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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This piece can also be worn in several different ways.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next Wednesday~

– joyce// Miu Vermillion @ Angelica Brigade

Angelica Brigade for Dream Shoot Rentals – Tasha Reversible Headpiece

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

kokoshnik headpiece / headdress / tiara

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

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

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

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

Till next week, you guys!!!

-joyce @ Angelica Brigade

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

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

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

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

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

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Inspirations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

angelica brigade - making the first sample of the katriona headpiece

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

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

angelica-brigade_demi-couture_bonnet_floral-headpiece_gothic-lolita_victorian_hat_headdress_005

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

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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

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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

DIY Tutorial + FREE Pattern: Beaded and Embroidered Holly Headband

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(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

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

angelica brigade joyce angelicabrigade beadwork hair accessory independent designer handmade artisan hair fascinator headpiece

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.

angelica-brigade_sculptural-geometric-contemporary-avant-garde-metallic-beads-ring_unusual-jewelry_unique-handmade-jewellery_accessories (1)

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

angelica-brigade_sculptural-geometric-contemporary-avant-garde-metallic-beads-ring_unusual-jewelry_unique-handmade-jewellery_accessories (6)

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.

angelica-brigade_handmade-sculptural geometric-avant-garde_bracelet_jewellery-jewelry_accessories_angelicabrigade

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 . . .

angelicabrigade_beadwork_work-in-progress_the-serenity-prayer-of-the-imperfect-beauty_or_sephie-beau_blog_004

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

Important Keys to Success – Part 2

Connection

Knowing – and in good terms with – the people who matter

Some people might not acknowledge this fact, but being friends with many important people in your industry and the industries that are related to your industry can help you to achieve your goal faster and with less pain or trouble.

Sounds unfair?

How about the people who aren’t lucky enough to grow up with or became friends with those important people years ago when they weren’t very important (and thus, much more approachable), etc?

This is the very reason I said that the most important key to success is one’s likeability (as in exuding trustworthiness, reliability, thoughtfulness, and such … and less about sparky personality). Read more about it here.

Good business networks aren’t built overnight.

You can’t just approach random important people and act as if you are friends.

Start small.

Build a good reputation.

Know – and be real friends to – a lot of people in your industry and the industries that are related to your industry.

And, don’t be an opportunistic boot licker as untrustworthiness can instantly ruin your creditability.

Instead, be known as someone who is competent, trustworthy, considerate, and easy-to-work with.

One of them might end up working with a more important person in your industry and if s/he likes and trust you enough, and s/he might introduce and/or recommend you to this person.

S/he might need your expertise and ask for your help. This can give you a chance to shine and demonstrate that you are awesome to work with. People will notice.

People tend to hire someone (e.g. hair stylist, gardener, wedding photographer, etc) who is recommended by the people they trust.

Likewise, companies tend to hire individuals who are recommended by their current trusted employees.

And here’s something some people might overlook … if you work for someone, impressing your customers and other business owners (especially your boss’ rival) can get you far. They might mention you to your boss. They might prefer to do business with you. They might want to hire you. All these will increase your value in your boss’ eyes.

There’s no shortcut.

And, you need to be proactive. You need to get to know more people and constantly strive to become a better version of your self. Become the kind of person they’ll want to know.

Presenting a glowing – but false – front facade isn’t good enough. The moment someone fails to deliver what s/he promised … or, the moment someone’s considered as an untrustworthy person … that’s the beginning of his/her fall.

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Next Saturday: Important Keys to Success, Part 3

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For AngelicaBrigade-related Updates, please visit my Tumblr Photo Blog &/or Instagram

But, here’s something I’ve never done before … hand-painting the edges of fabric strips. But, I welcome all kinds of bespoke orders, as long as the skills needed to complete the order fall within the areas of my expertise.

angelicabrigade-painting-fabric

Anyway,

Have a wonderful weekend.

Till next week, you guys!!!

-joyce of Angelica Brigade

This Week’s Finds: OPI Nail Polish and Japanese Snacks

I LOVE this OPI Liquid Sand nail polish in Stay the Night. I’ve been so into textile-inspired nail lacquers, and this one is one of my favorite nail polishes of all time.

Some people worry that this kind of nail polish doesn’t last very long. But you know what . . . it’s not true!!! I work with my hands & wash my hands plenty of time during the day but my nails looks just fine . . . May be it’s because I put 2 layers of nail proteins before I applied the nail polish onto my nails (I use Nailtiques Formula 2)?

Anyway, I do recommend putting one or two layers of base coats before you wear super glittery & textured nail polishes because some of the glitters will stick onto your nails & they won’t come off easily.

Anyway, this nail polish color looks a lot like lurex fabric I used to create this giant floral clip, no?

opi liquid sand stay the night nail polish nails lacquer manicure lacquer

Anyway  . . .

I also LOVE this limited edition Japanese Snack: Unagi no Kabayaki Giant Pretz ( a.k.a. eel-flavored bread sticks )

Sounds odd, doesn’t it?! But, it ‘s super delicious! It tastes like a very delicious Unagi Donburi. Glico gets it just right. I bought mine at Mitsuwa Marketplace in California … but it might be available in other Japanese grocery shops as well.

Giant Pretz - Unagi Flavor - Limited Edition - Japanese Snack great yummy glico bread stick crackers

In case you are wondering what unagi donburi is  . . . you can read more about it here >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unadon

Image by 663highland via Wikipedia

Image by 663highland via Wikipedia

That’s it for now, guys!!!

Got to edit the AngelicaBrigade website so it’ll be fully renovated by Sunday night (February 17, 2013)

Failure, Perspective, and Resilience

Source: Lifehack

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

or

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

How long will it take you to start over?

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

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

But now, I’m ready to start over.

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

But, some things are going to change.

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

That’s it for now, guys!!!

I will write again in a few days.

Till then,

– joyz*k of AngelicaBrigade

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

Moving towards a different direction: Creating simpler & more wearble pieces

Hey guys,

I listed two new bracelets on my Etsy shop today.

As you’ll see (below), these pieces are a lot simpler than my usual designs (such as this one).

They are also much more wearable in the sense that we can wear it pretty much anytime we want (even on a daily basis) with pretty much anything we want.

 Bold & Chunky Antiqued Brass Chain Maille Bracelet / Cuff by AngelicaBrigade Angelica Brigade Vertebrae Weave Chainmaille jewelry Chainmail Jewellery

angelica-brigade_handmade_accessory_accessories_bracelet_chainmaille-jewelry_chainmail-jewellery_black-gold_art-deco-inspired_paige_004

Timeless, aren’t they? They’ll never look dated, even a few years from now. And yes, they are lovingly-constructed to last for years.

Update (March 12, 2013): These bracelets are no longer available for sale)

My Current Favorites

Statement Necklace Black and Gold - Art Deco Inspired // Lightweight 3-in1 Accessory - Can also be worn as a headband & a chain headpiece

Yes, I made this piece myself. But, if I am unable to make it myself & see it in a shop, I’d purchase the piece in a heartbeat.

Although it’s a piece of a chainmaille jewelry, it doesn’t look like most chainmaille jewelry other people make.

I always chain maille technique to create contemporary-looking pieces that go together with the items I purchase from my favorite shops (such as Revolve Clothing, Saks Fifth Avenue, & Shopbop – I’m listing them alphabetically because I love them equally). I tend also wear the handmade accessories I create together with other designers’ pieces (my current & long time favorites include the timeless & dramatic pieces by Kenneth Jay Lane, Gorjana, House of Harlow 1960, & CC Skye).

You can say that most of my chain maille jewelry look like “mainstream” non-artisan jewelry, but that’s just the way I like it.

angelica brigade handmade circlet handmade headpiece chainmaille jewelry chain maille headband chainmail necklace statement jewellery 007

Let me tell you why I love this piece.

This necklace can complete many kinds of outfits. I’ve been wearing it at many different occasions. I wore it with Theory business suits, with my casual weekend clothes (usually, a black Only Hearts cami, a long cardigan, and either a pair of my favorite jeans, a mini skirt + opaque tights, or a pair of Nike Tempo Shorts), with various little black dresses, & with a simple strapless maxi dress.

In this photo shoot, I paired the necklace with a Jen’s Pirate Booty mini dress (available at Revolve Clothing). I love this piece because I can wear it in many different ways:

  • On the shoulders
  • Off the shoulders [like this]
  • On one- shoulder [see below]
  • Strapless [see above]

You can wear this piece of jewelry in several different ways as well:

  • As a statement necklace
  • As a chain headpiece (the across the forehead kind)
  • As a headband

angelica brigade handmade circlet handmade headpiece chainmaille jewelry chain maille headband chainmail necklace statement jewellery 002s

angelica brigade handmade circlet handmade headpiece chainmaille jewelry chain maille headband chainmail necklace statement jewellery 003s

angelica brigade handmade circlet handmade headpiece chainmaille jewelry chain maille headband chainmail necklace statement jewellery 004s

Like most other pieces of jewelry I create, this 3-in-1 piece is extremely lightweight. Sometimes, I even forget that I’m wearing them.

Anyway, this piece happens to be a part of a “capsule collection” which include:

  • A pair of (lightweight) dangling earrings
  • A coordinating bracelet
  • A cocktail ring
  • Another piece of dramatic necklace

 Lightweight Statement Bracelet in Gold & Black - Art Deco Inspired Chain Maille Jewelry // Unusual Chainmaille Jewellery by Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade via Etsy Handmade

Lightweight & Sculptural Cocktail Ring in Black and Gold - Unusual Fashion Jewelry by Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade handmade chainmaille jewellery chain maille accessories

Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade via Etsy Lightweight Statement Necklace in Gold & Black - Art Deco Inspired Chain Maille Jewelry / Chainmaille Jewellery

Busy Day Outfit

Busy Day Outfit Only Hearts Lace Camisole BCBG Bandage Mini Skirt Riller & Fount Cocoon Cardigan Neon Accents Dior Bag AngelicaBrigade Necklace Angelica Brigade jewelry Statement Chain Maille Jewellery Handmade Chainmaille necklace

Not so trendy, I know . . . but I want to be able to move freely, do whatever I need to do, or even sit on the floor if I need to.

All of them are knitwear & very stretchy.

(All of them are machine-washable as well)

In days like this, I want to concentrate on the things I need to do, and not the things I wear.

tAngelica Brigade handmade statement jewelry chainmaille jewellery chain maille necklace Statement Necklace, Knotted Jewelry Brass Chain Maille in Antique Gold Color

Only Hearts tank top – I buy them by the dozens, especially when I can use good promo codes/coupons.

A good place to find promo codes: http://www.retailmenot.com

~0o0~

Riller & Fount cocoon cardigan – Super comfy & easy to mix-n-match. I bought them (several years ago) from one of my favorite online shops: Revolve Clothing.

~0o0~

BCBG bandage skirt – Machine-washable, available in SO many colors, and much cheaper than Herve Leger (also by Max Azria). I usually buy them in one size too large so I can move freely in them.

~0o0~

Splendid leggings – I bought them many years ago (from my other favorite online shop: Shop LA Style), but they’re still good. I only buy high quality (thus reliable) leggings. Whenever I’m super busy, I =don’t have enough time to inspect them> I don’t want to discover – when it’s too late – that the leggings have some holes on them, etc etc.

~0o0~

Ugg Boots

Ugg Boots – I bought this pair from Zappos in 2005 (7 years ago~). Apart from the discoloration (which I actually like), the boots are still in good condition.

Sometimes, I like to roll the top parts of the boots down. They look cuter this way.

~0o0~

Angelica Brigade Handmade Chainmaille Necklace Brass Statement Necklace by AngelicaBrigade Chain Maille Jewelry Unusual Jewellery by Independent Designer joyz*k

Actually I also wore a bracelet I made using a jewelry-making kit I purchase in Japan a few months ago.

The leopard print thingy you see on my wrist is actually a hair elastic. I bought them from Planet Beauty. It also lasts for years.

As for the statement necklace, it’s made by me and available  in my Etsy shop.

jewelry making kit

Today’s Outfit:

Tomorrow, I probably will wear a very similar outfit . . . an identical tank top, identical leggings, the same boots, a similar skirt (in different color), a similar cardigan, and so on.

Coming soon to my Etsy shop:

Angelica Brigade handmade cocktail ring AngelicaBrigade chainmaille statement jewelry chainmail jewellery chain maille ring

Beaded Bib Necklace

What’s new in my Etsy shop this week

angelica-brigade_handmade_beaded-bib-statement-necklace_collar_001_005 Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade Handmade Statement Necklace Bib Necklace Collar Beaded Swarovski Crystals Swarovski Crystal Pearls Etsy Sample Sale Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade Handmade Statement Necklace Bib Necklace Collar Beaded Swarovski Crystals Swarovski Crystal Pearls Etsy

angelica-brigade_handmade_beaded-bib-statement-necklace_collar_001_01

angelica-brigade_handmade_beaded-bib-statement-necklace_collar_001_002

angelica-brigade_handmade_beaded-bib-statedment-necklace_collar_001_back

angelica-brigade_handmade_beaded-bib-statedment-necklace_collar_001_front

An unusual hand-beaded bib necklace / collar.

Each bead is STITCHED onto the cuff’s base THREE (but sometimes up to five) TIMES to make sure that each bead will stay in place for a many years to come.

Beaded Bib Necklace SAMPLE SALE, Statement Necklace, Beaded Collar – for wedding, photo shoot prop, special occasion

Beaded Bib Necklace SAMPLE SALE, Statement Necklace, Beaded Collar - for wedding, photo shoot prop, special occasion
Beaded Bib Necklace SAMPLE SALE, Statement Necklace, Beaded Collar - for wedding, photo shoot prop, special occasion Beaded Bib Necklace SAMPLE SALE, Statement Necklace, Beaded Collar - for wedding, photo shoot prop, special occasion Beaded Bib Necklace SAMPLE SALE, Statement Necklace, Beaded Collar - for wedding, photo shoot prop, special occasion Beaded Bib Necklace SAMPLE SALE, Statement Necklace, Beaded Collar - for wedding, photo shoot prop, special occasion Beaded Bib Necklace SAMPLE SALE, Statement Necklace, Beaded Collar - for wedding, photo shoot prop, special occasion

An unusual hand-beaded bib necklace / collar.

Very sparkly.

Made with meticulous attention to detail.

Each bead is STITCHED onto the cuff’s base THREE (but sometimes up to five) TIMES to make sure that each bead will stay in place for a many years to come.

Features:
– Rhinestone cabochon
– 1000+ Japanese seed beads (in pink, white, silver, lilac, pale peach, & mint green)
– Gleaming Swarovski crystal pearls
– Swarovski crystals
– Swarovski round beads
– Silver-lined bugle beads
– Italian Tulle closure (in Antique Pink)
– High quality felt

Very sparkly~

Original design by joyz*k of Angelica Brigade.

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