured was of a beautiful painting of a fairy, and like all girls, I love fairies, and wouldn't mind being one either! I just had to check out her shop!.. 'Solitude Gothic Fairy' is one of my favourites:
Have a look at her personal website http://lindseycormier.com/ and her Etsy shop to see more of her alluring work.I loved what I was seeing so decided to have a peek at her blog too! I was completely overwhelmed and hypnotised by her digital painting, you MUST check it out, and if you want to enjoy it as much as I did, have your speakers on loud! : Lindsey paints a youtuber: Maiyana45.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Digital Fashion.

I recently made more of my fashion illustrations into ACEOs, and very pleased with the outcome. They look so cute in such a small scale! They were originally designed for a University project which required you to combine two fashion brands together, which in turn, produced a fashion collection that had elements from both brands.
It was mandatory to use Aquascutum (pronounced Ak-wa-skew-tum), as one out of the two head designers had previously graduated from my University and was coming to judge the designs. For the second brand, I chose Moschino, (pronounced Mos-keeno, not Mosh-eeno, if you please!) firstly because I did a 2 month internship with them when I was 20 (wonderful experience!) therefore I completely understood the style, and also because it had been my favourite brand since I was a child.
I firstly developed a fabric board of ideas. If you know of Moschino, you know that it's a very cheeky, kooky brand, so I wanted to mix different (vintage) fabrics together, applied some heart shaped embroideries (the brand often uses hearts and bows) and I even made a quilted teapot!.. My design style is very similar to Moschino, so it was just as if I was personally collaborating with Aquascutum!
So, these are the results of the project! .. This is the first time I experimented with collaging my drawn designs onto an actual model and then digitally engineering it instead of illustrating my own 'girls'. As I was designing for two real brands, I wanted my illustrations to be 'real' and to have a fun photoshoot vibe to them. My designs are frivolous with cheeky detailing such as a little quilted heart (see above) and instead of real collars, I decided for a collar shape to be embroidered (which I embroidered and scanned in so you can see the texture), subconsciously inspired by Trompe-l'œil! I kept to Aquascutum's brand values by including traditional garment details, such as peter pan collars, lapels, and storm flaps (the red embroidered section below), all present in Aquascutum's design philosophy.
So there you have it, there are a total of four illustrations and they will be on sale in my Etsy shop in ACEO format and soon, larger prints!

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Goodbye Aquarius.

I am so excited to have had my first book sale, and also with it being one of my Astrology ones!
It sold a day after I listed it and the buyer also requested additional pages, which I was happy to do! So, it went from this:


To this:Now that's what I call chunky. The reason why I am extra happy with the sale of an Astrology book is although I love them and other people may too, I wasn't sure if people would actually buy them. I mean, would you really want to buy a book, describing you as selfish, possessive, ruthless, controlling, arrogant.. and a lot of other things! (That isn't all for Aquarius by the way, it's a mix of all the signs!)... and I only make things that I already use or would use, there's no point making things that I 'think people might buy'. I would find that incredibly boring and pointless.
Also, I came across the most beautiful photo, and it is by anybodyinthere, who is actually the person who bought my Aquarius book! I first spotted it in her avatar, and I thought it was some sort of rare peacock (I love peacocks!).. so, I just had to have a little peek! It is called 'Blown' and is 'a type of salsify', a stunning photo.

Friday, 11 January 2008

From Vintage to Illustration.

I am going to take you on a little journey showing how vintage clothing inspires me and my love for embellishment!
The top you see didn't start as a top, it started as a dress from the 1980's, with horrible, stiff lining, super padded shoulders and a lot of beads missing. It just wasn't very nice, but I loved the embellishment and the pattern it formed.
At University, I had a project that required me to make two complete outfits. So, I decided to experiment with something vintage for one of them. I got this evening dress from a vintage fair, but I wasn't sure what to do with it, so when I got it back to my workspace, I put it on a stand, took one look and cut the skirt section off, cut the lining out, and looked at it again. As it was now completely sheer, I thought about utilising another love of mine, embroidery. So, I embroidered through the middle, huge satin stitches into the chiffon, filling it completely, so no sign of bust would be on show. (I also took one layer of shoulder padding out, but decided to keep some in to hold the shape of the top up as the beading and sequins weighed it down.)I restored the missing beads and added paillettes (large disc sequins) vertically across the waistline, which I thought was quite flattering, I also added a few around the elbow as an accent! Although the overall sewing was not the best (you will instantly see faults if you work with clothing!), I do feel that I have improved it, from the original, which I wish I had taken a photo of!

This project also required a fashion show, which is why I wanted something highly embellished, something that would really stand out and sparkle!! .. I made slim georgette trousers to be worn with the top, styled with patent peep toe heels, and short, black leather gloves.

The second outfit was a dress and I wanted it to be quite elegant, but also sexy, and yes, it had to sparkle too! I bought some sequined georgette fabric, and went about making my idea. It has a draped section which wraps around the neck and fastens with a hook and eye. My favourite part of the dress are the horizontal pleats I constructed for the skirt part, which went all the way round and into a 'v' shape at the front. This was really really hard, the fabric was a killer to sew because of the sequins, and because there are no side seams in the skirt (as the pleat goes all the way round - a very discreet seam is in the front), I had to put a zip that started in the bodice which then went into a dart in the skirt! It was such a pain but I loved the finish result. I didn't want any skin on show, so styled it with thick black tights, a long sleeved black polo neck, long black leather gloves (over the sleeves) and patent peep toe heels. (You can click on the photos to get a bigger image!).. I am contemplating making this to sell in my Etsy shop (with a different fabric!) ... but the thought of attaching a zip into a dart makes me cringe... so I might slightly rework it.So, with all the outfits made, illustrations are needed. Hopefully you have recognised the illustration below, which is an illustration of the above dress. It also reminded me that I attached paillettes onto the shoulder of the dress, so when the model walked, it would flutter and catch the light.These aren't the actual illustrations I did at the time they were needed, these are improved versions. The one thing that all fashion designers need, is a damn good portfolio. Therefore, everyone in my class had to be seen, criticised and told what needed redoing. I had the most amazing fashion illustrator as a mentor, Richard Gray, who has illustrated for numerous fashion houses, one that stands out in my mind is Christian Dior. You must take a look at his online portfolio! The original illustrations I did for this collection were actually quite pathetic in comparison, and I drew the sequins with just little dots. He told me that if I love embellishment, I need to show it, and to become obsessed with it. So, I listened to his words, and drew each sequin, one by one. I was shocked at the outcome, so was he and if I still had the originals to compare, so would you. It was an excruciatingly long process, but now when I'm illustrating, I make sure to really take my time and to 'obsess'. These two illustrations were his favourites. This collection is called 'Obsession', which you could probably see coming and I have now added them to my Etsy shop as ACEOs. (Of course.) Below is a catsuit version of the vintage top which everyone loved, my course leader loved it so much he put it in the University newsletter! So there you have it, how one piece of vintage, can determine an entire collection.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

"Don't judge a book by it's cover".

Don't you just hate that saying? Of course it's not literally just meant towards books, it is also used metaphorically, but lets just talk about books for now. I always always always judge a book by it's cover... being in the creative field, it's just instinct to be drawn to something aesthetically pleasing...and it has to look pretty on the bookshelf, doesn't it?
I have just finished reading 'The Thirteenth Tale' by Diane Setterfield and it was the cover that attracted me to it. (I got it for Christmas when I sent my boyfriend the entire contents of my Amazon basket.) I instantly knew that it would involve young twins, or sisters, and as the title contained 'thirteenth' which I associated with horror films and of course Friday the 13th, I knew it would probably be some sort of haunting tale about sisters, fantastic.
So the cover of a book will instantly determine whether it is to your taste or not and you could just about get a feel of the storyline without even having to read the back. Therefore, the saying is indeed complete nonsense.

I'm not going to say much about the book because I know I'll ruin it for anyone who wishes to read it, but it was an amazing book, and even though I am reading several other books at the same time, this was one that completely held my attention and I finished it very very quickly. I recommend it to all book lovers, and yes it was a haunting tale about twins, but you'll just have to read it to know what happened... which is a lot lot more than I am divulging!

(Of course, you do also get many books with front covers that have absolutely nothing to do with the storyline, but that's a whole other topic!)

Monday, 7 January 2008

You're gullible, artistic, flirtatious, jealous.

Welcome to the introduction of my new Astrology themed books!

I've always been interested in Astrology. I read Palmistry books when I was 10 and would skip to school the next day to predict the future for all my classmates... I would be surrounded by loads of them, all with their palms held out and lots of 'me', 'no me' .. me's.

So, I came across some articles on the character traits for each astrology sign and some accompanying information, such as the colours associated with each particular sign. I instantly wanted to use this new found information on my books, which I have just finished! The front and back of each book is decorated with the corresponding character traits, both positive and negative as I wanted the books to be 'real' and almost humorous. (I think they are, but then again, I do have a very dry sense of humour!)

The main body of the books are then filled with the colours linked with the individual sign. I firstly thought to just choose one colour, as some of the colours seemed like they just wouldn't look right together, but I wanted to make it a challenge so decided to use all of them! .. and I'm very pleased with the results! Here is a sneak preview of Aquarius, Cancer and Scorpio.
Of course, these books won't match with everyones personalities, whether in regards to the stated traits or if they even like the colours! But, everything is worth trying out. Here is another sneak preview, this time of Pisces and Libra. I will slowly be listing all 12 astrology signs in my shop!

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Flamingo talk.

Everyone has a favourite animal(s) don't they? What are yours and why? I like exotic animals, my favourites are flamingos and pigs, although you probably wouldn't categorize the latter as being exotic. I have to admit though, I'm not much of an animal lover, I just like the way they look, it's hard to explain, and both being pink just happens to be coincidence.

Anyway, I've been working on these blank notebooks which I have already listed, originally inspired by the fact that I hated buying the standard sketchbooks at University so proceeded to make my own! I could therefore match up the colour of my books with any garments I had to make as part of a project, personalize the front cover as I pleased, control the amount of pages, the quality of paper, it was completely mine. Here are some of my original books where I also attached charms to the ribbon.
I originally looped the ribbon round and round to bind the pages as shown, but it sometimes made my books open a bit wonky which drove me crazy, so for the new, and improved ones that I am selling, I have individually tied a strand of ribbon through each adjacent hole instead, and the little bows look so cute!

So, back to flamingos. I doodled some flamingos to use as a little image on the front cover of a newly-thought-of book idea. I wanted to do something different to just using 'notebook' on the front, or leaving it plain, and someone who would buy a pink book, surely wouldn't mind a flamingo?With the one on the left, I think I was trying to make it look really elegant and added curls, but it looked completely wrong, so I tried another, this time with one leg up (a lot more flamingo-like!), and a subtle curl (I think I was subconsciously thinking of a little piggy tail), liked it, scanned it in, cleaned it up in photoshop, filled the body in black, and voila! I used pale pink ribbon to bind it at first, but it looked too bland, so I have used fuchsia ribbon instead, to give it that pizazz! It is also currently available to buy in my Etsy shop!

Friday, 4 January 2008

ACEOs.

Yes! I love them and I'll constantly be mentioning them! I don't think I explained the whole ACEO concept clearly in my last post, so here it is. The main rule is that it basically has to measure 2.5" x 3.5", that's it really. Simple. I read pretty much the whole of this ACEO site: http://www.art-cards.org/

I think majority of people prefer original ACEOs to reproductions, and I truly, deeply admire people who can paint/draw beautiful things on such a small scale. All of my ACEOs have come from A3/A4 artwork! Although I am going to try doing some originals soon. One Etsy seller that I keep going back to browse and would really love to buy from is TheBrilliantMagpie , her work is so beautiful with a few 1920's references (they caught my eye first), and I will one day buy one of her oil painting ACEOs. This is one of my favourites and can't stop looking at it!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
I have listed a group of ACEOs in my Etsy shop called 'Twilight', this is my favourite group of illustrations which I think is because I adhered to using traditional methods for the main image, ink and pencil, which I try to all the time, but I would say I am strongest using digital methods. I found this image of a 1920s showgirl, and it had so much energy and life to it, that it ended up being an inspiration for the collection. I love sequins, love how it manipulates light.
The illustration below is my favourite out of this collection. When I was younger, I had such a hard time drawing a decent looking body, and faces and hands were a nightmare, so I guess I am just quite proud of the outcome of this one. I love the dress and am thinking of actually making it!.. I'm just trying to source some nice-but-not-overly-expensive feathers.

Etsy purchases and ACEOs.

When I found Etsy, it was something I'd always been looking for but never knew it! So, I thought it would be nice to share the things I have purchased so far.

Firstly, I noticed a lot of art selling, and a lot of it was definitely pleasing to my eye, but many I noticed, were labelled as ACEOs.. I had no idea what this was so skipped it.. but it kept coming up more and more on artwork I liked and lots of mentioning in the forums, so I decided to undertake some research...

.. I loved what I found, the concept was great, and I'm not really the sort of person who likes to frame things as I tend to get bored seeing something everyday (I'm forever rearranging my bedroom!), I prefer keeping things in a box or a book, so they always seem fresh and new to me everytime I see them again. I guess this may come from my many years studying art and design, where all work is stored in sketchbooks, folders, etc.

So, after finding out what ACEOs were (and also very affordable), I went on my hunt, searching for all the things I'd previously ignored. The first that caught my eye were illustrations by scarlettcat and I had to snap up these three ACEO's. They're absolutely beautiful, especially the blue-haired one. I can't wait to see her future illustrations.

At this time, I was currently selling my father's jewellery, from what he had left from selling in his own shop and around antique fairs around 2 decades ago and felt like I wanted to have my own pieces of work in my shop, not just his. So, I went through all my artwork I'd ever done, and started experimenting with turning them into good quality ACEOs by using professional printers and having a nice finish to them. I listed some last night and hope they eventually find their way into somebody's collection! I am still contemplating on whether I should offer them as normal prints (6x4 or 8x10) but I'm not sure whether my style is appealing to the majority of the Etsy market... I think I'll see how my ACEOs do first.
Other purchases I have made are pieces of jewellery. Being brought up around jewellery and watching my father at work has made it an interest to me, if I didn't do Fashion Design, I would be doing some sort of Silver/Goldsmithing course. I adore fine jewellery, but also kitschy pieces!
I love love love these pieces I have bought. The top item is a matryoshka doll embedded in resin and by using copper wire, is formed into a ring. This is one hell of a ring and yasminbochi was happy to make me one after I spotted it in her sold items! It's stunning! Below that is a hematite and 'cherry liquorice cube' necklace by gallerialinda .. absolutely beautiful, I saw this in her avatar while browsing on the forums, so I must absolutely stress that if you run an Etsy shop, make sure you have a stunning avatar.

The bottom row consists of two pendants, with mini prints of paintings by ttgart .. I originally bought them to put on my charm bracelet but they seemed to look better hanging off my neck! Last but not least, the resin doll pendant is by stoopidgerl .. really lovely and looks great on my charm bracelet.

Everyone I have dealt with so far have been incredibly charming and kind. I could literally buy something everyday from Etsy!

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Computer games aren't just for boys.

Ever since I was very very young, I have loved computer games. Chun Li was always my favourite when I played Street Fighter and nagged my mother to take me to gymnastic sessions so I could flip and jump around like she did. I played all the games that were popular, including Sonic the Hedghog and Marioland. The latter took up most of my childhood and I was ecstatic when 3D versions were introduced! Game consoles are slowly becoming more girl-friendly, and was very happy to receive a pink GameboyAdvance from my boyfriend for one of my birthdays.

I've never met other females who also enjoys playing computer games or has any interest at all in them, so stumbling upon a shop on Etsy (on a UK seller chat thread) where there were these wonderful beaded pieces of jewellery depicting Marioland characters was quite a surprise!...and from the moment I started this blog, I knew I'd have to talk about it. I slowly began finding more of these video game accessories and with a little help from spugmeistress, I have been able to do a small compilation of these Etsians!

Whenever I played Marioland, I was really into it, I mean, REALLY into it ... I'd get so upset if I got really far into the game and died! I remember my health bar , and getting nervous if I clumsily ran into an enemy and it would drop down... then having to quickly hope I could find a heart somewhere to get it back up again! .. or even better, a mushroom (ottermoondesigns) to make me bigger! Then I'd find a flashing star (spugmeistress), taking full advantage of it and charging through the entire level.

I also came across space invaders items, I loved that game! KMCdesigns has a great space invaders wallet. I even found a space invaders scarf by wildcatdesigns.

Now that I am older, I must admit that I am moving towards a more 'sophisticated' type of game, I have thoroughly enjoyed playing the amazing game 'Oblivion', 'Final Fantasy' and currently playing 'Guild Wars', where I spent a ridiculous amount of time deciding a name for my character, what her face would look like, what hairstyle she would have and quickly completing missions and collating materials to make her a fabulous dress, not to forget a red dye to further enhance it!