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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

Creativity & Failure : A Stepping Stone to Success, A Part of the Process, etc, etc.

“Every act of creation
is first an act of destruction. ”

-Pablo Picasso

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:

  • I made this one using 14 gauge jump rings, what if I use 16 gauge jump rings instead?
  • I made the original piece using Swarovski crystals, what if I use the much shinier, multicolored, & multifaceted Czech fire-polished beads instead?
  • What if I make the bracelet an inch wider?
  • What if I create some star-shaped focal points and bead the rest of the bracelet using smaller beads instead? And so on … )

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.

[ Me no Likey ] I've been spending many hours trying to make this bracelet to look better by adding different kinds of beads onto it

[ Me no Likey ] I’ve been spending many hours trying to make this bracelet to look better by adding different kinds of beads onto 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.

Angelica Brigade Starting Over Destroy to create

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 (^____^)

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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.

~0o0~

Anyway . . .
I’ve been thinking about discontinuing the weekly finds section . . . Why?

  • First of all, I’m not the kind of person who shops for fun.
  • I don’t browse the internet to find new cool items to buy either . . .
  • I also noticed that the weekly finds section is filled with a bunch of random items ranging from weird/interesting gadgets, accessories, tutorials, discount coupons, free iPhone apps, and what not … In other words, the list is filled with a jumble of unrelated things …

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

Jewelry-Making: Sabine Lippert’s Beaded Fantasies + Beaded Chainmaille Bracelets

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!!!).

Beaded Fantasies by Sabine Lippert beadweaving lark publishing book jewelry jewellery making handmade accessories beads seed bead

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:

  • As I play around with it / try to fit everything together, I get to understand the basic mechanic or construction of the piece
  • And, I will be able to create the piece within hours (or – sometimes – a few days) instead of a few months or years.

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.

angelica brigade angelicabrigade handmade beaded chainmaille bracelet cuff chain maille jewelry chainmail jewellery beadweaving swarovski ornella preciosa czech fire polished beads japanese seed beads blue buddha boutique jump rings

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.

angelica brigade angelicabrigade handmade beaded chainmaille bracelet cuff chain maille jewelry chainmail jewellery beadweaving swarovski ornella preciosa czech fire polished beads japanese seed beads blue buddha boutique jump rings

Till next week!

Have a wonderful weekend~

-joyz*k of AngelicaBrigade

Kukka Tatting, Toy-Making, & Lifelong Learning

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~

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I’m looking forward to be able to create this piece (the necklace on the very left) very soon:

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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~

And . . . the change seemed to happen much sooner than expected

. . . but it’s okay.

My backup plans are already in motion :)

Also

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.

~0o0~

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

~0o0~

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~

-joyce

On Moving On …

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 . . .

Yikes! Thank goodness for Instagram & Magic Hour

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 . . .

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And, here’s me today . . . with huge eyebags, messy hair, inability to smile, & sandpapery skin . . .

Yikes.

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.

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La la la . . .

I’m gonna go back to work.

Talk to you guys in a few days~

Signing out~

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-joyz*k

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

Previews + Updates

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

angelica brigade handmade bracelets chainmaille bracelet brass jewelry jewellery

Simple but dramatic chainmaille bracelets. I’ve been wearing them the moment I finished making them.

angelica brigade cocktail hat gothic llita style headpiece millinery hair accessory angelicabrigade lurex floral hatinator

And this is my very first proper hatinator / cocktail hat

With hat frame & hat elastic that don’t show up when you wear it.

angelica brigade floral headpiece angelicabrigade art nouveau inspired flower clip handmade hair accessory

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~

~0o0~

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.

Till then,

– joyce of AngelicaBrigade

Getting Ready for Next Year … and for January 3rd, 2013

angelica brigade handmade jewelry chainmail jewellery earrings by angelicabrigade independent designer etsy seller chain maille artist chainmaille artiste

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:

  • Sleeker & more wearable pieces of chainmaille jewelry
  • Bigger & bolder floral headpieces
  • Beaded cuffs – featuring either my handmade cabochon(s) or gemstone(s)
  • And more

>>> 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/

My December 10 – 16, 2012 – { in a nutshell }

What I’m very much into these days

1.

Making handmade cabochons & tiny sculptures

Angelica Brigade handmade cabochon AngelicaBrigade handmade 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

2.

Little dresses with large, bold, and unusual motifs

Lace Dress by Ali Ro

Ali Ro dress Dior  pumps heels ballerina inspired

The dress is by Ali Ro, very similar with the one seen here, but mine is in Navy Blue.

Ali Ro Belted Lace Dress Saks Fifth Avenua

And, the one you see on the top of this page is very similar with this dress

Ali Ro Lace Overlay Knit Dress

3.

Beading

Angelica Brigade bead embroidery AngelicaBrigade handmade bridal cuff Vintage Inspired victorian cameo dusty pink tulle neo-victorian style stneo victorian

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?

 

Lifehack (?) + Upcoming ChainMaille JewelryMaking GIVEAWAY

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.

Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade indie designer iPad iPod touch wireless keyboard Gucci zoo handbag pliers Brookstone gadget

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 got my bluetooth keyboard [that comes with a leather case] at Brookstone.

I didn’t expect that it’s so well-made. Plus, it can stand steadily on my lap while typing at a rapidfire pace.

AngelicaBrigade Angelica Brigade Brookstone Bluetooth Keyboard Pro Leather Case for iPad Review

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]

AngelicaBrigade Angelica Brigade iPod Touch 5G App Checklist Check List Slick Task Lite Gucci Zoo Handbag

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.

AngelicaBrigade Angelica Brigade iPod Touch 5G App Checklist Check List Slick Task Lite Gucci Zoo Handbag

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 (^_______^)/

@k_joyz of AngelicaBrigade

Rigmarole /// Glorvina Avant-Garde Bracelet ::: RECONSTRUCTED

Remember the bracelet I considered my best work in the year of 2011?

Joyz*K of Angelica Brigade Avant Garde Maille ChainMaille Bracelet Armpiece Rigmarole Glorvina

The moment I finished creating this bracelet/armpiece was the moment I started to see myself as a chainmaille artist.

Many people (even the people I don’t know . . . the ones who ask me about the piece whenever I wear it in “public places”) told me that I can definitely sell the piece . . . some store managers even told me that it will do well in certain stores . . .

But . . .

This piece, along with several other armpieces in the ‘Rigmarole Collection’, need to be custom-fitted.

In order to make sure that the bracelet to look the way it’s intended to look on the wearer’s hand, more than one fitting sessions are necessary

For that reason, unless I can find a way to reconstruct this bracelet in such a way that no custom fitting is necessary, I can never make the piece available for sale in my online shop &/or brick-and-mortar stores

AngelicaBrigade Angelica Brigade Avant Garde Chain Maille Chainmaille Bracelet Armpiece Jewelry Jewellery Rigmarole Glorvina Reconstructed Original Design by joyz*k aka Miu Vermillion AngelicaBrigade Angelica Brigade Avant Garde Chain Maille Chainmaille Bracelet Armpiece Jewelry Jewellery Rigmarole Glorvina Reconstructed Original Design by joyz*k aka Miu Vermillion

It took me a while, but I’m finally able to achieve that goal . . .

The bracelet sits a little differently from the original one, but they look very similar and I like the reconstructed version as much.

Here are several before & after pics of the piece:

Before (Front)

Angelica Brigade Avant Garde Chain Maille Bracelet by joyz*k, Rigmarole Glovina

Before (Back)

. . .

and

AngelicaBrigade Angelica Brigade Avant Garde Chain Maille Bracelet Armpiece Rigmarole Glorvina by joyz*k a.k.a. Miu Vermillion

Now
(Please excuse the overexposed picture. I will take better pics of the piece soon)

-joyz*k of Angelica Brigade

Avant Garde Maille Bracelet: ‘Rigmarole /// Glorvina ‘

It took me hours and a few dozens of  fittings to make sure the bracelet to look exactly like this, and to follow the contour & the movements of my hand

(And for those of you who wants to know how the bracelet looks like when it’s placed on top a flat surface, please scroll down :) )

This bracelet is actually very flexible.

This is how the bracelet looks like when it’s placed on top of a flat(ish) surface

[front]

[back]

[close-up]

[all pictures are taken using iPhone 4’s built in camera, without special software / filters]

:)

http://www.twitter.com/!/angelicabrigade

https://angelicabrigade.wordpress.com

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Angelica-Brigade/205402069513750

Uploaded 22 new pictures

including my newest creation: a convertible adjustable necklace/belt/hairband

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.241662379221052.74666.205402069513750&type=1#!/media/set/?set=a.241662379221052.74666.205402069513750&type=1

 

-j

Update~

Since the synthetic pearls I used to create this necklace get scratched rather easily, I decided to use Swarovski Elements crystal pearls instead. As a result, it’s current retail price is $120 (fyi, we offer free shipping & 20% grand opening discount till February 11, 2012).

 

Re: Bouquet #003

On the whole, I’m not satisfied with how the bouquet #003 turned out. So, I decided not to list it in my online store.

I completed bouquet #004 and #005. And the bouquet #006 is largely done. I’ll just have to decorate the handle, which is 23″ (58.5 cm) long.

The bouquet #004, #005, and #006 are not similar to anything I’d ever seen in any store – online or offline.

I will upload the pictures in  a few hours, after I watermark them and name them.

Till then~

 

-j

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