Friday, December 5, 2008

Faeriecon International 2000

I hate to say it, but as a vendor it was three days of hell. It was better than last year, and I felt more prepared and that I had a better set up, but when you've spend weeks killing your self getting stock ready and no one wants to buy any thing because the economy is tanking it is time to rethink applying for next year.

Maybe my thoughts would be different if it was not held in the middle the city in a convention center. Let's face it, the crowd this type of event would attract is more at home in the forest than the concrete jungle. Trying to find (and paying for!) parking was just rediculous. I probably would not have gone myself if I had not paid a small fortune for my booth just because I hate driving in the city. Plus the fees are extraordinary because the convention center sets the rate and then they are marked up from there.

Due to my own personal constraints and the inability to find anyone willing to model for me, the only submission I had for the fashion show was myself, which was the white and black cherry custom dyed haboti silk Titania ballgown and wings (above).

So the prognosis is that I will not be vending at Faeriecon again unless they get out of the city and the economy picks up so I can actually make something back instead of barely braking even. That is really sad because I know how lucky I am to live so close to such an event.

Friday, October 3, 2008

It Never Ends-The Quest for Better Photographs

Oh yes, I just reshot all of my wings and things this week. I invested in a nifty light kit by Smith-Victor from Adorama-a fantastic photography supply site. --->

I had no idea my work room was so dark until I lit these babies up. No wonder I am going blind. My boyfriend stuck his head in the door at one point to check on my progress and he was wearing sunglasses...

Well, here is a brief example of the results:

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fright Night Exhibition

The Fantasy Artists of Etsy's October Exhibition is now live! Please visit Fright Night to see all the haunting and creepy creations by the collective of Etsy fantasy artists.
While you are there, be sure to take a look around and see the brand-new FAEteam website.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Exciting News!!

I've been sitting on this one for a while waiting for the paperwork to come through. Last night after arriving home from yet another horrible day at work, I was instantly cheered to find that my licensing agreement from Amy Brown had finally arrived.
This very talented artist has granted me a non-exclusive license to create costumes and wings based on her beautiful paintings! I am so excited and can't wait to get started. This was initiated via email back in July and I have hesitated to start creating until everything was finalized.
I hope I can crank out a costume or two before Faeriecon next month-which is only a little over two weeks away!.

In other news, I have been going insane trying to make all kinds of things to get ready for Faeriecon. I have several projects in the final stages of completion and hope to have a few pictures posted in the very near future.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

In the wake of Ike

Hurricane season has already left a swath of destruction in the US.
Fellow FAEteam member Beth of Archeress Arts has begun a small fundraiser, called Winds of Hope, to assist another member, Valorie of Battlemaiden Studios who's family's home was devastated during the storm. At some point during the deluge, half of the roof on her family's home gave way, leaving her brother and sister's room to an open-sky ceiling. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, but the 4 family members are now taking shelter with her in Valorie's apartment until repairs are made. Under the tag windsofhope, some of us are selling at least one item with the proceeds to go directly to Valorie and her family, for roof repairs and any other necessities as they push through this hard time together.

I have listed my white recyled and distressed rabbit fur mask, titled "Artic" to be sold for the Winds of Hope Fundraiser, with the proceeds to be donated to Valorie. I believe more Fae friends will be listing items in the near future, so be sure to take a moment and search for the tag "windsofhope".

Monday, August 25, 2008

New Product Announcement!

A few weeks ago, while toiling away on my leather masks, I had a flash of inspiration. I had a sudden vision of a glowing, jewel encrusted wire mask, that would mold to the contours of you face, enhancing not hiding your natural beauty.
It took almost a week to construct the first one, but here are a few pictures to give you an idea of what this new product line is going to look like:

I have a really unique feature that I have never seen done before: instead of wearing this mask with ribbon ties or elastic, it is worn like a pair of glasses, with adjustable arms that hook around your ears. Being tie free, it will not interfere with your hair style or other headdress items.
This mask is woven non-tarnish artistic wire in three different gages and accented with tiny clear irridecent seed beads, fire-polished and swarovski crystals. It is also light as a feather, not feeling much heavier than say, a large pair of sunglasses.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Silicone Rubber Mold Making Tutorial

I am working on a nifty new project that requires me to create something I never have before-icicles.
After doing some research, I decided cast them out of a clear resin epoxy, such as Easy Cast, which was available at my local craft store (Michael's).
I dusted off my mold making knowledge from sculpture class in college and snapped a few pictures along the way so I could share it with you.
This method is for making casts of small items. Bigger objects would require a plaster "jacket" for support when casting!

-The item(s) you are planing to cast.
Silicone Caulk and caulk gun-available at your local hardware store, usually in or near the paint section. Make sure you purchase 100% silicone-not the white latex adhesives, they will not work.
A plastic bucket half filled with warm water
Liquid dish soap
Cooking Spray (Pam)
Saran wrap and masking tape (to protect work surface)
Vapor breath mask


Work in a well-ventilated area and wear a protective mask: the fumes of the silicone are very noxious. Cover a section of your work area with the saran wrap and edge with the masking tape. This is to keep the silicone from sticking to your table.
I made my icicles out of microcrystaline modeling wax, built on 14 gage wire. Make sure your item(s) are clean and dry, then spray a coat of cooking spray. This is a inexpensive but very effective mold release.

Using the Silicone
Pour some liquid dish soap into your bucket or bowl of warm water and swish the soap around to dilute it. You do not want tons of bubbles, you want to make the water feel super slippery.
Cut the tip off your caulk cartridge, puncture the inner seal and load it into the caulk gun according to the manufacturer's instructions. Squeeze a clump of the caulk into the bucket of soapy water. Using your vasaline-coated hands, reach into the bucket, scoop out the silicone and gently squeeze out the excess water.
Place the wad of silicone on your prepped item, smoothing into the cracks and crevices. Repeat until you have well covered your item(s). Check for any holes or gaps that need to be plugged. This will be a reusable mold, so I made made it about a quarter inch thick all over with a little extra on the bottom and sides for strength. I used about 2 1/2 cartridges of silicone for this little project.

The silicone will dry rapidly in the air. I usually let it cure for 24 hours, which also gives a chance for some of the fumes to dissipate. After it is well dried, remove your casted item and wash both with warm soapy water.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Such Goings On

First of all, the FAEteam has a new exhibition going on called Visions of Atlantis. Please stop by and check out all the fabulous watery themed handmade art by the Fantasy Artists of Etsy!

Second, it is time I introduced you to my new baby: my beautiful Sony digital SLR. It was a surprise present from my dad-he thought I needed to take better pictures of my work.
It is a marvelous new toy-I love being able to make minute and huge adjustments on the fly instead of spending a ton of time in Photoshop afterwards. I didn't realized how much I missed the chink-chink of the shutter snapping open and closed. It brings back nostalgic memories of photography classes in college, a slightly happier but no less stressful time.

And lastly, I finally finished the new leather masks I have been working on for the past month. Note to self, keep the mask runs to 10 at a time! Here are a few images snapped with my nifty new camera:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Some Poetry for Y'all

art therapy

See my brush skip across this canvas

To obliterate the memory of you

Removing form, blurring lines

Out of focus, Out of time

An ironic echo of what we once shared.

The steady strokes of paint to clear away

The stubborn silence gray

Surrounding the reds of brutal fights

A white wash of surrender

Tinged blue from lonely nights

With opacity I can cover up

But that doesn't make you right

I'm painting out the memories

That used to make my life complete

With a perplexed sigh

And brush in hand

Using color and line to erase

The friend I thought I'd always have

And the hole in my heart

You left in your place

Misaligned Perspective reveals

Disorienting mis-communications

With your true colors now exposed

I finally see I made myself blind

That dazzling kaleidoscope of your attention

Is shattered from falling

From the pedestal I placed you on

And you, the actor not the artist,

Will pretend this never happened

But this hole in my heart

Is my constant reminder

That you only played your part

The crystalline clarity of hindsight

Gives me hope for my future

I will not close my eyes to

The glaring orange of indifference again

My painting will be repaired

For now, it is the patch for

The hole in my heart

Where you use to be

I'm painting out the memories

That used to make my life complete

With a perplexed sigh

And brush in hand

Using color and line to erase

The friend I thought I'd always have

And the hole in my heart

You left in your place

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Crocheting with Wire

Does it sound painful?

The key is using the right gauge of wire. For crocheting, I like to work with 22 to 28 gauge wire. "Gauge" is the measurement term that describes the size of the wire's diameter. The important thing to remember is that the higher the number, the thinner the wire. If you were wire-wrapping pendants or rings you can use 16 or 18 gauge wire, but you could never crochet with it because it is too thick (and you might break your hook/hand trying). 22 is a little stiff, 28 is a little fragile, but I find that 26 is just right.

For practice, you may want to start with Artistic Wire, which is a copper wire base with a non-tarnishing color coating. It is available in a rainbow of colors and there are many gauges to choose from as well. It is available in most hobby and craft stores, and the price is decent.

If you want to include pearls or beads in your work, make sure you string them all on the wire before you begin. If you are creating a pattern, make sure you string your beads in the correct order before you start. To create the "spines" showed in the above picture, pull a pearl up to about an inch or so from your last stitch, bend the wire back down to the necklace and twist the wires together until it reaches the starting point, then continue with your next stitch.

Obviously, wire is a LOT stiffer than yarn, so it does require a certain degree of hand/wrist/arm strength. And is use B or C hooks, which are small and tend to bend under too much pressure. Be gentle with your creations, wire is strong, but if you pull to hard you will distort your stitches. Having a pair of pliers handy is a good idea: they can assist in de-tangling, help make your beginning stitch taught and are useful for weaving in the ends. Be gentle with your pliers too-they will leave marks on the wire and mar the finish on artistic wire.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

It's Official: I'm going to Faeriecon!

I am going to be a vendor for the second year of Faeriecon International!
I pondered this decision for a long time. Last year was it's first in Philadelphia, and I must say that based on what we spent on the space, the profit was pathetic. So what would prompt me to plunk down $850 of my very hard-earned cash?
According to the rep I spoke to, they have listened to the comments and feedback from last year and they are adding seating areas for visitors, places to obtain food (didn't know there wasn't going to be any last year!) and doing a ton of promoting in the area. Most of the traffic from last year was people who were just walking by and decided to check it out.
Beyond that I really, really, really want to have full outfits ready for the fashion show. And since I still have quite a bit of stock left over from the Maryland Fairy Festival, I can use this time to work on costumes and plan out my booth set-up.
Maybe I am crazy, but this is the biggest fantasy/fairy event on the east coast-and it is less than a half-hour away-how could I possibly pass up the opportunity to meet my target customers??

Monday, June 30, 2008

Pain for the sake of Art-yet Again...

I spent eight or nine hours on Saturday cutting an molding new leather masks. I had planned on making it a weekend project, but I over-worked my poor hands and could not get more than three done on Sunday. So here is a preview of eleven new unpainted masks:
They have been cut, tooled, molded and hardened and await a coat or two of luminous paint.
The white faces you see are plaster casts I made of a plastic face form I got when I first started mask making. They are sturdier than plastic and don't move around when I am working the leather. I did have to seal them to prevent plaster dust adhering to the masks and the bottom has a layer of felt or foam to keep them from marking my table.
I am looking forward to my time off next week: my next mask project is to design masks for people who wear glasses.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I'm Featured on the StylePhile Blog!

Jamie from Style-Phile has posted an interview with me about my line of dragon wings on their new blog!!!

On the left you can see the first incarnation of my dragon wings modeled by this charming young man-er, dragon-at the Maryland Fairy Festival back in 2006.
I recently re-designed the line (see this post about my baby dragons)
to include two new baby dragons and two large dragons.

Here are pictures of Bastian (the gold one) and Edward (the green one), my two new large designs.
These wings were designed with teens and adults in mind, so I nixed the tail (I thought it would look silly hanging from the middle of their back) and went for matching felt spikes instead. The frame is the same sturdy wire one I use in my fairy wings, the one that opens and closes and the lock clips so you don't have to tie them on. I am working on a Goliath sized pair of the Bastian design, but I think they don't look masculine enough.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Midsummer Night's Dream Exhibition by the talented members of Faeetsy!

The newest exhibition by the amazing Fantasy Artists of Etsy is now available for your viewing pleasure! Stop by to see beautiful jewelry, gorgeous art dolls, amazing fine art paintings and prints, charming sculptures and herbal goodies. The ever-so -talented Aquariann will be updating throughout the month, so be sure to stop by often and see whats new!

I was so busy trying to keep my head above water the last few weeks that I missed the call for entries, but keep an eye out to see some of my goodies featured there in the future.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Maryland Fairy Festival 2008

This is usually my favorite event of the year.
This weekend, however, has me questioning my sanity and whether or not I even want to do these outdoor shows at all anymore.
My Mom and I drove down to set up on Friday: it was brilliantly sunny, super hot and sticky humid. In the hour it took us to set up the tent and my frame for the wings to hang on, we were drenched in sweat. Other vendors around us were talking apprehensively about the next two days would be like. Saturday dawned in a haze of fog. The fair grounds looked surreal with the tents peeking up through the mist. I wish I had had a chance to snap a few pictures, but we were too busy setting up. Even at 7:30am the heat was oppressive. Then the sun came out and things went from bad to worse. I believe the recorded temperature reached 97*F, but the heat index was over 100*F. Julia, Jill, my Mom and I all agreed that we had never sweat so much in all our lives. All of my wire jewelry and crowns became too hot to touch and I heard that a little girl got a second degree burn from picking up a piece of jewelry a few spots away. It was brutal, and my Mom ended up getting very sick from all the heat. Because there were so few customers and because it was to be even hotter on Sunday, we decided to pack up and go home than risk my Mom getting worse from being outside for another day.
It was a real let-down. I love the air of magic that the festival usually inspires, but this year I just felt limp. I was so drained by the sun that I couldn't walk around and visit other vendors or see the concerts. I have major respect for all the singers and dancers that performed and all the wonderful people who braved the heat to attend.

But this experience has really made me stop and think. I know that the full-time life of a traveling crafter is not for me. My art takes too much time to create to keep enough stock for more than a few shows a year. But those few shows are so draining that it zaps my energy for the next week or two after. Caravan artisans are at the mercy of the elements, whether it be brutal sun, pouring rain or freezing cold. You always seem to be stuck at 6's and 7's, never knowing what sort of turnout to expect from the customers or if you will be able to recoup your expenses just to get there. I hate to be so dependent on the intangible and incalculable.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A quick order then I am off to the fair!

I just finished these fabulous black feather wings for a very tall guy to wear to a weirding (wedding). I think that was the fastest I have ever started and finished a pair of wings in my life (so far!). I usually work on anywhere from 5 to 25 pairs of wings at a time, so it can take me months to make any real progress. The feather wings are the simplest to make, and with just one pair to do, I knocked this one out in 3 1/2 hours!! Our kitty Raven even tried to help (by help I mean sit on whatever I am working on).

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

43rd Annual Media Arts and Crafts Festival

On Sunday, June 1st I spent the day on State Street in Media, PA for their annual Arts and Crafts festival, sponsored by TownTalk, the local newspaper. It is a juried show for local artists and artisans to exhibit and sell their handmade works.
Here are some pictures of my set up: I LOVE my EZ-up tent, it is huge, sturdy and easy to use. The only problem with it is that you need at least two people to set it up. So I dragged my sister, Carisa, out of her warm bed at 6:45am to help me set up.
My crazy set up takes a minimum of an hour and a half to put together. A few years back I decided to lash together some coated wire shelves to hang my wings on-it was the sturdiest thing I could come up with on a shoestring budget. I use metal shower curtain hooks to hand the wings and curtain pins to hang the masks.
I had so many people walk by with their mouths hanging open-I suppose this isn't something you expect to see at a local craft show. They are usually even more flabbergasted when I tell them, "Yes, I did make all of this myself." And then there is the question about my wings that never gets asked at fairy festivals: "But what are they for?"
But even with my colorful display of wings and masks and a table full of glittering crowns, tiaras and crochet wire jewelry, the most eye-catching and crowd stopping thing at my tent was the flower decorations I hung from the tent frame.
I took these giant daisy-like flowers my mom gave me a few years ago, popped out the centers, strung them with looped wire and tied on ribbons to hang them from the tent frame so I could have an up-side down garden inside. I had no less than a dozen people ask me how much they were so I guess next year I will have to make some to sell!