Saturday, June 26, 2010

Custom Cosplay Piece

Hillary made a new custom piece for someone and wanted to share it with you:

A couple of months ago, I was looking through alchemy on etsy for projects I might enjoy working on, and I noticed a rather unique request. Someone wanted earrings to match a jester cosplay outfit that they are hopefully going to wear to Otakon, a major anime' convention. No, that's not greek, it's nerd-speak.

As you may know, I am a big nerd and am very proud of it. When I saw the chance to make jewelry for another fellow nerd, I jumped at the opportunity. For those of you not versed in nerd-speak, I will attempt to explain what exactly is going on. The young lady making the request is a fan of a particular style of animated shows and comics known as anime'. She is such a big fan, that she is going to dress up like one of her favorite characters. Because "Dressing up as my favorite character" and "costume play" are kind of long, somewhere along the line, the word got shortened to cosplay. Cosplay is actually a fairly common occurrence at all types of sci-fi, gaming and anime' conventions, and can be quite eye-catching if done well.

The character that she based her cosplay on is Lil' Jester from Precious Miseries. I loved the combination of the soft blue ruffles and how they contrast with the big, angular black and white checks on the outfit. Of course, for the earrings, I went with black, white and blue. Since they were for a jester costume, I suggested using jingle bells in the earrings and got back a resounding yes.
Here is the listing for the earrings and here are some pictures of an original design sketch as well as the earrings:

Here is a picture of the costume they match.

I think that the costume and earrings will be adorable together and I hope my fashionable nerdy friend has a blast at Otakon.

We hoped you enjoyed the post. Look for another one soon!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Shiny metals and rings!

A couple of posts ago, we promised a blog on the creation of our lovely rings. Here is what Hillary had to say:

A couple of months ago, my friend attended a painting class at Daniel Day gallery (which I may talk about more in a later blog post) and told me that the owner was looking for rings to be displayed in his gallery. I had never successfully made rings before but set out to try to make some to display and sell in the gallery.
The first obstacle was design, but it was easily overcome with a quick glance through my bead books. Once I found a suitable design, I made several with the same tarnish resistant copper wire I use for pendants.

I quickly found out that this was not suitable for rings because where they are worn means they are in constant contact with skin on several sides and that they bump up and scrape against desks, door, poles, etc. all the time. This caused the coating to wear off very quickly, which made them look tarnished, and eventually caused them to patina. While patina may be pretty and desirable even in some jewelry pieces, on a ring it means green fingers.

The next step was to try some other materials.

First was a tarnish resistant copper wire with better coating:

It was lovely because it was nice and pliable and could make gorgeous curlicues and zig zags. This copper lasted longer but the coating eventually started wearing off, giving me the same problem I had with the other copper.

The next material I tried was raw stainless steel:

This is wonderfully durable, doesn't rust, doesn't stain, doesn't patina etc. The only drawback to the steel is that it is harder to work than any other metal i've ever worked with which means no tight curlicues, loops or zig zags. However, it does have its own unique type of beauty.

The last type of metal I tried is the most unique and is one of my favorites:
Oxidized Brass.

This is brass wire that has been pre-oxidized. I rub off some of the oxidization layer with a paper towel or magic eraser before I create the piece. The oxidization is what creates the lovely "highlights and shadows" effect that you see in the metal. The extra cool thing about this is that the effect deepens over time. As the ring is exposed to the elements, the inside of the ring becomes more oxidized while the outer sections brighten as the oxidization rubs off.

The only downside to this wire is that this wire is extremely soft so the rings have to be made a certain way so as to maintain structural integrity. However, I think the slight design change is worth it for the lovely antique look that you get from this wire.

I have made several more rings from the steel and brass and hope to post them soon!
Also, if you would like to see more of my rings, check out my sterling and argentium work on my sister blog.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

New Piece for Pride Art 2010

Last year, Hillary displayed some existing and new work at pride art.
This year she made a new piece especially for it. Pride art will be at Joe's on 7th in brimingham, AL, this friday, June 4th. This is a wonderful way for the LGBTQIA community to express themselves, to show support for each other, and raise money for an organization commited to promoting pride and understanding within the LGBTQIA community and the community at large.

The concept for this years piece was based off of another piece Hillary made called "exactly". Exactly is made of beautiful, sparkly beads covered up by ribbon. It was meant to express Hillary's frustration with her own life and her uncanny reflex to hide even the most beautiful parts of herself for fear of rejection. This years piece, which has yet to be named, Is based on the idea that someone who is gay or questioning or transgendered, etc. is beautiful but has the same struggle by nature. They may be struggling with whether or not they are beautiful; they may know they are beautiful but not view sharing this part of their beauty with other people as an option for various reasons; they may have tried to share and been hurt because of it. Being the LGBTQI is complex: it can be a whirlwind of emotions, a complicated balance of truth and lies, and a tight rope walk over political, religious and moral ideas, among many other things. This piece is meant to visually express those things in a form that can worn close to the heart, just like Hillary wears "exactly" oh so frequently.