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～』.
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.
I created the dress using identical techniques I use when I make silk headpieces . . .
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.
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.
It has been an extremely busy couple of months!!!
I was in New York for a bit to join Miss Aniela‘s Fashion Shoot Experience . . .
Then, I spent most of my time creating clothing, jewelry, and accessories for editorial photo shoots I personally arranged, styled, and lensed . . . and, wrote a few articles for Beautiful Bizarre Magazine.
I am not great at handling fragile things . . . and so, I like everything I own to be sturdy, and if possible, armored . . .
I guess, this 2 Terabytes Rugged Armor Military Shockproof External Hardware is perfect for me, LOL!
I really like the hot pink padded hard case as well
Last week, I spent the bulk of my time editing the photos I shot in the past months . . . I’m planning to submit them to various independent magazines.
The photos I recently shot look much more elaborate than the ones I’ve shot in the past. I collaborated with numerous people who love what they do and great at doing what they love. I’m looking forward to share them with all of you very soon (-:
This post might contain affiliate links; but, I’m not paid by anyone to write about their products. All opinions you read in this blog is 100% mine. Any ad that might show up below this line is not endorsed by me and/or Angelica Brigade
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).
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
[from my Instagram photo blog]
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.
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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
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.
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]
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 . . .
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.
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
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.
~ 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 (-:
-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 . . .
We can never “unsay” the things we’ve said.
In fact, it’s one of the issues I faced a few weeks ago.
It wasn’t a pleasant one, especially because the person who badmouthed me was a total stranger who’d never met/spoke/written to me (yet?) . . .
But, let’s not dwell on that.
Talking about it will only bring the negative memory (along with all the negative emotions that come with it) into my life.
Nothing good will come of it.
So, I decided to let it go and move on.
The past few weeks had been chaotic . . . but in spite of everything (and may be because of all the problems I faced) . . . I’d say that it was a successful couple-of-weeks.
Here are the things I learned from all the things that happened:
I’m getting ready for two more editorials shoots.
-joyce @ Angelica Brigade
I won’t be able to write blog posts for a few weeks . . .
I have tons of projects to work on and can only manage to write a short photo blogs (which I do on a regular basis).
-j @ Angelica Brigade
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.
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 :)
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!!!
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 …
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:
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
Do you know what it takes to create picture-perfect images? Lots and lots of work … and attention to details
So glad that Danielle of Mon Amie Bridal Salon was there to lend us her expertise :)
I’m excited to see how the photos turn out (^_______^)
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 :)
I’ve been taking a week-long vacation after several all-work-and-no-play weeks … trying to create enough items for a certain editorial photo shoot … one of the biggest collaborative works I’ve ever been a part of so far …
(I will write more about it … and post many awesome behind the scenes photos … by Wednesday)
Last month, I slept no more than 3 hours per day … So, this past few days, I had been catching up on lost sleep. It seems that my sleep debt is too massive that a week-long rest isn’t enough :O
Wishing you all a fantastic weekend!!!
Next Saturday: Important Keys to Success You Might Overlook , Part I
No one can create something out of nothing. And so, to come up with magnificent things, inventors & designers (re-)mix, (re-)arrange & present some pre-existing things in some new ways.
That’s pretty much what I do …
My design process is always lead by series of “what-ifs” . . . such as:
But, there are times when things don’t work out so well. I’ve been trying to make this bracelet to look better by adding more & more beads … but, it doesn’t seem to work. It still looks like a chunk of charred jewelry instead. And, I don’t like it.The piece does not look friggin’ ugly; but, it’s not up to my standard. I really want to come up with a better design than this one; and so, with a heavy heart, I decided to start over.
So, I picked my scissors up and remove all the beads from its chainmaille bracelet.
The good news is, during the process of chopping all the beading wires off & destroying my previous work , I came up with a new design (^____^)
And now, I’m ready to re-build this bracelet . . .
To be honest, I dismantle my works quite regularly.
I don’t want to waste the perfectly good materials by dumping all the pieces I don’t like so much into a box. At the very least, I can re-use these beads to create design samples. I can also use them to test my new design ideas (the experimental kinds, the ones I can’t tell whether they’re going to work).
So yes, I destroy my own works; but, it’s not an act of desperation.
This week, though, I’ve been dismantling many more pieces than I usually do. This week have been all about constructing —> deconstructing —> re-constructing —> deconstrucing —>re-constructing —> [and so on]. In fact, I’ve been deconstructing & reconstructing one same piece more than 3 times a day and a few days in a row. It’s been a little exhausting. And so, I need to make sure that the end result will justify this tons of effort.
Anyway . . .
I’ve been thinking about discontinuing the weekly finds section . . . Why?
Ah, well . . .
Again, to me, time goes by much too quickly . . . and all I can manage is write one blog post a week.
But . . . I’ve been posting new things on my photo blog regularly. I post most of them on Instagram and share some of those contents on my Tumblr. So, if you want to see some behind-the-scenes photos, some cool or funny things I find, inspiring images (taken by other artists/photographers), and pictures of cute animals, yummy food, and things like that, come and visit my Instagram or Tumblr photo blog :)
Have a fantastic weekend~
-joyce of Angelica Brigade
If you are a fellow jewelry-maker or love to create jewelry for fun, you’ll love (and learn a lot from) this beadweaving book: Sabine Lippert’s Beaded Fantasies.
I LOVE her designs!!! The nice clean lines, the dramatic style, & the fact that all of the designs are three-dimensional (not flat!!!).
I love this book because many of the techniques I learned from it can be adapted & combined with other techniques. That way, I can use & adapt those techniques to create my own original designs.
Some of the materials needed to create some of the designs are a little difficult to find. But, the rest of the jewelry-making instructions are so superb that I don’t care I can’t learn to make some of the beautiful pieces.
I know that this book is not written specifically for beginners. But . . . though I’ve never done any beadweaving before, I could follow the instructions just fine. The instructions are jargon-free & written without the assumption that the readers are familiar with basic beadweaving techniques. (Unlike many crochet & knitting books. Oh, gosh!!! To me, many of them look like they are filled with encrypted messages. That’s why – till this day – I still can crochet & knit to save my life).
Anyway, I never let my “experience/expertise level” limit me. I learn to create whatever piece I want to make (i.e. The first three chainmaille weaves I learned are: Box Weave, Byzantine Weave, & Dragonscale Weave. Yes, I learned to do Dragonscale Weave before I learned to do the basic European 4-in-1 weave). It usually takes me a while to get everything just right; but, it’s much better this way because:
Who cares if I haven’t mastered (for example) European 4-in-1 Weave & some other basic weaves while I was making a Dragonscale Chainmaille bracelet. I don’t need to. On the other hand, I was dying to own/learn/make a Dragonscale Chainmaille bracelet, so I did. I got myself the best instruction/tutorial I could find and dedicated my time to create that bracelet. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth the effort.
Anyway, I learned to make my first European 6-in-1 chainmaille bracelet only about 3 weeks ago as I was trying to create a bunch of one-of-a-kind beaded chainmaille bracelets like this one.
I beaded the piece at random using whatever beads I happened to own.
To find the best place for me to stitch the beads, I held them on my hand and moved them here & there till I thought that they’ll look good on particular spot(s) before I stitched them onto the bracelet.
I used Spiderwire and Fireline beading threads to stitch the beads on. Both of them are superbly strong.
Till next week!
Have a wonderful weekend~
-joyz*k of AngelicaBrigade
I bought these books at Kinokuniya earlier today (or should I say yesterday, because it’s 1am right here in California)~
Can’t wait to accumulate some new skills~
I’m looking forward to be able to create this piece (the necklace on the very left) very soon:
The technique to create this lace-like piece is called Kukka Tatting. The book contains many different patterns.
I’m so excited!!!
Got to get myself some yarns first, though~
. . . but it’s okay.
My backup plans are already in motion :)
To me, it definitely is.
This one closed door opened four new doors for me : The four great new opportunities I could have missed if I didn’t look for them & focus on the the not-so-awesome thing that happened instead.
I believe that hidden opportunities often lie buried inside of the problems we overcome.
I can’t really talk about the specifics right now. May be in a few weeks, after I can evaluate the situation more objectively.
Everything that happens is often caused by several different causes, such as =
A third party’s malice
The second party’s lack of trust
One’s own decisions or responses
To me . . . it’s important to keep our priorities in mind and not to sacrifice the things we value (especially the ones we can’t replace or reclaim) . . . except if it’s the only thing we have to do to protect the people care about.
So, this is the path I choose take.
I could’ve fight it, but I won’t. I won’t “try to grow anything on a hostile soil” because my hard work will only bring about some meager results.
Instead, it’s wiser to find a more conducive environment to grow.
My goal is to succeed, so instead of fighting or getting mad or blaming other people, I will focus on attaining that goal . . . None of us has thoroughly unlimited resources + time + energy, so we better use what we have to build what we want instead of wasting our valuable time + energy + resources to destroy, hurt other people, & do things that cause us to see ourselves as ruthless & horrible people. We’ll even hate ourselves in the process. And, if that happens, will we ever get closer to the kind of life we want?
I don’t think so.
Anyway . . . That’s it for now, guys. Good night, and talk to you guys again soon~
I landed in Southern California a little more than a day & a half ago,
It was a long (20-hour) journey & currently, I’m as jet-lagged as one can be . . .
In any case, it’s great to be back. There’s no other place on earth I’d rather be.
Anyway . . .
As I said . . . many things had happened within such a short time . . . including a not-so-awesome thing that might force me to make a radical change. As for now, I’m trying my best to prevent the worst from happening. I’ve talked with some people who’ve been through the same thing & most of them aren’t very optimistic about it. Even so, I’m giving it my best shot while also preparing a plan b, plan c, plan d, and so on . . . just in case . . . Because I don’t want to give up.
After all there are many other ways to achieve one’s goal . . .
I’m branching out!!!
I’m doing 3D animation shorts & designing graphic novels’ characters as well . . .
I’ll be working with an aspiring writer & it’s gonna be a blast.
For me, it means that I’m also inching closer towards the kind of future that I want for myself: Outside of any corporate culture, doing the thing I love, & make a living out of it.
I’m not there quite yet; but, someday . . .
And, here’s me today . . . with huge eyebags, messy hair, inability to smile, & sandpapery skin . . .
Well, I do work more than 18 hours per day in these past few weeks, so what can I expect?!
But somehow, Instagram can make me look more presentable than I actually am.
La la la . . .
I’m gonna go back to work.
Talk to you guys in a few days~
My song of the day: King of Fighters XIII OST Each Promise
Today's outfit: Dress: BB Dakota Wa Lolita Cardigan: Qutie Frash from Kera Shop (Japan) Necklace: Tarina Tarantino Hair Clip: Angelica Brigade Black Thights: American Apparel Shoes: Jimmy Choo Nail Polish: Zoya
I finally got a chance to photograph all the pieces I recently made.
I’m gonna have to select & then edit the pictures (to make sure the colors seen in the pics are as similar to the real items as possible).
Here are some more previews of the things I plan to list on my Etsy shop. Sorry for cropping them & making them extra blurry. That way, when the official color-corrected pictures are up, you’ll like the final results more :D
Simple but dramatic chainmaille bracelets. I’ve been wearing them the moment I finished making them.
And this is my very first proper hatinator / cocktail hat
With hat frame & hat elastic that don’t show up when you wear it.
And these are Art Nouveau inspired hair clips. They are made out of silk shantung.
It might be a while before I can list them on my Etsy shop. After all, there are a few more custom orders I need to fill & brand new pieces (for two upcoming photo shoots) I need to create. And so, there are many samples of my new designs (which I call first-pieces) I need to create by the end of this week.
It usually takes me twice (and some times three times) longer to create first-pieces. Sometimes, things that look good on my sketch pad don’t look as good in real life. And so, I will need to re-size, replace, add, or reduce some parts of those first-pieces. At the same time, I also need to figure out the best way to construct each piece to make sure that they will are easy to wear, durable, & drape the way I want. It’s gonna be another hectic & sleepless week~
Anyway, have a great week, you guys! I’ll try to post some more new things this Wednesday.
In the meantime, you guys can check some other sneak peeks of several other pieces that I recently made on Angelica Brigade’s Facebook page & Tumblr. I don’t upload the same pictures on each site anymore~ So, if you want to see them, you’ll probably want to check each site.
– joyce of AngelicaBrigade
I also made several new pieces of jewelry using thick brass & bronze jump rings. I haven’t got a chance to photograph them. May be later this week, after I finish creating two custom items for my new clients, making two bead embroidery bib necklaces, & a few other things.
I also have a few more items to make for two upcoming collaborations – photo shoots with professional photographers, professional models, & another designer who is much more established than I am.
So, I think I can’t blog very often this week; but I’ll try to share a few more pictures with you guys in Wednesday.
In the meantime, if you want, you can check my other sneak peeks on Angelica Brigade‘s Facebook page & Instagram (my Instagram user name is . . . you guessed it!!!~ It’s angelicabrigade. Not so original; but consistent :D )
If you aren’t on Instagram, you can still see the pictures via your web browser.Here’s the url >>> http://instagram.com/angelicabrigade
Or, you can see some of my Instagram pictures on my Tumblr. Here’s the url >>> http://angelica-brigade.tumblr.com
Talk to you guys soon~
P.S. I will try to post a new nail art tutorial sometime this week.
The very last weekend of this year is finally here.
As usual, I tend to work harder & become more introspective than usual.
Instead of planning a party, I am planning / finding ways to live a healthier & more productive life next year.
I’ve been pushing myself harder; and so, I’ve been creating tons of new pieces that will become available in my Etsy shop next week:
>>> This is going to be the very last blog post I will write this year <<<
In January 2nd next year, I will come back with better written contents & accompanying pictures~
As for my small-business-related posts, I will write them on my personal blog instead: http://r4punz3ll3.wordpress.com/
What I’m very much into these days
Making handmade cabochons & tiny sculptures
I went nuts and made approximately 225 of these in various color combinations
They are extremely lightweight and made out of the most unusual materials
I will write more about this next week
Little dresses with large, bold, and unusual motifs
The dress is by Ali Ro, very similar with the one seen here, but mine is in Navy Blue.
And, the one you see on the top of this page is very similar with this dress
Especially: Making beaded cuffs & and statement necklaces.
I love this beaded cuff, but … at this moment, this piece is not perfect enough. Not yet.
There are a few technical aspects I need to improve before I can list it in my Etsy shop.
May be in a few weeks?
Growing tired to (mis-)type [and accidentally erase] tons of things onto my iPad & iPhone, I decided to connect them to my iPad’s Bluetooth keyboard.
It really helped!!!
It took me about 7 minutes [instead of the usual 15+ minutes] to type everything I need to type onto my CheckList App!!!
I didn’t expect that it’s so well-made. Plus, it can stand steadily on my lap while typing at a rapidfire pace.
Anyway, I was planning a series of blog posts, including a chainmaille kit giveaway. [I will write more about it in Monday, 11/5/2012]
I used a free app called SlickTask Lite to plan my day and my upcoming blog posts. I love the app because I can add collapsible multi-level sub-tasks onto each of my task list (which I can color-code as well). I also love its simple & clean layout.
It’s a 5-star free app.
Anyway, I created tons of new [and colorful!!!] chainmaille jewelry & headpieces this week. I haven’t got a chance to photograph them yet. So, check back in a few days~
Also, if you are interested to learn to make chainmaille jewelry & want to win free chainmaille jewelrymaking kit, please visit my blog next week to learn more about the giveaway.
Have a great weekend (^_______^)/