Friday, October 30, 2009

The fat fairy comes to life

I’m finally done with my Halloween costume! About time given that the party is tomorrow. I’m on my way to Claus’ –the venue of it – to help him decorate and cook, but before, I wanted to show you the pics.

So, I want to be an Absinth fairy – a Victorian/Art Nouveau one, mind you! With a BMI close to 28, I’m nowhere near fairy-like, but I found this lovely picture from when absinth was booming and Toulouse Lautrec was having “the green fairy”-hallucinations along with the rest of the bunch. Now THAT’S more my body type and so, I’m in!

This is one of many drawings I made in order to figure out how to design the outfit. In the end it came pretty close, although I chose to lose the layer of black lace and go more for green.

When Vinni was there to create her Corpse Bride costume, I managed to sow the basics of mine, create the bare wings and do the headpiece (which I’m working at here). That’s made of a dry cleaners hanger (like the wings, which was a hassle: the metal was far too hard/brittle to be shaped, so I had to anneal it in my workshop to make it soft enough to work with), black fabric orchids (la fleur du mal – the flower of insanity) and lots of glass beads. Gaffa tape to hold it together –less charming, but efficient ;-)

I also got started on the belt, which is quite complicated, since it’s sown like a corset: It consists of two layers of sturdy, yet somewhat elastic cotton and is boned on the inside for every 5 cm. The outside I embroidered, partly with my normal sewing machine, partly with glass beads in a non-symmetrical art nouveau pattern. It took forever, but came out pretty nice. I did the pearl work when Vinni and I visited our friend Michael for a sumptuous dinner and to see Twilight as a prequel to seeing new moon in November.

Again I paired happy social life with equally happy creative tinkering when I visited Susi yesterday, because I decorated the wings on her dining table (I don’t think it got any stains, though quite a bit of green glitter, I’m afraid)

And today I finished all the small details off, put the wings together, made the “sleeves” and attached them and took a photo of it all.

And this is the entire outfit, minus make-up, black panty hoses and long, high-heeled boots. You’ll have to imagine those or hope that someone takes pictures tomorrow.

I hope you’ve had as much fun creating your costume or at least will have tons of fun partying tomorrow. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Testrun on the Halloween make-up

I'm visiting my girlfriend Susi and her newborn today, bringing along my allmost-finished halloween costume to hopefully finish it off there. But before, I tried out a make-up to go with it, and here's the result:

I'm not very satisfied with it -mainly the colour is a bit off. I'd like a warmer and more vibrant green, which matches the actual dress and also want it softer, which I guess it was quite smart to do this test-run. I've been looking at tutorials at YouTube also to get inspiration for a Corpse Bride make-up for Vinni so I'm ready to "do" her saturday. We'll be (at least) 3 girls and my brother tarting up before the actual party, and I kinda promised to help them with their make-up.

Now I'm off to buy a long white wig and matching beard for my friend Michael who will be -you guessed it- an iiiiiiiiiiiiivil sorcerer. The costume for him I have in my stash n the basement allready.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A quickie: Hood for my daughter

It's autumn for real here in Copenhagen and the colours in our yard are amazing. Truly mit favorite time of the year. It's starting to get cold, but not more than it's still possible to dress comfortable and yet look stylish (well, if you have the time to do so).

My 5 year old daughter is allready wearing her winter jacket, which luckily still seems to fit, but her hat is at her fathers, I think. So today I decided to quickly sow her a hood from some fleece with cute flowers embroidered on, which I bought last year.

It IS a very simple pattern, and I think it would have fit her better if I had attached a brim of jersey around the face opening, but for now it works. A small felt flower from my stash made her shriek of joy, so that went on too. 30 min work and a happy and warm daughter. Now that's time well spent :-)

Afterwards I couldn't get the hood off her. She insisted on wearing it while drawing and wasn't lured out of it until I temped her with a bath. By then her cheeks were of cause rather flushed, but she looked quite cute, my little flower-forest-elf...

My first shipment arrived at the customer!

Okay... what an annoying hasse and a lot of worry because of this delivery. I mean: One thing is to realize how much it costs to send anything registered, that customs might interfere (doh!) etc., but with 12 days to deadline and a track & Trace number, I was genuinely feeling confident that it would arrive at the customers at the latest on the 28th (as promised), when I shipped it off the 16th.

It did - as I found out today, but the Track & Trace... well... let's just say that the USPS hasn't been impressing me very much on this matter. I was told that the envelope would principally arrive at the US border the day after it had been sent from DK, leaving plenty of time to get it through the States to the customer. As it turns out -it did. However, this information didn't surface before around the 23rd! What a sinking feeling to wait for this information. Yesterday it still informed me, that

Inbound International Arrival, October 17, 2009, 3:15 pm, ISC NEW YORK NY(USPS)


And today, all of a sudden, USPS tells me that it arrived (Washington area, so not THAT far from NY) on the 26th -snugly to be gifted on the 28th after all. What a relief!

So, my initial shipping virginity now taken, I'm ready for the next, possibly toying with DHL, UPS or some other company. Now, start buying, dagnamit!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Dark Lady necklace

Halloween is approaching quickly, I need to finish off my dress for the party, and inspired by the sinister theme, I have created a somewhat darker piece in my workshop: The Dark Lady. I got the idea some time ago when I visited my boyfriend in Finland. Nowhere near my workshop I could only draw designs and so I did –lots of them!

At home I cut out the serene features of her using my dentist-style drill. Ebony is rather soft, compared to for instance mother of pearl, which my Snow Queen brooch has been made from, but still it’s one of the hardest woods around. I am always very meticulous about the details, and so it easily takes one hour to create a portrait like this. Now that I had it, I decided to sand cast it in silver. I still haven’t decided what I’m going to use it for, perhaps a ring, but it’s nice to have this very special piece of silver ornament, which is as unique as the original.

Then the fitting of the silver bezel, which is actually quite a hassle, when the shape isn’t exactly round, like a gem. But it’s important to me that it fits snugly, and so I take the time to fit, file, fit again and file again until it’s perfect. That done, the actual shape of the centerpiece –the wings – were cut out of a sheet of 1 mm thick silver and I soldered the bezel onto them. The basics were done – now for tidying up and the finishing touches: I removed the excess silver around the bezel and filed it smooth, then created a half loop and soldered to the base of the bezel to hold the garnet drop. For the decoration on the back I drew the outline of the frightened face of the back, drilled holes and then pierced it with my saw.

I was in doubt how to create the vines of the wings, but decided to go for the delicate solution: chiseled curls define the structure of these wings and make them come to life.
Then I heated the surface of my tar-bowl, softening it enough to press the piece into it and thereby fastening it securely. This is a very good trick when setting any kind of gem –in this case the ebony face –because it holds the whole thing secure, making it possible to work two hand with both punsel and hammer to push the bezel over the edges of the face. Now it was secured, never to be removed again. And now the scared face on the back had a black background, which works very well indeed!
Then I made the bezel for the garnet drop and cut out a hole in the back of it to let light in and show off its color. I attached it to the centerpiece with a length of chain, but I’m still in doubt whether I should just have attached it directly. The chain makes it look more elegant, but it can also turn around itself, leaving the backside of the drop visible. I decided to go for the chain after all –practicalities must suffer when faced by aesthetics!
I wanted the color scheme of this piece to be black, silver and red and have a certain sumptuousness to it. The choice for a strand of garnets was therefore easy and I was lucky enough to have extra string to push them apart and cut it in two, securing the ends with knots. I burned my fingers a bit, fiddling with the shell lack for attaching the strand, but eventually it was done and I was quite satisfied. I think it came fairly close to the original idea of my drawing and find it very flattering, especially with a deep V-neck –which is what I mostly wear anyways.

She looks pretty and serene, but beware… muahahahahaaaaaaaaaa!
Do you want her to become yours? Buy her here

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Male jewelry –something quite different

Most of my stuff is very feminine, curved, curled, soft and biomorph. Sometimes, however, I long to make something rather chunky and coarse, which is when I create jewelry “for the stronger gender” as I call it on Etsy. So yesterday I created this cool necklace, consisting of a forged sterling silver wire, which has been shaped into a snail. Actually there were quite a few more steps to it.

Firstly, the wire I had was somewhat thicker, and so I hammered it down to the approximate size of 2 mm, annealing it a few time in the process. Annealing is necessary because the silver hardens when hammered. At some point it’s impossible to change its shape further and you have to heat it up to a soft rosy glow and then cool it down again in order to soften it enough for continuous forging.

Afterwards I “ran up” the ends by applying intense heat to them, which melts the metal into a soft ball. When it had been cooled and through the acid (to remove any stains from the heat), I filed these ball-shaped ends into the needed shape (flat in one end, round in the other which was to be the middle, and started shaping the snail with tweezers. Due to the thickness of the wire, that is quite tough work I can tell you, and my hands are still a bit sore from it. Some polishing made the pendant come lock perfect.

Now off to the ends that were to be attached to the leather cord: I know they exist pre-made, but I just couldn’t find any in the right size (that is: large enough –and we like large for our men ;-) so I had to create them myself. I cut two pieces of silver tube and soldered them onto a 1 mm sheet. Then cut them out and filed smooth, before attaching the hoops, which I had shaped into ovals.

A last filing after the acid bath and some buffing and we were ready for the assembly.

I think it came out quite nice. It looks great as a necklace, doubles as a bracelet, when wound twice and doesn’t fall off by accident because of the oval hoop/oval end of the snail, which only allows it to slide off when turned 90 degrees.

I am considering if it would look cool too with some kind of coarsely cut gems or wooden beads…
Want it? Well, it's for sale here

My workshop

I think it's time I show you my workshop -the place I create my jewelry. Now, since I do the "real" stuff and not only assemble pre-made parts into pretty pieces, but actually saw, file, solder, etch, polish etc, it's a noisy and dirty business. In other words: not a thing to do at the dining table in my Nørrebro-flat. Luckily, I got the permission to occupy a corner of the boiler room in the basement of my building. It might not be charming, but it holds the 3 essentials: warmth, running water and electricity. A flask of gas hidden under the table (inherited from my father and horribly molested with a jigsaw to fit my needs) provides the fire and I’m dancing –well… not entirely literally. The room has been painted in a cheerful yellow, which is nice, given the limited amount of light. It’s my own little piece of heaven.

I have collected quite a lot of tools by now, neatly stored in the drawers, and absolutely necessary in order to shape the metal how I want it. Quite often I have to invent ways to achieve the specific shape I am looking for, and equally often the finished item ends up looking somewhat different from the original drawing, as you can see in this example, featuring two of my favorite brooches. Yes, the smiling face (which you can by here)was initially intended to be a pendant!

My next purchase will be a tumbler, which both polishes and hardens the finished jewelry. This is especially necessary when creating earrings like these airy silver-wire ones, which have been shaped out of 1,2 mm wide wire. This time I hardened them in the oven, but I feel quite bad for using that much CO2 (they have to stay in there at maximum temperature for one whole hour). So: If I get my way, I’ll have a tumbler next month and a lot more wire-earrings coming up, like the ones I drew yesterday at the never-ending parent meeting in the kinder garden. Can’t wait!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Halloween preparations

Halloween is, at least here in Denmark, regarded as a very American tradition. During the last 5 -10 years, it has slowly wriggled itself into our list of holidays, and many wrinkle their nose at it. However, I am happy! Any excuse to create a new costume and arrange a great party is fine by me!

So I have of cause started sowing my costume (I'll tell you more about that in a later blog) and created this huge devil's head of papier machee. I build the frame using a narrow-meshed wire mesh and some steel wire, which took quite a few hours (and sore fingers plus scratched arms –ouch!) But finally it was ready to be clad and a few hours later it looked like this:

Note to self: wear latex gloves! The skin on my fingers is still dried out :-S

A few days later, my friend Vinni came over for two days in order to sow Halloween costumes and she gave the head it’s first red layer. Notice how everything still looks fairly organized and ready for sowing. It ended up a complete mess, but we had some good results!

Yesterday I finished off the shadowing on the face and later met with the friends who I am arranging the party with. We had great fun cutting pumpkin heads:

Meanwhile Michael gave my devils head the last and coolest detail: glowing red eyes! Honestly... I am fairly proud by my self-satisfied devil *grin*

First sale on Etsy!

I am SO happy! I just made my very first sale on my Phantasteria.Etsy shop:

A beautifull 14 k gold ring with a swirl of silver tugging a facet cut peridot. The buyer was a gentleman in the States and I shipped it off Friday as registered mail. A bit of a hassle, as it turns out, and I definitely have to adjust the shipping costs on Etsy. It cost me 90 kroner, which is apr. 18 dollars! However, I see it as learning money and am just very happy indeed to get this baby flying. Hopefully soon others will find my jewelry equally interesting and start buying it!

Absolute blogger beginner

Well, here we are. I too decided to share my thoughts and a bit of my life here in Copenhagen, Denmark with you. My intention with this blog is, to tell about my various creative projects, mostly the jewelry that I sell on, but definately also other fun stuff created with my hands -or other inspiring people who just can't NOT create things. Enjoy and be inspired!