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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

 

Armored External Hard Drive, Recent Editorial Photo Shoot, Custom Made Designs, and Behind The Scene Photos

It has been an extremely busy couple of months!!!

I was in New York for a bit to join Miss Aniela‘s Fashion Shoot Experience . . .

Then, I spent most of my time creating clothing, jewelry, and accessories for editorial photo shoots I personally arranged, styled, and lensed . . . and, wrote a few articles for Beautiful Bizarre Magazine.

I also created a few headpieces for Lindsay Adler‘s Kelby Training and Dream Shoot Rentals

angelica brigade miu vermillion work in progress sewing clothes handmade

Yes, I make clothing, too . . . Here is a work-in-progress picture I shared on Instagram a few weeks ago

Behind The Scenes - Photo Shoot - Miu Vermillion (designer, stylist, and photographer) + Nami Hasegawa (hair stylist and makeup artist) + Regina Schnitzer (model)

[Behind the Scenes] Nami Hasegawa and Regina @ Aston Models

Lindsay Adler fashion editorial photo shoot - behind the scenes photo - headpiece by Angelica Brigade

[Behind the Scenes] Lindsay Adler‘s recent editorial photo shoot, feat. Angelica Brigade’s Geomatric Headpiece. Available for rent via Dream Shoot Rentals

[Behind the Scenes] Lindsay Adler for Kelby Training, featuring a custom made headpiece I created just for this class

[Behind the Scenes] Lindsay Adler for Kelby Training, featuring a custom made headpiece I created just for this class

I shot more than a thousand photographs and retouched a few dozens of them. Soon enough, my computer is running out of disk space.

I am not great at handling fragile things . . . and so, I like everything I own to be sturdy, and if possible, armored . . .

I guess, this 2 Terabytes Rugged Armor Military Shockproof External Hardware is perfect for me, LOL!

I really like the hot pink padded hard case as well

Last week, I spent the bulk of my time editing the photos I shot in the past months . . . I’m planning to submit them to various independent magazines.

The photos I recently shot look much more elaborate than the ones I’ve shot in the past. I collaborated with numerous people who love what they do and great at doing what they love. I’m looking forward to share them with all of you very soon (-:

miu vermillion - angelica brigade blog - little things magazine - photoblog - mook - kinokuniya - muchacha achachum

On my desk: Little Things Magazine and Muchacha Achachum Time Capsule book . . . And my current work-in-progress

 

This post might contain affiliate links; but, I’m not paid by anyone to write about their products. All opinions you read in this blog is 100% mine.
 
Any ad that might show up below this line is not endorsed by me and/or Angelica Brigade

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

Making Mistakes: Learning What Works and Doesn’t Work – It’s a Matter of Perspective

Even so, it can be a little disheartening

Looking at all the materials I can’t re-use but not ready to throw away . . .

I really need to remind myself – time and again – that, at least, I now know what doesn’t work and what I should do next time

That’s how I learn to create every headpiece & jewelry I make . . . through trial and error . . .

True, I graduated from FIDM (Fashion Institute of Designs and Merchandising) . . . but as a merchandise/product development major . . . So, I never got any formal training in millinery and jewelry-making.

But, I have no intention of getting any formal training in hat-making and jewelry-making . . . Because it’s the main reason my designs don’t look exactly like other designers’ . . .  (Which, I believe, is a good thing)

(-:

And so, I’ll be making more and more mistakes and try my best to learn from those mistakes.

I hope, next week I can share my new designs . . . This week, unfortunately, I can’t produce anything worth sharing.

I spent the bulk of my time reproducing a few of my designs for Dream Shoot Rentals. (Check the link out to see pictures of amazing designs by various fantastic independent designers).

millinery grossgrain ribbon rose

I’m happy to say that this one looks a lot better than the original.

The original piece was a result of my experiment. It was the very first time I created that type of headpiece. So, it’s only natural that this one looks a lot better than the prototype (below).

headpiece by angelica brigade

I’ll be making a few more headpieces for Dream Shoot Rentals. You can expect to see real-time updates of my progress on Instagram or Facebook.

Till next week (-:

– 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

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.

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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

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 . . .

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(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

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Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Magazine – http://www.weddingstylemagazine.com/hollywood-nouveau
Behind the scenes photos are available here

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

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

Independent Designers + Social Media

Do you want to know that a total stranger is planning to go to a grocery store to buy some paper towels, grab a burger for lunch, clean his or her house, and watch tv?

Well, I don’t.

Do you like reading about things you aren’t interested about?

Of course not, right?! 

I started blogging because many books and articles written for independent designers and handmade artists say that it’s something people like me should do . . . because it’s a good way for our future customers to get to know us, and because it’s important for us to develop an online presence.

The books and articles also say that we should blog about simple, happy, lighthearted stuffs . . . and, for every post we write about our designs, we should write 4 articles about things that aren’t related to our designs . . .

Like most people, I have more than one hobby/interest . . . but; I’m not sure that many people are interested in all of the things I’m interested in. Some people who follow my blog upon reading my posts about 3D printing might not care about the other topics I write about (e.g. beading, chainmaille jewelry-making, or social-media marketing for a handmade sellers).

Those posts can tell you a lot about me and how I handle things; but, if those articles aren’t relevant to you, you wouldn’t want to read it. And I won’t blame you.

A lot of business articles also mention that – to increase the traffic to our blogs &/or websites –  we should:

  • Write thoughtful comments on other people’s blogs
  • Post one picture on Instagram per 3 or 4 hours
  • Write one pithy comment or re-tweet an interesting thing on Twitter per several hours, and
  • Post or share something interesting on our Facebook Page a few times a day as well.

After a while it starts to feel like a the popularity game . . .

Finding interesting things to share on social media, writing thoughtful and interesting comments, and hunting for things we can photograph and share on Instagram might make us so busy that we forget that we aren’t doing of those things just to get more “likes” and “shares” . . . and, lots of “likes” and “shares” do not always lead to more sales . . . and the people who “like” and “share” our photos might never become our customers because the things we offer are not relevant to their lives. Some people might like our pictures and like us as a person, but they might never need the pieces or artwork we create . . .

I’m not saying that we don’t need to develop and maintain our online presences . . .
I’m just saying that we should never forget the main reason we blog and share pictures & links on social media
And, that what we share on social media matter.

I don’t follow very many people on Instagram.
As a matter of fact, I don’t follow my favorite artists’ Instagram feed . . .
The only people I follow on Instagram are my friends and a handful artists whose posts never fail to inspire me.

Why?

If I do follow hundreds of people on Instagram, I might never see some Instagram feeds I really want to see because I will need to spot them while scrolling through numerous pictures of food, sky, coffee cups, etc .

I’m not very interested in what my favorite artists have for breakfast/lunch/dinner. However, I’d love to see their working methods/processes, their studios, their current and upcoming projects, the things they do to increase their skills, and may be just a few glimpses of their daily lives.

There are some artists who do not post 4 other things per 1 post they write about their own works . . .
Do I follow their blogs and Instagram feed?
Absolutely!!!

If I’m a big fan of their works, I’d love to learn more about their works . . .
(And see their other works)

How about artists who post numerous pictures of their pets, and random stuffs and just a handful photos of their works?
Usually, I just Google them or visit their Instagram feed every once in a while . . .

How about you?

-joyce

Feathers, Couture Accessories, and Vacuum Cleaner,

Making feathers accessories is a messy and wasteful process. Especially when I’m making this type of feather flower. I can only use the upper part of the feathers because the thicker lower part of the feathers aren’t very bendable. As a result, I have to toss 2/3 of the feathers away.
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I also need to toss the imperfect feathers away. I buy my feathers from the best feathers suppliers I know. Most (98%) of their feathers are in perfect condition. But, some of them have irregular shapes. And so, I can’t use them to make this feathers flower as well. But, I don’t toss them because I can trim them and use them to make other kinds of accessories.

Whenever I’m creating feathers accessories, my workspace looks as if it’s attacked by Suigintou, a Rozen Maiden manga (and anime) character. Why? Because the trimmed excess feathers will fly around everywhere . . .
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I need to thank Dyson for creating this handheld vacuum cleaner. It’s been a huge help in keeping my workspace clean.
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Angelica Brigade‘s Joyce

The Suigintou and Dyson Vacuum Cleaner images seen in this blog post are not mine. If you own the rights to these images and prefer not to see them on this blog post, please let me know. I'll be happy to replace them for you.

Realization, Perseverance, Inventiveness, and Progress

Here are a few things I learned (and re-learned/re-discovered) this week . . .

1.
After 3 weeks of low productivity (in terms of coming up with new designs) . . .
I figured out that I should never go against my natural tendencies & preferences.

  • In my efforts to grow my business (by doing market research, and by creating products that might sell well)
  • Because I thought that as a person who custom-design couture accessories & jewelry for my clients; I should be able to create whatever things my clients want
  • In my attempts to challenge myself and to avoid creative rut, (by learning to create pieces that look different from my usual designs)
  • And because I’d been too harried to evaluate things

I got sidetracked

I ended up creating a few pieces I don’t love . . .
What a waste of time, energy. and resources . . .

Finally, when I had no more energy to make more and more things (which I might not like anyway) . . .
I got that badly needed chance to evaluate my performance & (lack of) progress . . .

I love sleek, minimalistic, well-constructed, geometric, and textured designs . . .
(things with clean, non-fussy lines) . . . and thus, should focus on designing such pieces.
Forcing myself to create ornate, colorful things with organic lines will only lead me to failures and disappointments.

2.
I’m happy to say that I finally heard from some of the modelling agencies I contacted.
I’m organizing 3 different editorial shoots and it had not been easy (you can read more about it here).

Here are some of the principles I live by:

  • Be inventive. If necessary, use (legal) unorthodox method.
    If you can’t enter through the door, try to enter from the roof (Mark 2: 1-5) . . . or dig a tunnel . . . or whatever legal method you think might work.
  • Be persistent. Read this story and you might know what I’m talking about >>> Luke 18:1-5

I’m not a Bible thumper,
And, some people might think I don’t interpret those passages carefully/methodically/etc.
But, I can’t ignore the wisdom of what those men and that widow did . . .

Have an awesome weekend!!!

-joyce @ 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

Improvisation

angelicabrigade_beadweaving_dimensional-hex-bangle

Some people might think that I am wearing 2 pieces of bracelets . . .

But . . .

angelicabrigade_beadweaving_dimensional-hex-bangle front

These two parts of the bracelet are actually connected.

The chunky strap of beads (the one with the toggle clap) functions as the bangle’s wrist harness. Its main function is to prevent the bangle from falling from my wrist . . . or worse,  launching itself and hitting unsuspecting people.

It’s the very first beadwork bangle I’ve ever created. So, I decided to refer to several sources so I can size the bangle correctly. But, because I’m extremely small boned (not skinny, just small boned), the bangle kept on falling from my wrist.

It actually hit my friend’s head. Twice. In a public space.

But, I spent more than a 20 hours creating it. I don’t want to throw it away. I was going to give it to a one of my friends or family members; but, it’s too small for them.

So . . . I decided that the only way I can make the bracelet more wearable is by attaching a strap or wrist harness onto it.

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

angelicabrigade_beadweaving_dimensional-hex-bangle_workinprogess5

I started by making thin beadwork strap using the same beads I made the bangle with . . . but, to me, the smaller strap looked disproportionately small . . . So, I decided to replace the smaller strap and made a much larger one.

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This beadwork bracelet is basically a modified and enlarged version of the rings I created last week. I just give the beadwork some extra edges & make it more asymmetrical.

angelicabrigade_beadweaving_dimensional-hex-bangle_workinprogess4

Somehow, the piece makes me think of dinosaurs and old tree barks . . .

Anyway . . . I’ve been learning to create more and more shapes . . .

Love these dimensional triangles . . .

angelicabrigade_beadweaving_workinprogess

One of them is actually flat. It was my first try. I did better the 2nd and 3rd time.

—————————————————–

Next week:

There is a possibility that I’m going to write two different blog posts next week.

One of them has something to do with this video about Etsy:

I’m going to think things through before I say anything further.

If you have any input, additional information, or comment about this topic, please feel free to let me know. You can do so by writing a comment on this post or message me via my company’s Facebook Page.

Till then (:

-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.

angelicabrigade_beadwork_work-in-progress_the-serenity-prayer-of-the-imperfect-beauty_or_sephie-beau_blog_005

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

How to Make the Best of Out Skills & Maximizing Our Happiness

The seemingly simple (and trite, and unhelpful) answer is:
We should spend the bulk of our times doing the things we love to do.

I’m not saying that we should spend the bulk of our times doing some things that are related to the fields or activities we are interested in. Instead, we should take that principle one step further.

First, ask yourself this seemingly unimaginative question: If you can do anything you want & make a good living out of it, what would you choose to do?

Next, this is the more important question: Why? What do you like about like it?

Many of us will never become Olympic Athletes / famous writers / pop stars / leading actors / international models / etc. But, it doesn’t mean that we have to get stuck doing the things we don’t like so we can pay our bills.

Someone who loves to play tennis might never become a world class tennis player. Some people might encourage her to become a coach or work for a sporting goods company. But, those solutions might not be the best ones for her. She might love tennis because she loves being active.  She might also love the challenge and the adrenaline rush she gets when she faces her opponent. So, if (after giving her best shot) she’s not able to become a pro tennis player; then, it’s in her best interest to find a challenging job that can give her plenty adrenaline rush. There are a wide range of options she can choose from, such as:

  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • War zone photographer
  • Wedding planner
  • Bail bond agent
  • ADHD kids’ babysitter
  • etc.

Besides, she still can play tennis on her spare time . . .

Someone who wants to become a famous rock star, on the other hand, might want to become a rock star because he loves being in the spotlight . . . they love the fame, the money, the booze, the girls . . . Booze and girls are not on a rock star’s job description . . . so, if those are the kinds of things he wants, he might fare better if he:

  • DJ on the weekends (girls, booze, some degree of fame)
  • Opens a nightclub
  • Becomes an Alcohol Promoter, or
  • Becomes an Auto Show Organizer
  • etc.

Or, he can use his skills to get rich in some other ways . . . Gold diggers & alcohol can be a part of the deal

There’s a solution for everyone. Just focus on your real wish and find the best way for you to achieve it

  • What does it (doing the things we love) to do with finding finding happiness?
  • People should not define themselves by their jobs. A job should be a mean to an end.
  • If someone wants to stay at home with their children she should feel free to do it.

Well …

Most people spend the bulk of their times at work (or school). People who hate their jobs (or studies) aren’t very happy, are they?

Besides, I’d never said that we should find a job that fulfill us did I? I merely said that we should spend most of our times doing the things we like . . . if raising & supervising a child if something someone loves to do; then, by any means she should do it . . .

angelicabrigade angelicabrigade bead embroidery beading handmade accessories beadwork seed beads handmade jewelry headpiece beaded 1920s inspired demi couture

I on the other hand, love to create things with my hands. There are times when I work 15 hour days to meet some deadlines; but, I welcome such long days anytime. In fact, I’ve been working long hours these days because I’m getting some pieces ready for an upcoming photo shoot (8 different outfits for 2 different models).

When we enjoy what we are doing, more is just more.

~0o0~

So, that’s it?! If we do the things we love then we’ll definitely be happy?

No … You can read more about it here

—————————————–

Next Saturday:  Common Sense is a Trap

—————————————–

Have a great weekend :)

Previews + Updates

I finally got a chance to photograph all the pieces I recently made.

I’m gonna have to select & then edit the pictures (to make sure the colors seen in the pics are as similar to the real items as possible).

Here are some more previews of the things I plan to list on my Etsy shop. Sorry for cropping them & making them extra blurry. That way, when the official color-corrected pictures are up, you’ll like the final results more :D

angelica brigade handmade bracelets chainmaille bracelet brass jewelry jewellery

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

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

And this is my very first proper hatinator / cocktail hat

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

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

And these are Art Nouveau inspired hair clips. They are made out of silk shantung.

It might be a while before I can list them on my Etsy shop. After all, there are a few more custom orders I need to fill & brand new pieces (for two upcoming photo shoots) I need to create. And so, there are many samples of my new designs (which I call first-pieces) I need to create by the end of this week.

It usually takes me twice (and some times three times) longer to create first-pieces. Sometimes, things that look good on my sketch pad don’t look as good in real life. And so, I will need to re-size, replace, add, or reduce some parts of those first-pieces. At the same time, I also need to figure out the best way to construct each piece to make sure that they will are easy to wear, durable, & drape the way I want. It’s gonna be another hectic & sleepless week~

~0o0~

Anyway, have a great week, you guys! I’ll try to post some more new things this Wednesday.

In the meantime, you guys can check some other sneak peeks of several other pieces that I recently made on Angelica Brigade’s Facebook page & Tumblr. I don’t upload the same pictures on each site anymore~ So, if you want to see them, you’ll probably want to check each site.

Till then,

– joyce of AngelicaBrigade

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