Sunday, January 27, 2013

More gearing up for Steampunk Events

This year the theme for Steamcon V is Around  the World.  Steampunk is Victorian era science fiction, but isn't limited to Victorian England.  We did explored this a bit at Steampunk II, which was the Weird Weird West:


But this year, the world's the limit!  They used to say the sun never set on the British Empire, and influences from the colonies are still prevalent in England to this day.  Hello, India!  Who doesn't like a nice spot of tea, or a good curry?

I've always been fascinated with India.  It all started with a doll I was given as a baby, from my mother's former college roommate, who was a native of India. The doll is a rani  with a porcelain head, wearing a gold sari, with a nose ring and tikka.  It's packed away right now, as the head finally came detached from the body and the hair's a bit of a mess, or I'd post a picture.  (Side note - I think it's entirely because of this doll that I ended up getting my nose pierced in my 20s.  As I child I thought that was the coolest thing ever.)  

Anyways, my mother has kept in touch with her old roomate over the years, and a few years ago she took the trip of her dreams for her 70th birthday and went to India, and when she came back she gifted me with two sets of salwar and kameez, tunic and pants sets with matching scarves.  They are both stunningly beautiful, but my instant favorite was the one in rich blue with silver thread embroidery.

Because accessories are everything when it comes to costuming, I turned a yard of silver brocade fabric into a matching set of cincher, cuffs, and gaiters to go with the clothing, as my outfit for this year's Steampunk Exhibition Ball, also to be used at Steamcon later in the year.

I started first with a necklace, as these things go more often than not.  I'd bought a jar of jewelry bits and bobs from a thrift store and in it was a fragment of a necklace from India, three pearl flower shaped medallions strung together with some linked pearls.  I ended up completely redoing the links and finishing the necklace off with sterling wire and rice pearls, and added some vintage chain and an antique music box key.  The background in this picture is the closeup of the fabric for the salwar:


Here's the full outfit:


And here's the cuffs - I took a belled anklet and cut it in half, then hand-sewed it on:


I'm planning on sewing a wig clip onto the scarf, as well as a hook on the corners of each end, to attach them to the cuffs, and if I get really ambitious I'll be adding bells and pearls along the bottom of the cincher and tops of the gaiters.  I've got almost six weeks before the ball, but even if I don't get to it before then it'll happen for con!


Friday, January 18, 2013

Stealth pink

For most of my adult life I've avoided pink with a passion.  I could deal with a bit of hot pink, remnants of my '80s days, true, and the greyish tones of the color Ashes of Roses appealed to my gothier sensibilities, because the name is just too damned cool, but pastel pink?  The horror!

I was adamant that there would be no pink when I found out I was having a girl.  This lasted until the girl was old enough to start voicing her own preferences, and suddenly there was pink in my house. And it keeps encroaching and now I've been making stuff that's so girlie it makes my head spin and my husband start poking around in the corners of the closets looking for pods.  And I will emphatically deny that any part of me enjoys making these frilly frothy confections one teensy tiny little bit.  Well, maybe a teensy weensy tiny bit.  Well, maybe more than a bit, when I start going through my shop looking at some of my creations in the last few months.

It all started out with one of these parasols:

And this set:

And then things like these started coming out of my fingers:

And now I've got and done these:

Saccharine Overdose - 2 parasols by *dbvictoria on deviantART

(the red one isn't listed yet - I was about 4 yards of red trim short to finish the edges of the ruffles)

So you see - the pink sickness is spreading.  Be careful, or it might start taking over your house too!


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

It's the little things

One of the problems I've had with making a successful go at running this business is that I don't like remaking the same thing. This means I have oodles of very different pieces, a high percentage of them being one of a kind.  That makes it hard for me to get brand recognition going.  There are lots of amazing people doing amazing things, and their work is immediately recognizable once you become familiar with their work and style.  My shop is a mishmash of totally different styles.

There are some exceptions, of course, mainly my knot necklaces.

But these only make up maybe 10-15% of my stock.

I do have a few pieces that are similar because I start with the same base, but I still don't seem to be able to  make myself exactly recreate the same piece.  Take for example this parasol I just finished up last night:

This is actually the third of these created, but each one has been just a little bit different.

Pink Parasol with Ivory Lace

pink ivory lolita parasol 2

Here's the same color parasol with a different contrast color:

And here's the same style of parasol in some different colors:

black on black lace parasol 2

red parasol black lace 1

purple spiderweb parasol

I like knowing my customers aren't each getting something exactly like something another customer got previously.  I like changing things up, just a little, instead of reproducing the same thing over and over and over.  It does make things a bit more difficult for me, but I think the end result is worth it.