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.
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.
Though I’ve closed my Etsy shop and have been preoccupied with my other endeavors, I never stop creating handmade pieces. These past few months, I’ve been expanding my skill sets, creating numerous hand-stitched dresses, and different kinds of nail ornaments.
Below are some of pieces I created a while ago, made specifically for my fine art photography project that are going to be on view at Beautiful Bizarre currated exhibition at Vanilla Gallery: 『aestheticism～耽美～』.
The curator of the show asked me not to share my completed works before the opening day. So, to give you some idea of what I was working on, I will share some behind-the-scene images and sneak peeks instead.
I created the dress using identical techniques I use when I make silk headpieces . . .
Apparently, I am allergic to the type of feather I used to construct the dress. Although I was wearing a wired surgical mask, I had to take numerous sneezing and coughing breaks which slowed my progress quite significantly.
Because creating the nail ornaments involves numerous messy steps, I didn’t dare to take snapshots of my working process because I don’t want to ruin or stain the surface of my phone and touch screen. May be, someday I will ask someone to photograph the working process for me.
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.
You – or your model – can also wear it as a hat with a half-face mask like this:
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.
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]
Here are the comparisons between the first sample and the current 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.
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.
This piece can also be worn in several different ways.
This one is also the first sample of the design. The current version is also seamless-looking (like the one seen on the 3rd image above this text).
It consists of 7 hand-stitched origami units, and fastened on the back using millinery grosgrain ribbons.
This one retails for $375 (+shipping) apiece.
(If you’d like to place an order, you can contact me via my Facebook Page)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
I haven’t shared anything on Instagram for a few days because I’m not allowed to show the photos of the projects I’d been working at just yet. So, please wait till the images are published in two certain magazines in a month or so (-:
Tomorrow, I’m going to start working on my next projects. So, you can expect to see my real-time updates on Instagram again.
Till next Wednesday~
– joyce// Miu Vermillion @ Angelica Brigade
“If your heart is not in it, get out of it or change it”
If one’s heart is not in it,
It’s impossible to give one’s all for it . . .
To spend many hours doing it . . .
“Masters are incredibly passionate and emotional people who just love to do things and when they love to do something, they do it all the time.”
I suppose, that’s the only way one can master a certain skill . . .
I love what I do
I love making things
I love avant garde fashion
I love taking photographs
I also love playing with image-editing software
There are times when work longer than 16 hours per day.
At the end of such days, I usually flop down in exhaustion. Even so, I couldn’t wait for the next day to begin so I can resume my work(s).
Lately, I’ve been doing more and more things that have nothing to do with Angelica Brigade (my handmade business).
And, as some of you might have noticed, I no longer sell my handmade accessories and jewelry via online marketplaces. Mostly, because I don’t have enough time and energy to take more than a small number of bespoke orders per month.
My priority has changed
I’ve been re-thinking some things for quite a while now . . .
Because of the things I’ve experienced in these past two years (ever since I established my handmade business) I’ve been dabbling with photography, image editing, marketing, social media marketing, website designing, accounting, financial planning, and many more to support my independent business.
Many things have happened . . .
I still love making things
I still love avant-garde fashion
But, it looks like I’m heading towards a slightly different direction
I’m still thinking the details through
But I haven’t changed
I’m more experienced and skilled than before, and I’m aiming to become a better version of myself . . .
It won’t be easy, but my love of creating things will carry me through this transition and growing process.
-joyce @ Angelica Brigade // miu vermillion
Any ad that might show up below this line is not endorsed by me &/or Angelica Brigade
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.
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).
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
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).
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
[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.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – –
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
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.
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 . . .
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.
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.
And here are some behind-the scenes snapshots I also took using my iPhone
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.
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 (-:
I also try to move on from making flower-shaped accessories. It was harder than it seems.
There was 6 different looks in total, and – with careful planning – we managed to wrap the shoot within 4 hours.
All in all, it was an amazing day . . .
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!
(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.
Some people might think that I am wearing 2 pieces of bracelets . . .
But . . .
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.
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.
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.
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 . . .
One of them is actually flat. It was my first try. I did better the 2nd and 3rd time.
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 (:
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?
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.
In case you are wondering what unagi donburi is . . . you can read more about it here >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unadon
That’s it for now, guys!!!
Got to edit the AngelicaBrigade website so it’ll be fully renovated by Sunday night (February 17, 2013)
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
I love Zoya PixieDust nail polish in Dahlia; but, I decided to get these nail colors instead:
Zoya PixieDust in Nyx
A wonderful & unique light-colored nail lacquer that’ll be perfect for Spring.
Zoya ChitChat in Gaia
Bright, clean white with delicate golden shimmer – another great nail color to wear this Spring.
Vampy, dark burgundy-red. Very film noir.
Because, once in a while, I want to wear something that’s both classic & dramatic
I also came up with a nail art design that’ll look great if I use this color as one of its accent colors.
(Stay tuned for the tutorial & pictures)
Opaque & creamy.
And, because I entered this promo code (below), I got a $24 discount:
So, the amount of money I spent to purchase 4 bottles of nail polishes was . . . $9.00 plus shipping & handling.
And, my grand total was $19.00
Not bad, right?
The offer expires in January 13th (tomorrow). So, if you want to use this opportunity to get high quality nail lacquers in beautiful colors at a pretty good price, you better hurry.
None of the photographs in this blog post is mine. If you own the rights of these pictures & don’t want to seem them in this blog, please let me know.
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.
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
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.
Sometimes, I like to roll the top parts of the boots down. They look cuter this way.
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.
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:
I dress for myself.
I don’t follow trend & wear whatever I like whenever I feel like it.
There are two things I will never sacrifice though: Comfort and practicality.
I’m not only talking about physical comfort but psychological comfort as well.
I won’t wear anything that doesn’t feel like “me” .
I also avoid wearing thing that has the potential of preventing me from doing the things I might need & want to do.
But, it doesn’t mean that I wear pyjamas or tank top. running shorts & sneakers all day and everyday . . .
I wear things I find comfortable and it’s a subjective thing.
I can walk for miles in high heels. But, I need to stop every so often (to affix a few bandages onto my feet) whenever I wear flat shoes.
A number of people keep on telling me that high heels are BAD for me.
But, in the end, the person who walks inside of my shoes is me.
If I choose not to stop every few hours to stick more bandages onto my feet; then, there’s nothing they can do about it.
To me, these shoes are surprisingly comfy.
Or, may be, it’s because my feet were already molded into the shape of pointe shoes. After all, I wore pointe shoes & stood on my toes everyday for more than a decade. But, it was a lifetime ago . . . when I trained myself to become a professional ballerina . . . and before I broke my left arm & forced to find another thing I love to do & passionate about.
It took me 13 years . . . but, last year, I finally did.
Making handmade jewelry & hair accessories makes me happy :)
It’s the thing I look forward to do when I wake up in the morning, & the last thing I do before I sleep. Everyday!
I see myself as a conscientious pragmatist.
I do whatever works best for me as long as it doesn’t hurt or disturb anybody else.
I want to do things quickly & effectively.
So, I always appreciate a bag with a back pocket/compartment. That way, I can easily whip up my cell phone or keys whenever I need to, and quickly, too.
And, for safety reasons, I like the fact that the pocket is placed on the back of the bag.
I prefer to wear >>non-precious<< chunky jewelry.
I don’t feel comfortable wearing & owning precious items that requires special cares, especially the ones that come in small sizes.
I tend to break &/or misplace them :(
It can be quite distressing.
Also, I simply don’t have the budget to purchase oversized precious jewelry.
I don’t want to wear one piece of jewelry with everything day in and day out for many, many years. I need a little variety. So, I decided to go with well-made non-precious statement jewelry instead.
By the way, the necklace you see in the picture is a handmade Tarina Tarantino necklace I purchased about 4 years ago.
It used to be the only jewelry brand I wear before I started creating my own jewelry line about a year ago.
What I’m very much into these days
Making handmade cabochons & tiny sculptures
I went nuts and made approximately 225 of these in various color combinations
They are extremely lightweight and made out of the most unusual materials
I will write more about this next week
Little dresses with large, bold, and unusual motifs
The dress is by Ali Ro, very similar with the one seen here, but mine is in Navy Blue.
And, the one you see on the top of this page is very similar with this dress
Especially: Making beaded cuffs & and statement necklaces.
I love this beaded cuff, but … at this moment, this piece is not perfect enough. Not yet.
There are a few technical aspects I need to improve before I can list it in my Etsy shop.
May be in a few weeks?
Ever since I started my handmade business last year, decorating my nails with crystals & tiny pearls is no longer an option
Working with metals, dyes, & fixatives tend to ruin sculptural nail arts, and I don’t have enough time to fix my nails everytime a crystal pops out / a mini pearl got stained / a glob of hot-melt glue ruin my nail(s) / etc. Plus, removing sculptural nail arts can be 3-5 (or more) times longer than removing (regular) painted nails.
Plus, as I mentioned in my previous blog post, my overworked hands look a lot redder than it used to. So, I also need to stick to cool hues as well. For quite a long time, I’ve been painting my nails either silver or various shades of cool gray … but, this week, I decided to go with Eggplant Purple:
It’s Pinta by Zoya Natural Nail Polish
As usual, I put one layer of Nailtiques Formula 2 as base coat. After that, I put 2 layers of the same nail protein as top coats. The nail protein makes my nails look super shiny, as if they are made out of plastic (just the way I like them). Plus, it makes my nail lacquer last longer.
There is one more nail product I rely on: Lippman Collection‘s Intensive Nail Treatment.
It moisturizes my nails, keeps my nails strong, removes my cuticles, and helps me to shape my proximal nail folds.
What the heck is proximal nail folds?
This picture is going to answer that question:
In my opinion, no nails (& nail arts) can ever look good if the proximal nail folds are not well-shaped and the cuticles are not removed.
That said, here’s a very old picture (taken in 2007) of one of my old nail art …
I think I’ve moved on …
Update (04/17/2916): Blue Buddha Boutique is closing its door permanently. The link to their website (below) is no longer active.
Chainmaille jewelry: A piece of jewelry made of numerous (small) metal rings, interlinked together [by hand] to form a pattern.
14 months ago, when I started to learn to create chainmaille jewelry, most [mainstream] people didn’t know what chainmaille jewelry is … and the ones who know about it are either jewelry designers or a people who are into Renaissance-themed festivals.
But … out of sudden, I started to see chainmaille jewelry pretty much everywhere: E.g. in several high end department stores in the U.S., in various contemporary/”bridge” online stores (incl. ShopBop), in a Forever 21 flagship in Tokyo , & in Hermes boutiques.
When I saw that Hermes incorporated chainmaille jewelry into its handbag designs, I knew that the image of chainmaille jewelry will no longer be the same. More & more people will notice chainmaille jewelry when they see them. Also, many people will start to appreciate it & see it as a work of art that demands the patience, perseverance, & dedication of its creator.
I created my first chainmaille jewelry in September 2011. That summer, I had a severe leg injury. I couldn’t move my leg. I couldn’t go out. When I finally got sick of playing video games & watching DVDs all day, I decided to find something more productive to do. So, I randomly browsed the internet to find some free tutorials … and then … I saw this e-book in Amazon.com:
I checked the book‘s sample pages, and I thought that it’d be fun if I can make the items I saw in the pages. Plus, it didn’t look so difficult.
I had some leftover stainless steel wire I got from Ace Hardware & some free electrical pliers & a wire cutter I got many years ago from Newsweek (those free gifts upon magazine subscription).
[ In case you want to know how come I had a length of leftover wire: I used to major in Transmedia Art back then when I was a college student ]
So, anyway … I made my own jump rings by coiling the wire onto a chopstick. I then cut it lengthwise, and used those free electrical pliers from Newsweek to create my very first chainmaille jewelry. I didn’t look so pretty, but I’m hooked. So, I asked my husband to get me some more wires & made so many more not-so-pretty chainmaille jewelry.
Well,actually, the pieces look pretty good from afar, but if you look at them closely, you’ll notice that the edges of my home-made jump rings are not so neat & that I used permanent markers & spray paint to color those jump rings (>_____<).
This is how the piece looks like if you look at it very closely
One day, I broke my wire cutter … I, of course, can easily get another wire cutter… but I started to think that may be it was time to use professionally made jump rings … like the one I saw in the Kindle Book, for example.
It took me days to decide which size of jump rings I should get … but it worth the time I spent.
Oh, by the way, I decided to buy better pliers as well … the ones that are created for jewelry-makers. The electrical pliers are too large and clunky for jewelry-making purposes.
Notice the instant improvement? (By the way, this is my very first original design)
Not so bad, but not ground-breaking either.
That summer, I spent roughly 14 hours per day creating chainmaille jewelry. So, even though it’s been no more than 14 months since I learned my very first chainmaille weave, I’ve already have more than 3,500 hours of chainmailling experience.
This probably is the most well-known chainmaille weave in existence. It’s called European 4-in-1.
The size(s) of the jump rings you use will determine the end look of the weave. This is the same weave the creator of the million dollars Hermes Nausicaa Sac Bijou (above) & the maker of this $14 Forever 21 necklace I saw in Harajuku use.
Which … happens to be the same weave Citrine by Stones incorporate to create this statement necklace:
But, there are many more (thousands, I heard) chainmaille weaves out there.
This weave (called the box weave) happens to be one of my favorites:
(This, by the way, also happens to be the very first chainmaille weave I learned)
This is weave I used to create these pieces:
Quite a versatile weave, isn’t it?
My other favorites are the Open Roundmaille Weave (the smaller ones you can see on both sides of the center part of the necklace) & this weave I invented by accident (the center part of the necklace):
This month, I’m going to blog about chainmaille every Monday, Wednesday, & Friday.
Want to create your own chainmaille jewelry? (Chainmaille earrings and bracelets can make excellent stocking stuffers / Christmas gifts~)
I’m planning to write several tutorials and several tips & tricks (with tons of informative pictures) I learned through trials & errors these past 3,500+ hours.
Not sure whether chainmailling’s for you? My detailed tutorials (and the pictures that accompany them) might help you to decide.
Also, next week, I’m going to hold a chainmaille starter kits giveaway. The winners are going to be selected at random. [I will post more about this next week]
[P.S. Tomorrow, I’m going to write about my most recent outdoor photoshoots & post the pictures of my jewelry & headpiece new designs. There will be a lot of pictures I’m excited to share with you. Here are several of the (cropped) off shots. What do you think?]
Very glossy gunmetal
It’s a few shades darker than my favorite bluish gray nail lacquer, but it’s still bluish gray. It’s the nail polish shade I’ve been wearing 90% of the time these past few years, and this is the reason why: https://angelicabrigade.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/shades-of-bluish-gray-nail-polish-i/
This is how I achieved the effect:
1 layer of Nailtiques Formula 2 nail protein
2 layers of Zoya nail polish
2 layers of Nailtiques Formula 2
This is the color I used:
It’s been weeks since the last time I gave myself a proper manicure.
It’d been a busy week here in my office. I’d been working with fabric dyes, all kinds of fixatives, resin clay, & stone clay on a daily basis … and I didn’t have enough time to fix my scratched, dye-stained, and glue-textured (polished)nails every single day. For those kinds of days, I painted my fingernails with OPI Black Shatter nail polish. It was rather grunge chic, but the nail polish blends well with the dye stains, scratches, etc :D
Update (04/17/2916): Blue Buddha Boutique is closing its door permanently. The link to their website (below) is no longer active.
A unusual, dramatic, and timeless statement necklace with a self-tie grossgrain ribbon closure.
Low maintenance and will never tarnish.
The ends of the ribbons are heat-treated to prevent fraying.
Made with meticulous attention to detail, one jump ring at a time.
Extremely lightweight (22 grams / 0.77 oz / 0.04 lb).
It comes with a spare / replacement grossgrain ribbon.
– The length of the chainmaille: Approx. 7″ (18 cm)
– The diameter of the chainmaille: Approx. 3/4″ (2 cm)
– The length of the black grossgrain ribbon: Approx. 47″ (120 cm)
– The with of the ribbon: Approx. 3/8″ or (1 cm)
The color of the chain: Yellow gold (similar to 22 karat gold) and bright silver.
Please remember that monitors with different calibrations might depict colors somewhat differently.
Materials: Blue Buddha Boutique premium bright aluminum and anodized aluminum jump rings and cotton/polyester blend grossgrain ribbon.
The composition of the bright aluminum jump rings:
Aluminum: 92.9 – 95.3%; Magnesium 0.8 – 1.2%; trace amounts possible of Chromium, Copper, Iron, Silicon, Zinc Manganese, Titanium.
The composition of the anodized aluminum jump rings:
Aluminum: 96.6 – 98.5%; Magnesium 1.5 – 2.1%; trace amounts of Chromium, Copper, iron, Manganese, Silicon, Titanium, Zinc
Not necessarily hypoallergenic however, it is widely accepted that aluminum is very poorly absorbed through the skin, so you do not need to worry about metal toxicity.
The color of the chain can be scratched by harder metals,. Oils from your skin may change the colors. Some of the color can be restored by washing the piece in soap and water.