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About Angelica Brigade

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Angelica Brigade x Miu Vermillion Update

Though I’ve closed my Etsy shop and have been preoccupied with my other endeavors, I never stop creating handmade pieces. These past few months, I’ve been expanding my skill sets, creating numerous hand-stitched dresses, and different kinds of nail ornaments.

Below are some of pieces I created a while ago, made specifically for my fine art photography project that are going to be on view at Beautiful Bizarre currated exhibition at Vanilla Gallery: 『aestheticism~耽美~』.

Angelica Brigade x Miu Vermillion | Handstitched Dress for a Fine Art Photography ProjectAngelica Brigade x Miu Vermillion | Handstitched Dress for a Fine Art Photography Project | BackAngelica Brigade Nail Ornaments | Acid Green Claws with Swarovski Crystals | Custom Made JewelryThe exhibition is going to run from April 4 through April 23.

Aestheticism // Vanilla Gallery // Tokyo Japan // 4 - 23 April 2016It’s an honor to be have my works featured along the works of the artists I’ve been admiring for years.

Can you spot my pseudonym – Miu Vermillion – on the list of featured artists? A more legible list can be found on the gallery’s website.

Aestheticism // Vanilla Gallery // Tokyo Japan // 4 - 23 April 2016

The curator of the show asked me not to share my completed works before the opening day. So, to give you some idea of what I was working on, I will share some behind-the-scene images and sneak peeks instead.

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The location of the shoot

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Profoto B1, umbrellas, and difusers

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To create the effect I want, I decided to utilize one light setup: Profoto B1 + translucent umbrella, in a complete darkness

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A distorted sneak peek of one of the imagess

I created the dress using identical techniques I use when I make silk headpieces . . .

Angelica Brigade - Creating the Handmade Antoinette Dress

Angelica Brigade - Creating the Handmade Antoinette Dress

Angelica Brigade - Creating the Handmade Antoinette Dress

Angelica Brigade - Creating the Handmade Antoinette Dress

Apparently, I am allergic to the type of feather I used to construct the dress. Although I was wearing a wired surgical mask, I had to take numerous sneezing and coughing breaks which slowed my progress quite significantly.

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Because creating the nail ornaments involves numerous messy steps, I didn’t dare to take snapshots of my working process because I don’t want to ruin or stain the surface of my phone and touch screen. May be, someday I will ask someone to photograph the working process for me.

 

 

Angelica Brigade for Dream Shoot Rentals: Geomatrix Modular and Convertible Headpiece and Mask

geomatrix-modular-convertible-headpiece_angelica-brigade -for-dream-shoot-rentals

A set of headpiece-and-mask you can style in many different ways. Please scroll down to see a few different ways I styled this 2-piece set.

(In case you are wondering, you – or your model – can see through this mask)

This is the first unit of the 2-piece set. It can be worn either as a mask or as a hat.

geomatrix-modular-convertible-headpiece_angelica-brigade -for-dream-shoot-rentals_02

You – or your model – can also wear it as a hat with a half-face mask like this:

geomatrix-modular-convertible-mask-and-headpiece_angelica-brigade -for-dream-shoot-rentals_03

The “mask” or the first unit of the set can also be worn as a neck piece . . .either by itself or on top of a simple top or dress.

The crown or the second unit of the piece can be worn on the middle or on either side of the head. It fastens with a heavy-duty but soft elastic strap.

Because the front side and the back side of the crown do not look identical, this crown can be worn in 6 different ways.

geomatrix-modular-convertible-mask-and-headpiece_angelica-brigade -for-dream-shoot-rentals_04_worn-as-neckpiece-and-crown

Here are some other ways you can style the set.
[Note: The pieces you see below are the first samples of the design. The current version look much smoother than the sample. Please scroll down to see the comparison between the first sample and its current version]

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Here are the comparisons between the first sample and the current version.

geomatrix-modular-convertible-mask-and-headpiece_angelica-brigade -for-dream-shoot-rentals_closeup_comparison-of-the-current-and-previous-version

The mask consists of 5 separate origami units, and each origami unit is hand-stitched onto the other units.

In order to make sure the stitches won’t unravel for many years to come, I stitched each part using the use the thickest and strongest upholstery thread I could find.

geomatrix-modular-convertible-mask-and-headpiece_angelica-brigade -for-dream-shoot-rentals_hand-stitched-closeup-view

Because of the extensive work involved, (at this moment) the two-piece set retails for $850. But, you can rent it from Dream Shoot Rentals for $75. And, right now, you can get a 10% discount on your first order).

The piece is currently out of stock. So, please bookmark the page and check back in a few weeks.

Oh, by the way, you can see a similar headpiece in the 29th issue of Dark Beauty Magazine.

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This piece can also be worn in several different ways.

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This one is also the first sample of the design. The current version is also seamless-looking (like the one seen on the 3rd image above this text).

It consists of 7 hand-stitched origami units, and fastened on the back using millinery grosgrain ribbons.

This one retails for $375 (+shipping) apiece.

(If you’d like to place an order, you can contact me via my Facebook Page)

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I haven’t shared anything on Instagram for a few days because I’m not allowed to show the photos of the projects I’d been working at just yet. So, please wait till the images are published in two certain magazines in a month or so (-:

Tomorrow, I’m going to start working on my next projects. So, you can expect to see my real-time updates on Instagram again.

Till next Wednesday~

– joyce// Miu Vermillion @ Angelica Brigade

Angelica Brigade for Dream Shoot Rentals – Tasha Reversible Headpiece

angelicabrigade demi-couture millinery tiara - kokoshnik - for dark high fashion editorial photo shoot

Here are a few snapshots of one of the headpieces I designed and created for Dream Shoot Rentals.

(I took the photos in front of a few yards novelty fabric that I draped onto a garment rack. It makes quite an interesting backdrop)

I like to create pieces that can be worn in several different ways. For that reason, I decided to embellish both sides of the headpiece.

angelica-brigade-for-dream-shoot-rentals_tasha-headpiece_iridescent-purple-lilac-roses-and-beadwork-side

I always put each of my designs through something I call a snapshot test.

It’s very simple. It involves asking someone to model my design and taking many snapshots of the design from many different angles. That’s the only way I can make sure the piece will look great in photos.

I usually have to perform this test a few times because none of my designs ever pass the test the first time around. Some pieces might look fine in person but might look a little bit unfinished in photos (too empty here, not full enough there, etc).

  • Each part of this headpiece is handmade . . . including the star-shaped chain/ornament.
  • Each bead is hand-stitched . . . each flower is handmade . . . and the hat base is hand-molded.

kokoshnik headpiece / headdress / tiara

I currently am not taking any new/incoming orders. I’m not selling any of my pre-made pieces either. However, I’m open for collaborations with other people whose work I find exciting and inspiring.

So, if you want to use this headpiece in your upcoming photo shoot, you can rent it from Dream Shoot Rentals for the fraction of its retail price (which, to be honest, is rather steep for something you can’t wear more than just a few times).

To receive information about Dream Shoot Rentals, their promotions, their new dresses & accessories, etc . . . please sign up for their newsletter.

And, if you are planning to attend the WPPI Expo in March, you can drop by at their booth to see the amazing dresses and accessories created by numerous designers from around the world. The pieces are available for rent right then and there.

Till next week, you guys!!!

-joyce @ Angelica Brigade

Any ad that might show up below this line is not endorsed by me &/or Angelica Brigade

Katriona : Demi-Couture Headdress – my inspirations, working process, and the finished headpiece

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It’s a part bonnet part kokoshnik (russian headdress) . . . and it’s reversible.

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It will forever be a one-of-a-kind headdress because I no longer have enough materials to make another (identical) one.

The fabric supplier that sourced these French novelty fabrics for me is no longer open for business.

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Inspirations

I made this headpiece for Lindsay Adler‘s new company: Dream Shoot Rentals.

She emailed photographs of epic head-dresses to inspire me.

From those photos, I can get clear ideas of what kind of headpieces she’s looking for.

I would never copy other designers’ works. Not only because it’s disrespectful to other designer’s hard works; but, it also makes it hard for us to be memorable.

Last week, I blogged about the importance of being distinct. Without distinct trademarks, our works will never create any lasting impression.

So, while keeping the inspirational photo’s color palettes and overall silhouette in mind, I went ahead and designed something new.

angelica-brigade_demi-couture_bonnet_floral-headpiece_gothic-lolita_victorian_hat_headdress_004b

I find gothic lolita, victorian, and rococo fashion beautiful . . . And, I’m highly influenced by the aesthetics of Japanese anime . . .

RozenMaiden

Rozen Maiden

And . . . since my art school days, I often gravitate towards soft-cubism art, especially the works of Tamara de Lempicka and Umberto Boccioni . . . their clean, dramatic, and dynamic lines . . . their blends of fluidity and structure . . . and those shadows created by those flowing geometric folds . . .

tlgirl

Portrait of a Young Girl in Green Dress by Tamara de Lempicka

You can probably see how Tamara de Lempicka’s painting style influences the way I shape my silk hair accessories (such as the one you see here)

Source: http://artedeximena.wordpress.com/arte-contemporaneo/esculturas-s-xx/c-unique-forms-of-continuity-in-space-1913-umberto-boccioni/

Umberto Boccioni – Unique Forms of Continuity in Space. Source:  Artedeximena

This Umberto Boccioni sculpture might very well be my number one favorite. It creates a lasting impression on me.

I’m always impressed by the fact that, from several different angles, it looks like several completely different sculptures.

I’ve never thought of it before; but, subconsciously, I’ve been trying to achieve this ideal. (Here is one of my earlier subconscious attempts to create headpieces that looks different if seen from different angles)

Working Process

angelica brigade working process

Though I own a proper electric flower iron / dapping tool … I still prefer to shape my silk flower petals manually … with candle flame & metal clips

angelica-brigade_working-process

I started with a clear goal . . . how I want the headpiece to look like . . . then I think of ways to bring that goal into reality.

Just in case I want to make a similar piece in the future . . . I diagrammed my process in my sketchbook.

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I basically built the headpiece part by part on a balsa block.

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This is the first time I’ve ever made this type of headpiece in my life. As usual, I learned as I go.

angelica brigade - making the first sample of the katriona headpiece

Actually, this is the largest headpiece I’ve made so far.

Because I made this headpiece without any external help . . . and because I’ve never made anything like it before . . .  I needed 80+ hours to construct the headpiece.

angelica-brigade_demi-couture_bonnet_floral-headpiece_gothic-lolita_victorian_hat_headdress_005

And, below, are some low quality snapshots of the headpiece. I took the photos in my workroom around 4 in the morning . . . so, please excuse the horrible lighting & blurriness.

angelica-brigade_demi-couture_bonnet_floral-headpiece_gothic-lolita_victorian_hat_headdress

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Current updates:

  • I was informed by Coco Magazine that the photoshoot I styled and directed will be published in their February edition of Coco Bride Magazine. Dark Beauty Magazine also told me that they are going to run the photographs I took in their Valentine Issue.
  • Right now, I’m making a few more headpieces for Dream Shoot Rentals . . . and building a cohesive collection using some materials I’ve never used before. (Super excited about this!!!). You can see my real time updates on my Instagram or Tumblr photo blog. Or, you can see some of those updates, along with photos of some other artists that influence me on Angelica Brigade’s Facebook Page.
Any ad that shows up below this line is not endorsed by me &/or Angelica Brigade

The Importance of Being Distinct

angelica-brigade_avant-garde_headpiece_millinery_origami_high-fashion_demi-couture_gothic-black-crown_

To be outstanding, one needs to be different

And to be different, one needs to embrace his/her uniqueness

Unfortunately,
Some people might consider certain distinct qualities as weirdness
And so, in order to avoid rejections and humiliation,
One might decide to keep one’s distinct qualities hidden
And thus, stay in obscurity . . .

angelica-brigade_avant-garde-headpiece_unusual-origami-hat

The same principle applies to artists and designers . . .

In order to succeed, artists and designers need to offer something new and different

At the same time,
To make a living,
Some artists and designers might decide
to create the things they believe their customers want to buy

They offer watered-down versions of their aesthetics or ideas
Some of them might even decide to create things they don’t even like
There can’t be any joy in that . . .

angelica-brigade_handmade-silk-flower-crown_burnt-silk-roses_demi-couture_custom_headpiece photo by miu vermillion

But, what if people don’t want to buy our works?

All of us need to make a living.

So, what should we do?

angelica-brigade_handmade-bespoke-buttterfly-demi-couture_headpiece

I don’t claim to know all the answers

But, I know for sure that in order to succeed, we need to be memorable
and,
If we don’t stand out from the crowd, we’ll be absolutely forgettable

And, if no one remembers us, no one will look for us and buy our works

angelica-brigade_work-in-progress

And, so . . . take that risk
Be different, and shine

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter was rejected by 12 different publishers before Barry Cunningham from Bloomsbury agreed to publish it.

Stephen King’s first book – Carrie – was rejected 30 times!!!

Walt Disney was rejected 302 times before he finally could get some fund to build his Disney World

So,
Expect rejections
At the same time,
Know that if we do our best and hold onto our distinctness, we’ll have a MUCH bigger chance to succeed

-joyce @ Angelica Brigade

Objectivity, Gratefulness, and Taking Calculated Risks

Each night, before I sleep, I make it my habit to list all the things I can be grateful about. It helps me to see my life in a more objective manner.

It’s too easy for me to focus on the things that went wrong. Although it’s good for me to spend some time finding effective ways to solve my problems . . . if I don’t make it my habit to think about the good things that happen to me each day, I would think my life is “suckier” than it actually is.

This week, though, I have more things I can be grateful about . . . more than usual . . .

joyce-katuari_fire-mountain-gems

(For a better view of the text, please visit http://www.firemountaingems.com/jewelryartists/jewelryartists_bio.asp?docid=KATUARIJ )

The result of Fire Mountain Gems’ 2013 Seed Beads Contest is out! (You can see the complete list of the contest’s winners here)

Hours before I submitted my design (a few hours before the contest’s deadline), I sort of doubted it will pass the contest’s semi-final stage. (Mainly because my beaded headpiece is much smaller than other contestants’ designs . . . and thus less impressive). But, the worst thing that could happen was I wouldn’t pass the semi-final. Which isn’t so bad at all. On the other hand, if I chose not to submit the design, I have zero chance of even passing the semi-final. So, I decided to submit the design anyway.

I remembered saying “here goes nothing” as I clicked the submit button. And, now, I’m glad I did.

angelica brigade avant garde origami headpiece mask

Actually, I say that very same sentence so many times these past few weeks . . . Which means that I decided to ignore my (sometimes) overactive superego and take a huge leap. And, again, I’m glad I did!

Last week, I decided to write to Lindsay Adler, a prominent NYC-based fashion photographer I admire. I showed her some of my designs and my online portfolio. When she said that she’d love to work with me, I was over the moon!!!

Last week, I also submitted some fashion editorials I styled and shot to several magazines . . . I haven’t heard back from them yet. But I’m crossing my fingers.

Till next week, you guys!

In the meantime, follow me on Facebook or Instagram for real-time updates and behind-the-scenes photos.

-joyce @ Angelica Brigade

Any ads that might show up below this line is not endorsed by me &/or Angelica Brigade

[[ Select Press ]] – updated in Jan 12, 2014

Dark Beauty Magazine Winter Fashion Editorial

Free preview available in http://www.darkbeautymag.com/downloads/issue-26-winter-digital-download/
Behind the scenes photos are available here

angelica-brigade_grace-ormonde-wedding-style-magazine

Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Magazine – http://www.weddingstylemagazine.com/hollywood-nouveau
Behind the scenes photos are available here

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(Leveled Magazine) Real Talk with La Carmina – http://www.leveledmag.com/2013/01/la-carmina/

The end of an era, the beginning of something new, as seen on La Carmina in Rebelicious Magazine

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La Carmina, on Rebelicious Magazine, wearing the last custom-made Angelica Brigade silk hair flowers / fascinators

Life is filled with unpredictable events; so, I’d learned not to say never.
But, these probably are the very last handmade flowers I create as a member/founder/leader of Angelica Brigade.

As of yesterday, I no longer sell handmade accessories and jewelry through any online handmade marketplaces

It was the end of Angelica Brigade’s years as a demi-couture accessories and jewelry company. But, Angelica Brigade is still here . . . This metamorphosis is just a beginning of something new.

My team and I are working on several massive projects. (Actually, we are still doing the very same things we’ve been doing these past few years, but in a larger scale. I’ll tell you more about those projects in a future blog post).

There are also a few fashion editorial photos that are going to show up in several publications early next year. (Hint: We produced them in October 2012; and it was the true start of Angelica Brigade’s metamorphosis).

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You can see the rest of the photos in La Carmina’s blog (check her blog out! her adventure and style never fail to inspire me)
or
On the magazine’s website

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

[from my Instagram photo blog]

Embarking on a gigantic project, consisting of a series of large scale pieces … #my #workinprogress / #wip #photoblog - #angelicabrigade #beadwork #design

Embarking on a gigantic project, consisting of a series of large scale pieces … #my #workinprogress / #wip #photoblog – #angelicabrigade #beadwork #design

Working on multiple projects at the same time & my work space is such a mess. Some people might say I should be more methodical, but, this time, I’m working with abandon. Without specific plan, I’m letting my whims & intuition to guide me. This freedom is intoxicating. There is a joy in it unlike any other. Doubtless, some of my experiments might end up in my dumpster; even so, beautiful & fantastical things will be born from those failures —- #angelicabrigade #photoblog #workinprogress #wip

Working on multiple projects at the same time & my work space is such a mess. Some people might say I should be more methodical, but, this time, I’m working with abandon. Without specific plan, I’m letting my whims & intuition to guide me. This freedom is intoxicating. There is a joy in it unlike any other. Doubtless, some of my experiments might end up in my dumpster; even so, beautiful & fantastical things will be born from those failures —- #angelicabrigade #photoblog #workinprogress #wip

#quote - #life - #truth

#quote – #life – #truth

As a person, I’ve finally come full circle. And, for the first time in my life, I feel whole.

I’ll write more about this next Sunday (December 22, 2013), but here’s the short summary:

I came from a family of white-collar workaholics. And, for decades I’ve been dealing with their not-so-positive opinions and reactions about my decision to pursue something they consider manual labor (using my hands to make art . . . and then demi-couture jewelry and accessories). I’ve learned not to care about what they think and say; but, it used to feel like a rebellion. But not anymore. It took many years; but, I’ve made peace with myself, the kind of person I am, and my wishes for the future.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

This upcoming Wednesday (December 18, 2013), I will share my favorite diy tutorials (written by other experts)

Any ad that shows up below this line is not endorsed by me &/or Angelica Brigade

When Hard Work Pays Off: Featured on Dark Beauty Magazine and the La Carmina blog. Lots of Behind the Scenes Photos.

dark beauty magazine issue 26 angelica brigade jewelry angelicabrigade accessories miu vermillion miuvermillion stylist efrenbeltran photography efren beltran photographer alexisfarmer alexis farmer model namihasegawa hair stylist nami hasegawa yocowakasugi nail art yoco wakasugi joyz katuari creative director joyzkatuari

We are on pp. 76-83 of the magazine and on pp. 24-25 of the free preview
Photographer: Efren Beltran
Stylist: Miu Vermillion (me)
Hair and Makeup: Nami Hasegawa
Nails: Yoco Wakasugi
Model: Alexis Farmer

You can purchase the magazine directly at Dark Beauty Magazine’s website

I’m a big fan of the magazine. It’s filled with inspiring designs and breathtaking photographs.

From time to time, I purchase the printed version of the magazine. But, I prefer its digital version, in my Kindle Fire*. They are as gorgeous, but more portable and less bulky. I can read them anytime and anywhere. Also, while the paper version might get stained or creased, the digital images will look awesome forever.

You can see a free preview of the magazine on issuu.com. If you like what you see, head over to http://bit.ly/DBM_26 to purchase your copy.

dark beauty magazine 2013 cara quici

If you love avant garde fashion you’ll love Dark Beauty Magazine!

~ 0o0 ~

And, so, after a 2-month hiatus, I’m back.
It was the busiest 8 weeks of my life (so far).

I was working 16-hour days arranging 3 different editorial shoots and made a number of silk flowers for La Carmina to wear in another editorial photoshoot.

[Here are some of the flowers I made for her. But, this isn’t the image from the shoot]

la carmina lacarmina angelicabrigade angelica brigade lip service gothic fairy costume lincoln restaurant portland oregon

The rest of the pictures are just as awesome. They are available on the La Carmina blog

For weeks, all I did were creating jewelry, accessories, and dresses (yes, I finally put the things I learned at FIDM to use). And, 2 weeks ago, I injured my hand quite severely. The wound was quite deep and it reopened – twice! – as I continued working.

I guess I have an overworked sense of responsibility . . .

angelicabrigade angelica brigade jewelrymaking method

One of my working methods … I construct some of my jewelry on a mannequin

My principle is: It’s better to be over-prepared than sorry

So, to prepare for the shoot, I tried everything on. Some of the dresses are so tiny but I can slip my head between the dress and a hanger to see how the pieces look together.

I try to imagine how the pieces look on print; and, just to be sure, I even did some test shoots using my iPhone.

look 1

I also made a thick document (in pdf format, no less) filled with:
– the shoot’s “storyline”
– all the pieces I will feature in the shoot (outfit by outfit) – it makes it easier to write the credits later
– the hair, makeup, and nail arts for each outfit
– some poses that will convey the storyline

dark beauty magazine issue 26 angelica brigade jewelry angelicabrigade accessories miu vermillion miuvermillion stylist efrenbeltran photography efren beltran photographer alexisfarmer alexis farmer model namihasegawa hair stylist nami hasegawa yocowakasugi nail art yoco wakasugi joyz katuari creative director joyzkatuari

I let the team know what I want to accomplish and let them to do their thing and improve my ideas. All of them are amazing to work with, and I hope I can work with them again someday.

dark beauty magazine issue 26 angelica brigade jewelry angelicabrigade accessories miu vermillion miuvermillion stylist efrenbeltran photography efren beltran photographer alexisfarmer alexis farmer model namihasegawa hair stylist nami hasegawa yocowakasugi nail art yoco wakasugi joyz katuari creative director joyzkatuari

~ 0 o 0 ~

I’m currently writing several Christmas-themed DIY accessories & ornaments. They should be up (here, on my blog) by early December.

Next week: Mindblowingly gorgeous private beach in Southern California … a 1960s-Balenciaga-inspired dress I impulsively made from scratch within 12 hours … rad manicure rings … my almost-unbelievable new ventures.

Subscribe, or check back in a few days (-:

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-joyce (a.k.a. Miu Vermillion)

*I’ve been trying to be as paperless as possible for a while now. And a few months ago, I ditched my iPad2 for a Kindle Fire HD 8.9″. I got 32GB wi-fi only version without the special offer discount. I love the Onyx Black standing leather case. It does its job and it looks nice. (Btw, I often use its inside front flap to take my work-in-progress photo)

Full disclosure: I am an Amazon.com affiliate. I've been an Amazon.com customer since '96. To be honest, I don't know what my life would be without Amazon . . .

New designs, new projects, new collaborations …

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This week in a nutshell~
My new designs, current work in progress, less successful experiments, and company related updates~

I’ve also been organizing a high fashion photo shoot collaboration … and collaborating with several artisans to create intricate headpieces / hair accessories at lower price points.

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How do you like it?

Personally, I love its shabby chic & vintage-inspired, even slightly Victorian vibe.

I blocked/molded its base so it will follow the contour of the wearer’s head. Large pieces with flat/unblocked/unmolded bases tend to flap around, show their backings & clips, and look unnaturally stiff when you wear them …

This piece isn’t 100% handmade by me … It’s a composite of several machine-made parts, some components that are created by the artisans I collaborate with, and some of my own work.

Pieces like this will retail around $75. There will be many, many more.

Stay tuned for updates~

Or follow me on Instagram for real time updates :)

-Joyce

Improvisation

angelicabrigade_beadweaving_dimensional-hex-bangle

Some people might think that I am wearing 2 pieces of bracelets . . .

But . . .

angelicabrigade_beadweaving_dimensional-hex-bangle front

These two parts of the bracelet are actually connected.

The chunky strap of beads (the one with the toggle clap) functions as the bangle’s wrist harness. Its main function is to prevent the bangle from falling from my wrist . . . or worse,  launching itself and hitting unsuspecting people.

It’s the very first beadwork bangle I’ve ever created. So, I decided to refer to several sources so I can size the bangle correctly. But, because I’m extremely small boned (not skinny, just small boned), the bangle kept on falling from my wrist.

It actually hit my friend’s head. Twice. In a public space.

But, I spent more than a 20 hours creating it. I don’t want to throw it away. I was going to give it to a one of my friends or family members; but, it’s too small for them.

So . . . I decided that the only way I can make the bracelet more wearable is by attaching a strap or wrist harness onto it.

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I started by making thin beadwork strap using the same beads I made the bangle with . . . but, to me, the smaller strap looked disproportionately small . . . So, I decided to replace the smaller strap and made a much larger one.

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This beadwork bracelet is basically a modified and enlarged version of the rings I created last week. I just give the beadwork some extra edges & make it more asymmetrical.

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Somehow, the piece makes me think of dinosaurs and old tree barks . . .

Anyway . . . I’ve been learning to create more and more shapes . . .

Love these dimensional triangles . . .

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One of them is actually flat. It was my first try. I did better the 2nd and 3rd time.

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Next week:

There is a possibility that I’m going to write two different blog posts next week.

One of them has something to do with this video about Etsy:

I’m going to think things through before I say anything further.

If you have any input, additional information, or comment about this topic, please feel free to let me know. You can do so by writing a comment on this post or message me via my company’s Facebook Page.

Till then (:

-joyce

The Serenity Prayer of the Ephemeral and Imperfect Beauty (or . . . Sephie Beau)

the serenity prayer of an ephemeral and imperfect beauty beaded hair accessory by angelica brigade beadwork beadworks hair fascinator comb by angelicabrigade skull silk flower butterfly

That’s the title of my newest piece. What a mouthful, right?!

It’s one of the pieces I entered to Fire Mountain Gem‘s Seed Bead Contest (you can read more about the contest here).

To be honest, I don’t think I’m going to win. The design isn’t very mainstream and the concept behind it is a bit bleak. But, I ended up owning something I’d want to wear very often, so it’s all good.

I enter contests – even the ones I don’t think I’ll ever win – to challenge myself. And usually, I gain new skills and come up with some things I consider groundbreaking. In this case, they are:

  • The eyelashes
  • The seemingly-floating star, and
  • The details on the butterfly

the serenity prayer of an ephemeral and imperfect beauty beaded hair accessory by angelica brigade beadwork beadworks hair fascinator comb by angelicabrigade skull silk flower butterfly

This piece is inspired by many women’s and girl’s hopes and dreams, and their efforts to reach them and the beauty of imperfection

Many women want to be slim and beautiful.

We fix our teeth, wear make-up, accessorize ourselves, and some of us even go through numerous procedures (ranging from getting eyelashes extension, botox injections, to cosmetic surgeries). Some of us even develop eating disorder(s) and exercise addiction.

Some women have more resources and determination than the others. But, many of us do try. This can lead to never-ending strives. People cannot stay young and beautiful forever.

In the end, we need to accept that there are some things we can’t change and do our best with what we have.

So morose?  LOL!!!

Well, just so you know, the other two designs I entered into the contest are on the frivolous side. I will write more about them next week.

the serenity prayer of an ephemeral and imperfect beauty beaded hair accessory by angelica brigade beadwork beadworks hair fascinator comb by angelicabrigade skull silk flower butterfly

I feature and use all of the characteristics of each material I incorporate (even the ones other people might consider as negative attributes) to advantage.

In this instance, for example: Galvanized beads.
Some people dislike the fact that the plating of galvanized beads cannot last forever. I, on the other hand, rubbed the plating of some of the beads off before I sprayed them with clear acrylic spray. It gives the piece more texture and makes it look more dimensional. Also, the slightly distressed look of the beads amplify the mood of the piece . . . the beauty of imperfection and the ephemerality of all things.

the serenity prayer of an ephemeral and imperfect beauty beaded hair accessory by angelica brigade beadwork beadworks hair fascinator comb by angelicabrigade skull silk flower butterfly

I also challenge myself by not relying on cabochon(s) to anchor my design. I could’ve used Swarovski rivolis for the eyes . . . and if I did it, I could’ve finished creating the piece a few hours faster. Instead, I choose to “draw, color, and shade” my designs using nothing but beads.

Actually, I planned to put some chainmaille links onto this design. That way, this piece will contain every single thing I specialize on. That’s the very reason I put a silk flower on it. But, I was running out of time & none of the combinations I tried look nice on it. So, I decided to nix the idea.

By the way, I love the butterfly wing the skull is wearing as a headpiece. I’m thinking about creating similar hair accessory (minus the skull) sometime this month.

the serenity prayer of an ephemeral and imperfect beauty beaded hair accessory by angelica brigade beadwork beadworks hair fascinator comb by angelicabrigade skull silk flower butterfly

To me, the most important step in designing a headpiece is making sure that it will look nice on someone’s hair. I had to change the proportion and the silhouette of the piece a few times before it looks just right.

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Then, the beading process begins.

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One bead at a time . . .

the serenity prayer of an ephemeral and imperfect beauty beaded hair accessory by angelica brigade beadwork beadworks hair fascinator comb by angelicabrigade skull silk flower butterfly

As always, I prefer to “draw” the outline of the piece by back-stitching each bead to create the shape.

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I tried a more conventional beading technique before (gluing cabochons —> beading around the cabochons —> cutting the beading foundation —> beading the edges) . . . but, that technique doesn’t work so well for me. May be it’s because I don’t really use cabochons. But not just that, I want to go beyond beading things in radial pattern.

the serenity prayer of an ephemeral and imperfect beauty beaded hair accessory by angelica brigade beadwork beadworks hair fascinator comb by angelicabrigade skull silk flower butterfly

After I was done beading the piece, I bonded it – using hot-melt adhesive – onto high quality ultrasuede … and beaded the part where the beadwork meets with ultrasuede to make the piece more seamless :)

Because the silk rose covers the pretty butterfly the skull is wearing as a headpiece, I decided to make the flower a bit smaller.

And, the number of hours I spent to create this headpiece is . . . 60 hours. The first attempt in bringing an imaginary accessory into reality takes time because I still need to figure out how I can create certain shapes or effects using the materials that are available to me. It involves a few trials and errors. I can reproduce this piece in less time. Say . . . 45 or 50 hours :D

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Next Saturday: The other designs I entered into Fire Mountain Gem’s Seedbead contest

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That’s it for now, guys!!!

Have a terrific weekend.

-joyce

Hard Work, Perseverance, Collaborations, & Time Offs

How can we create or accomplish things that are much better than what we can ever imagine?

By collaborating with other people who are great at things we aren’t so great at!!!

Wedding gowns by Amy Michelson Jewelry & Accessories by Angelica Brigade

Wedding gowns by Amy Michelson
Jewelry & Accessories by Angelica Brigade
Fur borrowed from Mon Amie Bridal Salon

Who’d ever thought that we can use my knotted chainmaille statement necklace to ornament a French Twist updo?! Denise Empey of Two Tone Umbrella did … I’d never crossed my mind that we can wear this necklace this way …

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It was for an Amy Michelson 1920s & 1930s Hollywood Glam stylized bridal gown photo shoot … 3 different models, and 10+ different looks. Here are some behind-the-scenes and alternate angle previews of the photo shoot:

Amy Michelson Hollywood Glam Editorial Photo Shoot at The London West Hollywood Hotel Photography by Kristi Klemens of KLK Photography in Orange County Irvine California Jewelry and Accessories by Joyce Katuari angelicabrigade angelica brigade

Bridal Gown: Amy Michelson
Jewelry and Accessories: Angelica Brigade
Model: Amanda T. Bird
Location: The London West Hollywood

It was held in this amazing hotel in West Hollywood called The London … We couldn’t have been able to secure the place in such a short notice without Natalie Good of A Good Affair Wedding and Event Production

The editorial photos were taken by the talented Award Winning professional photographer – Kristi Klemens (KLK Photography), along with her husband, Paul Bennett (who also is an amazing professional photographer), and lighting expert Efren Beltran

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klk photography kristi klemens paul bennet efren beltran

Do you know what it takes to create picture-perfect images? Lots and lots of work … and attention to details

Amy Michelson editorial stylized bridal gown photo shoot at The London West Hollywood, Model Actor Tess Panzer Hair and Makeup Denise Empey

Bridal gown: Amy Michelson
Hair & Make-Up: Denise Empey
Model: Tess Panzer
Location: The London West Hollywood

So glad that Danielle of Mon Amie Bridal Salon was there to lend us her expertise :)

danielle

I’m excited to see how the photos turn out (^_______^)

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So … this – officially – is the end of my badly needed time off (read more about it here)

I’ll publish my daily blog posts every Saturday morning (Pacific Standard Time) again :)

In the meantime, you can see my most current works & random behind-the-scenes photos on my Instagram or Tumblr :)

931292_10151558861519014_347175856_n surgical mask huge hair ribbon self portrait selfie iphone photography Angelica Brigade handmade bridal cuff / wedding jewelry / handmade bracelet for brides by joyz*k of angelicabrigade miu vermillion joyce katuari

-joyce

[Updates] It’s gonna take some time, but . . .

angelica-brigade_handmade_chainmaille-jewelry_chainmail-jewellery_necklace_silver-black_lurex_rondo-a-la-byzantine_004b

Rondo a la Byzantine Chain Maille Necklace with Lurex Ribbon

… wonderful things take a long time to create

I’m still unwilling spill my trade secrets to Etsy; and so, I’m still not authorized to sell anything via Etsy.

These past few days, I’ve been spending most of my “free time” trying to find new ways for me to do the things I love: Creating handmade jewelry and accessories on a daily basis. It’s my goal that – someday – I can do it for a living.

This unexpected change forced me to re-write my business plan which might very well be a blessing in disguise.

One-and-a-quarter year after I started my very first small business, through trials & errors, I’ve become more knowledgeable than I used to be. There are a lot more things for me to learn, but . . . I can definitely write – at least – a slightly better business plan than the one I wrote in 2011 (because . . . back then . . . the only business knowledge I had was the things I learned from my professors & from the books I read).

It’ll take some time for me to launch Angelica Brigade v.02 . . . especially because I’ve also been working on several other projects with several other artists . . . I can’t really talk about them on this blog just yet because I’ve learned not to count my chicken before they hatch . . . and because unexpected things can happen along the way . . . (am I being a bit too negative?)

Well, anyway, there are a few more things I plan to announce quite soon. If you are interested to find out what they might be, you are welcomed to follow my blog or subscribe to my blog posts via e-mail :)

Failure, Perspective, and Resilience

Source: Lifehack

:) Imagine that you are building the largest, most elaborate, and labor intensive sandcastle you ever make so far . . .
:) It’s almost done, and you are rather proud of it . . .
:( You are putting some finishing touches on it when someone – not minding where s/he’s going – stumble and fall on top of your sandcastle . . .

or

:) Imagine that you are playing a very challenging RPG game on your portable game console
:) You’ve spent countless hours on it
:) You know that – this time – you’re definitely going to get the game’s “true ending”
:( And out of nowhere, a few rowdy children run towards you and knock your portable game console into a pond . . .

How long will it take you to start over?

A similar thing happened to me last week, but in a much larger scale (you can read more about it here).

I know that I’ll get over it. I know that – this time around – it’ll take me less time to rebuild everything I’ve lost (and I will~). Yet, I wasn’t able to do it the same day it happened to me.  So, I decided to take a mini vacation to get over my fatigue, disappointment, and anger~ I also needed some time to re-evaluate things, to find better ways to grow my small business, etc etc.

But now, I’m ready to start over.

www.angelica-brigade.com‘s online shop will be open for business by the end of this week!

But, some things are going to change.

  • I will share most of my jewelry-making and accessory-making knowledge with my readers & customers.
  • I’m planning to offer plenty of good DIY tutorials on this blog & I won’t prohibit my readers from producing & selling the items.
  • I’m also planning to write ebooks on jewelry-making & accessory-making.
  • I’m not saying that I will stop creating handmade items for my clients & prospective clients . . . but, I’m not planning to take more than a few custom or made-to-order items per month.
  • Instead, I will focus on designing more & more things . . . and offering the tutorials on how to make those jewelry & accessories to my readers (which is also great for me because I don’t enjoy creating one same thing over and over again)

That’s it for now, guys!!!

I will write again in a few days.

Till then,

– joyz*k of AngelicaBrigade

Expose Your Trade Secrets or I Will Shut Your Shop Down : Etsy Suspended My Shop

[ Update: People who follow me on Instagram know that whenever they ask me about the materials & methods I use to create my demi-couture accessories, I always answer their questions to the best of my ability. E.g. I let them know where I purchase my materials, give them links to good video tutorials, etc . . . But, there are a small number of things I want to keep to myself . . . the things I want to make sure that big companies and mass-producers won’t exploit ]

Just because I’m not a billionaire . . . (and) new at this business . . . should I set myself up to loose before I even begin?

(T)he fact that someone can snuff itwith a click of a button wrenches my heart . . .

(W)hoever has the most power wins. And smaller entities like me need to be faster, wiser, and more resilient to survive.

And yet, I’m not giving up. Till the very end. I will protect & nurture my Angelica Brigade till I am no longer able to do it anymore.

Here’s my story:

After hours of extensive research, I’m still certain that to this date (February 10, 2013), I still am the only person in this world who (can) produce this lightweight but sculptural chainmaille necklace.

angelica brigade angelicabrigade company website

And yet, Etsy says that unless I prove to that I am the person who create this necklace, I can no longer sell anything via Etsy.

I invented this style in December 2011, starting with this hand piece  . . .
(You can read about it in this blog post >>> https://angelicabrigade.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/one-of-my-best-works-this-year/ )

joyz-k_for_angelicabrigade_maille-bracelet_rigmarole-glorvina-005

It wasn’t perfect, but I thought that the piece was my renaissance as a chainmaille artist. So, I dedicated hundreds of hours to improve and perfect the style.

Then, I thought that a matching necklace might be a good idea. And so, I created these pieces by improving the construction of the hand piece, and extended its length just so to create these necklaces: https://angelicabrigade.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/avant-garde-statement-necklace-by-joyzk-for-angelica-brigade/

avant garde maille necklace by joyz*k for Angelica Brigade

Here are a few pictures of myself and my workspace as I was creating the piece (as seen in that blog post):

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That necklace, then, evolved into this piece (as written in the following blog post >>> https://angelicabrigade.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/another-avant-garde-maille-necklace/ )

Angelica Brigade avant garde maille necklace

And, as usual, I proudly show my readers that I do create this piece myself . . .

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That necklace, then, evolved into a bolder hand piece (you can read more about it in this blog post >>> https://angelicabrigade.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/why-it-takes-me-8-hours-or-more-to-create-my-maille-jewelry/ )

And . . . per usual, I included some pictures of how I created the piece.

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And, I kept on perfecting this technique . . .

You can read about them in these blog posts:

Do you notice how similar they look? They are just becoming bolder & better-constructed . . .

angelica-brigade_avant-garde-chainmaille-necklace-rigmarole_anna5_watermarked-s

And . . . finally, I made this piece (which process I also blog about. You can read it in https://angelicabrigade.wordpress.com/2012/10/06/how-i-create-this-type-of-knotted-chainmaille-swarovski-statement-necklaces/ )

handmade jewelry statement necklace chainmaille jewellery chain maille chain mail chainmail knotted swarovski fancy stone black gold angelica brigade angelicabrigade etsy indie designer bold sculptural unusual unique

I defended myself to the best of my ability using numerous photographic evidence, including this one

angelicabrigade_step-2_full

And yet . . . they said that unless I show them how I twist the chain, where I connect the chain, et cetera, they will not let me to sell anything via Etsy . . .

To be honest . . . I am more than a little hurt :'(

I also feel more than a little offended.

Being falsely accused by an anonymous person . . . and then being forced to reveal many things I rather keep to myself (e.g. the sizes of the jump rings I used, the places I bought my supplies, etc etc) . . . And then forced to show my closely guarded secret . . .

Well . . . I am an owner of an extremely small business. My knowledge of how I constructed the piece is the only advantage I have. And, if I give that away, what will I have left?

Nothing . . .

An Etsy representative told me that whatever I tell them will remain confidential. And yet . . . if someone who is able to create chainmaille jewelry accidentally see the email . . . I don’t need to spell the consequences out to you, right?

Will Coca Cola & KFC tell other people their secret recipes? Are they allowed to keep their recipes secret?

How about me? Just because I’m not a billionaire . . . just because I’m new at this business . . . should I set myself up to loose before I even begin?

How about some justice? How about the right to not to act in a reckless manner?

And so . . . at this moment, I no longer sell my items via Etsy.

I told Etsy that I am going to need to think about this . . . that nothing but a signed & legalized document from Etsy will reassure me that this act of revealing all the trade secrets I have will never hurt me in the future.

I don’t think they’ll ever do that for me . . . The Etsy Integrity team member who handled my case did not respond to this matter when I brought the topic up.

So, here’s what I learned last week:

Etsy is a huge corporation, and I – a small-time newbie – am not valuable to them

and so . . . they shut me out.

I’m not a big loss to them and the fact that I am no longer sell anything via their online marketplace will not create any dent.

Well . . .

But life goes on . . .

And I will pick up the pieces and try to rebuild my small business which is as dear to me as an infant to his or her own birth mother.

Yes, Angelica Brigade is a very small business that doesn’t generate a lot of money, but it’s still my baby, and I love it so very much. I dedicated many sleepless days for it . . . And the fact that someone can snuff it with a click of a button wrenches my heart so much that even if this person revive it with another click of a button, it will never – ever – be the same again.

But, that’s how the world is I guess . . . whoever has the most power wins. And smaller entities like me need to be faster, wiser, and more resilient to survive.

And yet, I’m not giving up. Till the very end. I will protect & nurture my Angelica Brigade till I am no longer able to do it anymore.

And this is where I stand today.

Angelica Brigade’s New Studio

angelica brigade angelicabrigade new studio handmade accessories jewelry office independent designer

It’s tiny: Only 130 square feet (12 square meter) in size & located a few footsteps away from my living room.

To make the most of it, I asked a local carpenter to create ceiling-high cabinets (in glossy white) so I can make this home office to look clean & organized.

jasmine becket-griffith strangeling limited edition canvas print angelica brigade handmade headpiece hair fascinator headband angelicabrigade oversized huge silk flower art deco inspired vase vintage canvas head

I keep the decor to a minimum:

  • Two of Jasmine Becket-Griffith‘s limited edition canvas prints
  • A vintage canvas hat with one of my handmade lurex flower headband on top of it
  • One of my handmade gigantic silk flower propped on top of an art-deco inspired vase
  • One of my handmade alternative bouquet (it can stand upright on its own – without any support whatsoever)
  • A floral & metal centerpiece I made for my wedding’s cocktail party, and . . .
  • A framed chalkboard

angelicabrigade_studio_007b

At the end of each day, I put everything inside of the cabinets to keep them clean & dust-free.

Everything has its own space. It makes it easier for me to find things.

According to the American Demographics Society, Americans waste 9 million hours a day looking for misplaced items.

To me, time is a luxury. And once we waste it, we can never recover it.

I also like to start each of my workday afresh. Plus, it’s easier for me to clean the table when there’s absolutely nothing on top of it.

angelicabrigade studio angelica brigade office handmade headpiece millinery silk flower hair fascinator vintage canvas head jasmine becket-griffith painting limited edition canvas print independent designer etsy seller hair accessories small tiny office ceiling high cabinets minimalism decor clean chainmailler artist small business owner

This is how I make sure that each of my in-stock items are completely dust-free & stay pristine.

angelica-brigade_studio_in-stock-handmade-accessories-silk-hair-flower-chainmaille-jewelry-chainmail-jewellery-storage-002

I always keep Fire Mountain Gem‘s catalog nearby. It’s an amazing & comprehensive resource I need whenever I am designing a new piece of jewelry.

So, this concludes today’s short tour of Angelica Brigade’s Studio. Thanks for stopping by~

My new studio

angelica brigade new studio free standing alternative bouquet jasmine becket grifith limited edition art print panasonic toughbook independent designer lowbrow art limited canvas print big eye lowbrow painting steampnki bouquet

A view of my studio . . . my rather spartan working space, featuring:

  • My handmade alternative bridal bouquet (it can stand upright without any support! I will write more about it in a few days)
  • A limited edition canvas print of Jasmine Becket-Griffith’s lowbrow big eye gothic painting
  • And, my faithful Panasonic Toughbook.

I will post more pictures very soon.

 

We Are Moving!!!

Angelica Brigade is moving to a new (and bigger) studio.

It will take 3 days for us to settle in & decorate our new space, but we are still open for business as usual: Same production time, same shipping fee, same shipping schedule.

But, soon, we’ll be able to produce better photographs, take some pictures that can show you our working process & may be film some YouTube tutorials as well.

So excited,

@k_joyz of AngelicaBrigade

(Second) New Year Website Makeover

How do you like it?

If you have a chance, please stop by & check it out :)

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