Some of you might have guessed it~
This is the third design I submitted to Fire Mountain Gem‘ Seed Bead Contest.
I designed this as an alternative to a bridal bouquet for a stylized bridal magazine photoshoot.
Unlike the other two designs I submitted to the contest (this one and this one), the inspiration/concept behind this oversized handheld fan is a purely visual one . . . namely, the glitz and glamor projected by 1920s Hollywood actresses and my dream of being surrounded by ornately beautiful and opulent heirlooms.
The people I collaborated with told me they wanted to do a 1920s-and-1930s-Hollywood-inspired photoshoot. When I was doing my design research, I came across this these vintage photographs of famous dancers in the era.
Captivating, aren’t they?
Self-assured without a hint of self consciousness . . . demure yet provocative . . . haughty, naughty, and elegant . . .
And . . . how luxurious & opulent those fans are!!!! I really want to own one for myself . . . I could easily purchase a ready-made fan from a burlesque shop and use it as a prop; but, I’m not a big fan of plastic fan staves . . . plus, it wouldn’t look right as an alternative to a bridal bouquet.
Not just that, I want my fan very fluffy. I actually use more than 3 dozens of ostrich plumes to create this fan.
(By the way, I created more than 1 fan for the shoot. The other fan is a lot bigger than this one. I needed about a pound (0.45 kg) of ostrich plumes to create the other one. The fan’s no longer mine; so, I’ll have to wait for the editorial pictures to be published before I can share its photographs with you)
Everything’s made from scratch.
To make the fan’s handle looks extra sparkly, I used silver-plated beads, gold-plated beads, white beads with rainbow-effect coating, and fire-polished beads.
I also added those dangling beads to make the fan looks interesting. They also create vertical lines that – I believe – can make the person who holds it looks slimmer.
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Anyway . . .
I prefer my jewelry-making tutorials to come in digital format. So the bonus e-book is perfect for me. In fact, the bonus e-book is the main reason I pre-ordered the 2nd volume of the book :D
I love the book’s geometric and architectural beadwork tutorials. The designs are gorgeous, and the instructions are easy to follow. And, since it’s in a digital format, whenever I need to look at a certain detail more closely, I can simple zoom in/enlarge the image.
Here is the result of my very first attempt to learn to create one of the designs.
I’ll make better ones later this weekend and will blog about them next week.
-joyz of AngelicaBrigade
Here is the second beaded piece I entered to Fire Mountain Gem‘s Seed Beads Contest.
Actually, I created the piece for an editorial photo shoot. [ You can read more about it here ]
It is inspired by the glamorous accessories people wore in 1920s in general . . . and Daisy Buchanan (of the Great Gatsby) in particular.
I call this (stylized) leaf-shaped hair adornment Ceaseless Ardor . . .
It embodies Jay Gatsby’s eternally unrequited infatuation towards Daisy Buchanan . . . Many years has gone by, but his idolization remains strong and unchanging. Whenever I reflect upon that aspect of the tragic story, the word evergreen pops up in my mind.
Evergreen . . .
That’s how Jay Gatsby sees her
Eternally beautiful, graceful, and glamorous.
Evergreen . . .
That’s what she will always be remembered as
The object of Jay Gatsby’s eternal adoration.
And . . .
That’s the how Jay Gatsby’s feeling towards her will remain . . .
Everlasting . . . undying . . . amaranthine . . .
And, so . . . when I was asked to create a Great-Gatsby-inspired bridal accessory, I couldn’t find a better design to represent Daisy Buchanan than an evergreen-leaf.
Plus, I believe that this is a headpiece Daisy herself would’ve wanted (or considered) to wear.
I also made the headpiece as sparkly and opulent as I possibly could. To do it, I used nothing but sterling silver beads, silver-lined bugle beads, gleaming Swarovski crystal pearls, extremely shiny fire polished beads, and 24k gold plated beads to embellish the piece.
With that basic idea in mind, this is how I created the headpiece.
It’s important to make sure that the piece will look nice when someone’s wearing it . . . and that it’s neither too small or too large
Using beads, I “drew” the outline of the design.
I call this step “drawing with beads” . . .
Covering the beading foundation with beads . . . making sure that the beading foundation is completely covered, and that the yarn doesn’t show up at all.
I have a thing for dimensional and textured beadworks. So, I used different kinds of beads in several different sizes to create the effect.
I call this step “coloring and shading the design” . . .
Blocking (or shaping) the headpiece usinga traditional millinery hatblock.
That way, it will perch beautifully on top of the wearer’s hair.
See how it curves?
Heat-treating the edges of the ultrasuede so none of its parts will unravel.
I basically melted the edges of the ultrasuede with candle flame.
Beading the edges of the beadwork and the ultrasuede to connect those two parts into one seamless piece.
Creating the straps/headbands
Yep . . . this part isn’t made using a pre-made chain . . . it’s constructed one link at a time . . .
Phew . . . what a long post!
I guess I better show you the third piece I entered into the contest – and its design process – another time :O
Next Saturday: The third design I entered into Fire Mountain Gem’s Seed Beads contest
Want to see what I’m making right now? Find me on Instagram. My user name is AngelicaBrigade.
You can also see my current work in progress and other behind-the-scenes activities here.
Have a wonderful weekend, you guys!!!
-joyce of Angelica Brigade
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Update (1/13/2014): You can find the list of all of the materials I used to create the headpiece here
Any ad that might show up below this line is not endorsed by me &/or Angelica Brigade
I still take all the photographs using my iPhone 4,
Use natural sunlight
Rely on my one & only $100 plastic mannequin to model my pieces
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So many people (even some fellow Etsy sellers) asked me where I got my mannequins …
(They seem to think that I own more than one mannequin)
I actually got my mannequin from a liquidated store.
This is how “she” used to look like:
I used COPIC Markers (not in these exact colors) to contour her cheeks and to make her eye makeup more dramatic
Because the markers are alcohol-based, I used alcohol swabs to blend the colors and to erase some mistakes (hey, it was my first attempt after all)
Then, I glued 3 layers of false eyelashes on “her” top eyelids …
Since wigs can look very plastic, shiny, & fake on photographs, I powdered the wigs I bought for my mannequin with talcum powder. And to make the wigs look more natural, I made them look less perfect by brushing them [not-so-gently] with my synthetic circle hair brush.
Some of the synthetic hair broke & got stuck on the brush, but the acquired imperfections cause the wigs to look much more like humans’ hair.
See … there’s nothing good make-up & good haircut cannot fix.
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Now … let’s talk about the photographing process
I took most of my product pictures against a white 3 and 1/2 feet (or approx. 1 meter) wall behind my house.
Most of the time, I only use her torso, arms, & head and keep her lower limb in my garage.
I like to take the pictures when the sun is shines quite brightly (but not too brightly) & when the sunlight falls at an angle. I usually do a light check using my iPhone 4’s screen. If the sunlight doesn’t cast too much shadow & if the colors of my mannequin & my handmade items are not too distorted, then I know that it’s a good time for me to take the photographs.
>>> The key is to ignore what’s right in front of you & focus only on the image you seen on your iPhone’s screen. If you use a digital camera, rely on your digital camera’s screen or viewfinder instead <<<
Then, use the screen to find the mannequin’s best angles. Ignore the mannequin itself, and only look at the screen and keep on moving till I find good angles to shoot the mannequin from.
To take this type of photograph, I lay a white foam board on the ground, at the spots where I get adequate sunlight. I use my iPhone’s screen to find the best spots & the best times to take the photographs (again, not too much shadow, no significant color distortion you can’t fix with simple photo-editing software)
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To take this picture, I laid a foam board on top of a small table, & pose my mannequin on top of them.
And, to take this picture, I laid a faux-fur throw on top of the same table.
Then, I moved my iPhone around till I find great angles to take the pictures from.
Once I arranged the mannequin on top of the table, I did not look at it (not even once!) and when I fix her hair or re-arrange the mannequin, I also rely on my iPhone’s screen to show me how I should do them.
So, what do you think? Wanna give it a try?
If you have any question, please feel free to leave me a comment :)
Update 04/17/2016: I no longer sell my pieces via Etsy
This is actually a set of three silk floral clips:
I decided not to bond them onto one single hat frame because:
1. If I bond them onto a hat frame, the floral headpiece will look really stiff. I want the flowers to drape softly on top of the wearer’s hair. If I insist on I bonding all the three pieces on top of one single base or hat frame, I will need to mold and custom fit the hat frame to match the wearer’s head. If the wearer wants to wear this with her hair up, the hat base will need to be modified. And if the wearer changes her mind and wants to wear this with her hair down, she won’t be able to do it because there will be a big gaping space between the flowers and her hair.
2. I want the wearer to feel comfortable wearing the headpiece. I want her to be able to roam free, dance, even perhaps jump and run around if she wants to. She won’t feel very comfortable if she feels that her hair fascinator/headpiece is tugging on her hair … she can’t have a great time if she fears that her headpiece is going to slide off of her hair. Elastic band can loose its elasticity or even break. And personally, I don’t really like to wear Alice Band / headband either because it gives me a headache. Plus, it tends to slide off of my head. So —> I decided to device this multiple-clips system . It distribute the weight of the headpiece to different parts of the hair. And since these pieces are so featherweight, you won’t really feel like you are wearing them.
For more details about this piece, please visit this link >>> https://www.etsy.com/listing/103962253/
If you have any question, please feel free to contact me at angelicabrigade [ a t ] g m a i l . c o m
Or you can send me a Facebook message. My Facebook page’s address is http://www.facebook.com/AngelicaBrigade
But if you have a quick question and want a rapid answer, you can contact me via Twitter ( http://www.twitter.com/#!/AngelicaBrigade )
Style name: Emme. Original design by joyz*k from Angelica Brigade.
– The base’s diameter: Approx. 5″ (12.75 cm)
– Overall height: Approx. 2.5″ (6.5 cm)
– The roses’ diameter: Approx. 2″ (5 cm)
– The flower’s height: Approx. 1.5″ (3.75 cm) tall.
– The braided embellishment’s longest point: Approx. 1.5″ (4 cm) away from the flower.
– The Swarovski Nautilus Fancy Stone: 1 1/8″ x 1″ (3 cm x 2.6 cm)
Materials: Italian silk organza, Swarovski Nautilus Fancy Stone (4196) in Light Colorado Topaz color, die-cut felt base, and alligator clip.