To be outstanding, one needs to be different
And to be different, one needs to embrace his/her uniqueness
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 . . .
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 . . .
But, what if people don’t want to buy our works?
All of us need to make a living.
So, what should we do?
I don’t claim to know all the answers
But, I know for sure that in order to succeed, we need to be memorable
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
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
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
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).
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[from my Instagram photo blog]
As a person, I’ve finally come full circle. And, for the first time in my life, I feel whole.
I’ll write more about this next Sunday (December 22, 2013), but here’s the short summary:
I came from a family of white-collar workaholics. And, for decades I’ve been dealing with their not-so-positive opinions and reactions about my decision to pursue something they consider manual labor (using my hands to make art . . . and then demi-couture jewelry and accessories). I’ve learned not to care about what they think and say; but, it used to feel like a rebellion. But not anymore. It took many years; but, I’ve made peace with myself, the kind of person I am, and my wishes for the future.
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This upcoming Wednesday (December 18, 2013), I will share my favorite diy tutorials (written by other experts)
Any ad that shows up below this line is not endorsed by me &/or Angelica Brigade
(You can 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.
This time, I decided to make my own headband.
Feel free to reproduce this headband for commercial purposes, BUT:
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
Any ad that shows up below this line is not endorsed by me &/or Angelica Brigade
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 finally got a chance to photograph all the pieces I recently made.
I’m gonna have to select & then edit the pictures (to make sure the colors seen in the pics are as similar to the real items as possible).
Here are some more previews of the things I plan to list on my Etsy shop. Sorry for cropping them & making them extra blurry. That way, when the official color-corrected pictures are up, you’ll like the final results more :D
Simple but dramatic chainmaille bracelets. I’ve been wearing them the moment I finished making them.
And this is my very first proper hatinator / cocktail hat
With hat frame & hat elastic that don’t show up when you wear it.
And these are Art Nouveau inspired hair clips. They are made out of silk shantung.
It might be a while before I can list them on my Etsy shop. After all, there are a few more custom orders I need to fill & brand new pieces (for two upcoming photo shoots) I need to create. And so, there are many samples of my new designs (which I call first-pieces) I need to create by the end of this week.
It usually takes me twice (and some times three times) longer to create first-pieces. Sometimes, things that look good on my sketch pad don’t look as good in real life. And so, I will need to re-size, replace, add, or reduce some parts of those first-pieces. At the same time, I also need to figure out the best way to construct each piece to make sure that they will are easy to wear, durable, & drape the way I want. It’s gonna be another hectic & sleepless week~
Anyway, have a great week, you guys! I’ll try to post some more new things this Wednesday.
In the meantime, you guys can check some other sneak peeks of several other pieces that I recently made on Angelica Brigade’s Facebook page & Tumblr. I don’t upload the same pictures on each site anymore~ So, if you want to see them, you’ll probably want to check each site.
– joyce of AngelicaBrigade
It’s tiny: Only 130 square feet (12 square meter) in size & located a few footsteps away from my living room.
To make the most of it, I asked a local carpenter to create ceiling-high cabinets (in glossy white) so I can make this home office to look clean & organized.
I keep the decor to a minimum:
At the end of each day, I put everything inside of the cabinets to keep them clean & dust-free.
Everything has its own space. It makes it easier for me to find things.
According to the American Demographics Society, Americans waste 9 million hours a day looking for misplaced items.
To me, time is a luxury. And once we waste it, we can never recover it.
I also like to start each of my workday afresh. Plus, it’s easier for me to clean the table when there’s absolutely nothing on top of it.
This is how I make sure that each of my in-stock items are completely dust-free & stay pristine.
I always keep Fire Mountain Gem‘s catalog nearby. It’s an amazing & comprehensive resource I need whenever I am designing a new piece of jewelry.
So, this concludes today’s short tour of Angelica Brigade’s Studio. Thanks for stopping by~
Amazing set of pictures that make my day a lot brighter:
It took me a while to make sure that this headpiece to look good when seen from & worn at many different angles
My method? I constructed the piece on top of a canvas head.
Here’s a high resolution closeup of the headpiece
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 :)
The episode is called “Health Dilemmas Caught on Tape”
More pictures & more information about the show are available in http://www.lacarmina.com/blog/2012/10/the-doctors-tv-show-guest-japanese-bagel-head-body-modification-la-carmina-on-cbs-medical-daytime-tv-show/
You can see my handmade hair accessories @ 3:20 – 4:13
DNR is a Euro-Visual Band from Italy
The music video was filmed in Rome by Solobuio Visual Factory
For behind the scenes pictures, please visit La Carmina‘s blog: www.lacarmina.com/blog/2012/09/dnr-rock-princess-music-video-dreams-not-reality-new-pv-la-carmina-rome-italy-jrock-music/
DNR’s official website: http://www.dnrofficial.com
Solobuio’s official website: http://www.solobuio.com
<3 their music.
Here’s a screenshot that shows one of the scenes where you can see La Carmina wearing my handmade hair flowers:
Me*, one of my pliers**, and one of my designs***
** Eurotool Duck Bill Plier, with its tips covered with Tool Magic
La Carmina wore Angelica Brigade at Dances of Vice – NYC Valentine’s Day ball! Tons of photos on La Carmina Blog. Feel free to Like / Share / Tweet!
~The Broken Doll Mixed-Media Fascinator – available upon request ~
To see more pictures of this item, please visit:
Teardrop-shaped Silk Fascinator Clip in Peacock Blue
Available in http://angelicabrigade.etsy.com
Also seen on Yukiro Dravarious at Houghton New York Fashion Week Afterparty
Check out the full post & photos at La Carmina blog: http://www.lacarmina.com/blog/2012/02/houghton-new-york-fashion-week-afterparty-nyfw-tribeca-grand-parties-meinto-local-designer-clothing-online-store/
Attached onto the Captive Zen Chain Maille Lariat I made & wrote about a while ago in https://angelicabrigade.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/extra-long-chainmaille-lariat/
This is how my original Vespera hair fascinator like
And, this … is how its modified version looks like
***I created the modified version of the hair fascinator for a specific individual in mind … you’ll find out who it is in a few weeks …***
I will upload more pictures of my recent works very soon
In the meantime, to see my ‘portfolio’, please visit my Facebook page : http://www.facebook.com/AngelicaBrigade
And to know what I’m up to:
http://www.twitter.com/AngelicaBrigade (AB related tweets)
http://www.twitter.com/k_joyz (my personal tweets)
original design by joyz*k for Angelica Brigade