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Custom Ruffled Green Top for an Editorial Shoot

Here is another piece I created a while ago for an editorial shoot. I love the silk organza’s color, and I wanted to create something nice with it . . . Something non-floral in every single way.

I don’t hate flowers, but I don’t particularly love them either. And, yet, most of the headpieces and dresses I’ve created so far have flower-shaped trims on them because I find them easy to make. As some sort of compromise, I make those flowers as geometric as possible. People seem to like them. So, all is good. Sort of. But, before long, creating flower-shaped trims has become some sort of a crutch. And, THAT, is not good. I really need to do something about it or I’ll stagnate. So, I challenged myself to create 3 flower-free outfits in a month. The one you see below is one of them.

Angelica Brigade Ruffled Green Organza Top

The color of the fabric makes me think of the Greek Goddess of Harvers, Demeter. And, I imagined the fabric would make a beautiful Lanvin-style Grecian-inspired dress. But . . . it wouldn’t fit with the tone of the editorial I created this top for . . . Besides, I just can’t bring myself to knock another designers works off.

So, I decided to create something that features a several of my favorite SS2016 trends: ruffles, pleats, paperbag waist, and clothing with both transparent and opaque elements. But, I still keep the reference to Demeter. Like Ancient Greek chiton (or tunic), the wearer slips this top over her head and fasten it on the waist.

It looks nearly identical on the back, and meant to be worn with something else on the bottom.

Angelica Brigade Ruffled Green Organza Top

 

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.

angelica-brigade_by_miu-vermillion_making-the-antoinette-dress_006

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]

angelica-brigade_avant-garde_headpiece_millinery_origami_high-fashion_demi-couture_crown_no-label

angelica-brigade_avant-garde_hat

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.

miu-vermillion_angelica-brigade_virtuogenix_dark-beauty-magazine

This piece can also be worn in several different ways.

miu-vermillion_cold-lonely-hearts_009_s

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)

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

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

angelica-brigade_demi-couture_bonnet_floral-headpiece_gothic-lolita_victorian_hat_headdress_001

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

angelica-brigade_demi-couture_bonnet_floral-headpiece_gothic-lolita_victorian_hat_headdress_002

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.

angelica-brigade_demi-couture_bonnet_floral-headpiece_gothic-lolita_victorian_hat_headdress_003

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.

angelica-brigade_bonnet-kokoshnik-lace-swarovski-pearls

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

angelica+brigade+la+carmina+lacarmina+angelicabrigade+leveled+magazine+front+page

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

New Endeavor: Conceptual Photography

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Photographed and styled by Miu Vermillion
PVC top and skirt by Artifice Clothing
Silk Bouquet by Hapitat

To some degree, people are anchored to their past.
But, we should never let our past to define our future.
It won’t be easy.
Old habits, uncertainty, fear of the unknown . . .
But, the struggle forward is worth the effort.

miu-vermillion-square-tangled_small

Many people might say
“What the heck?!”
“You are a designer . . . you make jewelry and headpieces . . . Okay, sometimes, you make dresses, too . . .  So, stick on making things”
You are lacking stick-to-itiveness. If you keep on doing this, you’ll never succeed in anything
“Jill of all trades, master of none”
(o
r something similar)

Well, yes  . . . I make things . . . And I will keep on making things.

I will never stop creating demi-couture jewelry, headpieces, and dresses . . . But, from now on, I will make conceptual photographs as well.

I won’t be taking clients. Not anytime soon, if ever. Because, I want to focus on creating images I like, and to tell stories through those images.

angelica brigade

Many people don’t this, but I went to college as a Transmedia Art Major. I took photography and image editing classes . . . and, even after I graduated from college, I took a lot of dark, conceptual self-portraits. Not because I love myself so much, but because I had a hectic schedule (so, the only time I could shoot the photos are sometime after midnight).

So, I’m not a complete novice. A bit rusty, perhaps, but not a total noob. But, with a bit of practice, I’ll get the hang of it (again).

angelicabrigade 005

In order not to confuse anyone . . . and because my conceptual photography projects don’t always intersect with my demi-couture designs, I decided to keep them separate. For my photography projects, I will go by Miu Vermillion.

It’s early days yet, but here are my new Facebook and Instagram accounts:
http://www.facebook.com/MiuVermillion
http://www.instagram.com/MiuVermillion

I promise, more than 80% of the contents will not overlap with Angelica Brigade

Right now, there are many things I still need to figure out . . .
But it’s a part of the process, right?

– joyz k / Miu Vermillion

Rumination

angelicabrigade_miu-vermillion-2014_

Photographer: Miu Vermillion
Jewelry & Beaded Accessories: Angelica Brigade

This conceptual photograph is the (almost) perfect reflection of my current state of mind.

I’m giving myself a deadline. By the end of this week, I really should finish defragging my mind.

. . .

Last year, I overcommited myself to too many projects. I spent most of my waking hours (and sleepless nights) working. And so, I had no time to think and evaluate things.

It’s something I can no longer postpone.

It’s easier to keep on doing the same things and let chances, lucks, other people, and other external factors to decide the outcome; but, it sounds hazardous to me. It’s like going through life like a rudderless ship (which, eventually, will get stranded somewhere unpleasant).

Now that all the holiday festivities are over, let’s not waste the new opportunities (and lessons) 2014 has to offer

– joyz k / miu vermillion @ Angelica Brigade

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

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

lacarmina-rebellicious-angelicabrigade

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).

131105_goth_model_alternative_modeling_rebelicious_magazine_art_nouveau_6

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

DIY Tutorial + FREE Pattern: Beaded and Embroidered Holly Headband

angelica-brigade_christmas-headband_2

(You can find the list of materials I used to create this headband at the bottom of this page)

Download the free pattern here and copy the pattern onto your beading foundation

The techniques I used to create this headband is exactly the same with the techniques I used to create the Christmas Ornament (last week’s free tutorial). For more details and step-by-step photos, please visit that blog post.

angelica-brigade_christmas-headband_pattern

  1. Follow the above diagram and satin stitch the leaves and berries using DMC Cotton Perle #5
  2. You can satin stitch the white parts seen on the diagram . . . or . . . bead them with size #8 seed beads (I used nickle-plated seed beads).
  3. Bead the outlines using fire-polished beads in similar colors. (I like to put a few accent beads to make the piece looks more interesting).
  4. Cut the piece 1/16” (or 1.5 mm) outside of the outermost edges of the piece.
  5. Glue the piece onto either a piece of flannel or ultrasuede. Wait till the glue is completely dried.
  6. Using size #8 seed beads in similar colors, bead the edges with “clean edge finishing” (the technique seen in #14-17 of that webpage)
  7. Pass through these beads 3 or more times to make sure they won’t unravel.
  8. Attach the finished piece onto a piece of comb &/or headband.

This time, I decided to make my own headband.

  • The technique I used to create the headband: Right Angle weave. (I usually stitch through the same beads 2x)
  • Make small loops at either ends of the headband that fit the elastic or ribbon to fasten the headband with
  • The beads I used to create the main part of the headband: 4mm fire polished beads
  • I filled the gaps between the beads with size #6 seed beads

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Materials:

  • Pattern
  • Beading foundation: (a stiffened felt or Lacy’s Stiff Stuff)
  • DMC Cotton Perle in bright green, slightly lighter green, bright red, and dark red
  • Embroidery needle size #1
  • 3mm fire-polished beads in green and red
  • Size #8 seed beads in green and red
  • Beading thread (I use Nymo size O in green and red)
  • Beading needle size #12
  • Felt or ultrasuede
  • Glue
  • Pen, scissors

Optional:

  • If you want to bead the leaves with accent colors: Size #8 nickle plated seed beads (see below)
  • If you want to make your own beadwork headband:
        • 4mm fire polished beads in green and red
        • #6 seed beads in green and red
        • Fireline 6 lbs. test in smoke
        • Elastic or ribbon

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Feel free to reproduce this headband for commercial purposes, BUT:

  1. On your product description, please write: “Original design by Joyce at www.angelica-brigade.com
  2. Since I won’t be the person who create the piece you’ll sell in your shop . . . To avoid possible misunderstandings . . . Please use your own images to market your version(s) of this headband

If you have any question, please don’t hesitate to contact me by writing a comment on the reply box below. (Don’t worry if you don’t see your message on this page right away)

Alternately, you can also contact me via Facebook

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

Growth, Progress, Courage, Metamorphosis, and That Photoshoot in that Private Beach in Corona del Mar, Newport Beach, California

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Slightly more than 2 years ago, I opened AnGeLICA Brigade – a small handmade silk accessories and chainmaille jewelry shop – and sold my works via Etsy.

One and a half year later, Etsy shut my store down. Even though I post a lot of my work-in-progress photos on my blog and Instagram, and took snapshots of me re-creating the item they want me to duplicate, they refused to re-open my shop unless I show them my  trade secret (the only advantage I have, and something I need to guard if I want to survive in the business).

I was shocked, disappointed, angry, and had to go through several stages of grief … but I moved on. A few months after that, I consider the incident a blessing in disguise. I found new ways to market my designs . . . I collaborated with amazing groups of people . . . and I even got my works published in a number of magazines and blogs.

And now,  8 months after that incident, I’m ready to enter the next phase of my life.

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Gradually, I will stop selling handmade items and write tutorials on how to make them instead.

I’m also working on a few related projects I’m not confident enough to announce yet. But soon, when I’m ready, I’ll write all about it in this blog (-:

It takes me a lot of courage to do make this rather drastic change . . . shutting down a business I dedicated the past few years to . . . and starting afresh . . .

[Then, why the hell am I doing this, right?!]

I’ve given this a lot of thoughts . . .

  1. I opened my handmade store because I love making things and I’m good at it. But, from the very start, I’ve always known that I’ll never make a decent amount of profit out of it. There are stores that sell similar but cheaper and less durable mass-produced equivalents. Many people don’t care about the durability of the items they purchase anymore. They want variety and lower prices. They don’t want to wear the same things over and over again. So, spending a lot of money on well crafted items that are built to last isn’t something they will often do. The problem is, that’s the kind of things I produce.
  2. I can’t push the prices of my handmade products any lower (I barely make any profit at all), and the people who can afford my designs prefer to purchase similar things from more well known brands/designers.
  3. I need to make a living, too . . . So, I can’t quit my day job yet (especially for an unprofitable venture). So, I have to create my handmade designs after I come home from work. I no longer have enough time to do anything else. I don’t sleep much, I haven’t been to the gym in months, I don’t hang out with my friends as often as I used to, and (from time to time) I forget to eat. Keeping this sort of schedule for a prolonged time cannot be good for anyone . . .

This got to change . . .

I don’t want to stop doing what I love to do . . . but I don’t want to destroy myself in the process.

So, I won’t stop doing what I love to do . . . I just won’t sell the items I make, . . . just my patterns and my methods of creating them.

With no pressure of creating something cheap enough and attractive enough for other people, I can design whatever I want to make.  And, I will write the tutorials in a way that other people can adapt the methods I use to create something more affordable/sell-able . . .

As for the other other project I plan to start . . . I will talk about it some other time (-:

Now, let’s move onto my next topic: One of the three fashion shoots I did last month.

corona del mar private beach

A super gorgeous location, isn’t it? The MUA I collaborated with knows someone who has the key to enter this private beach in Corona del Mar (in Orange County, California). I took this photo using my iPhone and did nothing to enhance the photo at all.

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And here are some behind-the scenes snapshots I also took using my iPhone

corona del mar private beach shoot

Model: Ashley B @ Sirena Models

For the first time in many years, I made a top from scratch . . . I made the pattern, cut the fabric, and hand-stitched everything in (approximately) 12-working-hours . . . I can see that I’ll make more clothes for more photoshoots in the future.

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This is the same top the model wore in the shoot. It’s a one-size-fits-most 1960s-Balenciaga-inspired piece. The spiky nail jewelry and the beadwork ring is also made by me (-:

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I also try to move on from making flower-shaped accessories. It was harder than it seems.

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There was 6 different looks in total, and – with careful planning – we managed to wrap the shoot within 4 hours.

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Model: Ashley B @ Sirena Models

All in all, it was an amazing day . . .

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Next Week: If you love doing beadwork and embroidery projects, I’ll have some fun and sparkly d.i.y tutorials & patterns to share with you. There are 3 tutorials in total; but I will release them one at a time (-:

Till next time!

-joyce/Miu Vermillion

(Oh, by the way, I’m an Amazon Associate. So, if you click the pictures of the books I on the right side of this text, and decide to purchase any one of those books, I’ll be getting a 6% commission. I’m not paid by anyone to recommend anything and do not recommend things for the sake of getting a 6% commission).

Any ad that might show up below this line is not endorsed by me.

The Unpredictability of Life … The Importance of Having Back-Up Plans … Networking … and Keeping One’s Words

me2This post might sound a little cryptic . . .
But, it’s my believe that we should never use social media to badmouth anyone.

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.

Alexis Farmer Photo Shoot Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade behind the scenes

Model: Alexis Farmer
Photographer: Efren Beltran

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:

  1. It’s always better to conduct business/collaboration/negotiation via e-mail. It’s always good to have written records of the things we discuss. It will also come in handy when the people we work with forgot about the things they promised/planned/claimed/etc. Just refer to the relevant e-mails and there you have your valid/irrefutable evidence. Plus: We can also use the written records (a.k.a. e-mails) to refresh our memories.
  2. Never work with people who aren’t good at reading your e-mails carefully.
  3. Never collaborate with someone who isn’t good at returning your e-mails.
  4. Never collaborate with someone whose working ethics are not compatible with yours.
  5. It’s good to be know people who know a lot of people in your industry and the industries that complement your industry.
  6. Anticipate possible problems and be ready for them. e.g. I learned from previous shoots that I should bring wipes, glue gun, jewelry-making tools, and sewing kit to photo shoots.
  7. If you have a niggling feeling that a certain collaboration isn’t going to work, it’s usually true. Malcolm Gladwell can explain it better than I do.
  8. Big companies aren’t the most reliable companies. Especially if they are much bigger than yours.
  9. Smaller businesses that are run by ambitious people are much more reliable. They usually are willing to go the extra mile.

I’m getting ready for two more editorials shoots.

So, I won’t be able to blog on a regular basis. But, I upload pictures that can give you glimpses of my currently insanely busy life. You can see them on Instagram or my Tumblr photo blog :)

-joyce @ Angelica Brigade

Unbelievably busy weeks

Hey guys

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).

To learn about my current projects, please follow me on Tumblr (http://angelica-brigade.tumblr.com) and/or Instagram (http://www.instagram.com/AngelicaBrigade)

red rose crown

angelica brigade joyce miu vermillion angelicabrigade handmade chainmaille bracelet lanvin ring swarovski crystals fancy stone

ditz designs for z gallerie silver fox

:)

-j @ Angelica Brigade

Purpose, Reasons, and Doubts … My Life as an Independent Designer

The world isn’t very kind to most newcomers
Especially new independent designers with no extraordinarily important friends …

Am I sounding a little morose?

Well, I’m not my usual peppy self this week

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Me and one of my recent works

I’ve been trying to organize this other collaborative high-fashion photo shoot …

Apparently, hiring fashion models (even the “new faces” ) is not an easy feat.

Well, I do want to hire models who can pose well, can pull off avant garde outfits, and make the pieces look great …

The way I see it … 75% of the success of a high-fashion photo shoot depends on the models we work with.

High-fashion shoot is much more than looking pretty. It’s also much more than convincing people to buy things.

High-fashion models need to convey the concept / story / theme of a photo shoot. They also need to do poses most people don’t consider conventionally beautiful.

And since I’m going to spend hundreds of hours creating the accessories and jewelry for the shoot, borrowing designer clothes, and working with this amazing hair stylist I’m a big fan of … I don’t want to botch things by hiring the people who are not able to present the results of all of those hard work.

(An excellent example of a successful high-fashion photo shoot)
Photographer: Amberly Valentine

All in all, it’s been a busy but not so productive week …

I believe in my ability to design and create couture jewelry and accessories …

But, those are the things most people don’t consider to purchase in this kind of economy …

There are times when I ask myself whether I should consider another career …

But, I’m not the type to give up easily. I will have to work smarter, get to know more people, and things like that …

But, again, there are times when I wonder whether my refusal to give up is not a wise decision …

angelica brigade work in progress angelicabrigade beadwork jewelry accessories jewellery joyce katuari

My current work-in-progress

I’ve never said this in any social media before … may be because it sounds like a lofty goal … but, this, is one of the main reasons I refuse to give up:

Do you know that Angelica Brigade is an acronym for AvaNt GardE Luxurious Inventions by Collaborative Artists Brigade?

From the get go, I always want Angelica Brigade to become a launchpad for talented new artists, musicians, and designers.

I’ve seen so many talents gone to waste … It makes me sad.

There are numerous stories behind it, but I’m going to have to share some of those stories some other time.

But, can you imagine how much more beautiful the world can be if more talented people can get enough chances to share their gifts with the rest of the world?

Have a wonderful weekend, you guys!!!

-joyce

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

Sculptural Jewelry, Contemporary Beadwork, and Jewelry Making

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I’ve been obsessed with learning to create sculptural beadwork jewelry.

Ever since I received my copy of Kate McKinnon‘s Contemporary Geometric Beadwork, I’ve been spending most of my free time learning the basic principles taught in the book and adapting them so I can create my own designs.

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Here’s an example:

I started by learning to create the triangular ring you can see on my index finger. Then, using the principles I learned by creating the simple ring, I created a more dramatic ring you can see on my ring ringer.

I also went a step further . . .

To make the ring extra shiny and rock-solid, I decided to glaze the ring

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After that, using the same basic (but modified) principle and using different kinds of beads, I ended up creating this bracelet.

I’m still not 100% happy with it. So, I’m going to spend some time improving it.

You can see my behind the scene and work-in-progress pictures in my Instagram or my Tumblr photo blog.

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Anyway, when I was trying to finish making this bracelet, I could see the possibility of making mini top hats & tricorne hats using these same methods.  It’s gonna be a few months before I can create a decent beadwork hat; but, I’m so excited.

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Next Saturday: New Directions, New Designs, and Updated Classics.

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Have an awesome weekend, guys!!!

-joyce of Angelica Brigade

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

Self-Audit, the Need to Re-focus, and Changes of Plans

I rarely do any non-cerebral labor intensive things (such as cleaning, beading, and chainmailling) without listening to a good audiobook.

But . . . a few days ago, I did . . .

And, it’s something I should’ve done more often!!!

So . . . as I was working on a very labor intensive beading project (I’ll write more about it in the weekend) . . . I let my mind to roam . . .

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And . . . as a result . . . I realized how off-tracked I’ve been . . .

I’ve been so busy doing many, many, many, MANY things . . . meeting work deadlines, creating custom headpieces, fulfilling my obligations, accomplishing my personal goals . . . that . . . I didn’t notice that I’ve been off the mark.

I decided to blog regularly so my clients, prospective clients, and fellow designers can get to know me better. (I wouldn’t trust any random independent designer I don’t know and neither should anyone).

While the things I’ve been posting week after week are the results of my musings . . . they don’t tell anyone much things about me a person or as a designer. And so . . . I think, it’s the right time for me to write different kinds of blog posts.

So, I decided to cancel this weekend’s scheduled post and replace it with something more relevant . . . . .

I need to go back to work now . . . I need to finish this piece within 24 hours. I’m o excited about this new design and will write more about it this Saturday.

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Till then~

(In the meantime, if you want to, you can track my progress by looking me up on Instagram ( my user name is, predictably, AngelicaBrigade ) or my Tumblr photo blog.

-joyce

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