Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Dusting Off the Blog

Figured I'd dust off this poor neglected blog while I tweak my website. I've shifted my focus over the last year and a half toward body jewelry, and I have to say, it's a lot of fun! I get to think in a bigger and broader scope, with a 3-D element as I envision how the jewelry will fit around a person. The canvas is bigger so there's more of a chance to stretch my creative muscles. And what's not to love about adorning one's body in jewelry?

There's something particularly appealing to me about the idea of wrapping oneself in beautiful beads -- especially now that I've been getting into the metaphysical properties of stones. I like to think of my pieces as magickal, protective "armor" of sorts, that will help shield the wearer from negative energy and enhance whatever qualities the stones embody. Plus, it's an excuse to buy more beautiful semi-precious beads! Ahhh, the possibilities.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Season of the Witch

Season of the Witch
Sarah Lynne Bowman modeling Gothic-style
headdress and jewelry
It's great being back in Austin, for a whole multitude of reasons, but jewelry-wise, it's great being back among a network of friends who will model for me! This latest shoot features Sarah Lynne Bowman, whom I met years ago through other friends, and who's a LARP afficionado and fond of corsets, costumes, and fantasy. She was all too happy to don various outfits of a "witchy" sort, and showcase several of my headdresses and Gothic-style jewelry.


I posted an album of our shoot on Facebook; hopefully this link will work even for non-FBers:

Season of the Witch

Enjoy!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fairy Tales



I've been captured by fairy tales lately. Maybe it's because we've been watching "Once Upon a Time," based on the recommendations of friends. We got the first season on DVD and we're a few episodes away from the end. It's pretty good, and I enjoy the fairy tale theme... but there's a part of me that wishes it were just a little darker. More surreal. Unsettling. The way Grimm's fairy tales were originally meant to be.

Today's fairy tales are all watered down and palatable to children. But I miss the edgier versions. The ones where the evil queen is also an ogress who likes the taste of human flesh. The ones where the wolf eats the grandmother. The ones where death is matter-of-fact and where dark things happen to sleeping princesses. I like those kinds of fairy tales, so I've  taken to Etsy to make Treasuries along those themes.

I get inspired by images--Etsy and Pinterest have certainly fueled my creativity. It's funny--I think creativity comes in stages. First there's the fertilization process, where you soak up ideas: look and listen and absorb. It's the ingredients going into the stew.

Then things start to simmer. Ideas form, nebulous and hazy, but if you can latch on, and if you get lucky, you turn them into something. With jewelry, this is where I experiment. Try out designs and see what works, what piques my interest. If I like it, I keep going. Let it become something. Let the idea blossom.

Then there's a sort of "ripening" stage. Tweak, polish, replicate, perfect. Let it get established. Bask in the afterglow of having made something.

And then, inevitably, the crash. After it's all done, time to rest. Hibernate. Recharge. Before, ideally, you start the whole thing all over again.

Anyway, what does all that have to do with fairy tales? Not much, I suppose. That's just what I'm soaking up right now. Who knows where it might lead?

Oh, and if you click on any of the images, you can see the Etsy Treasuries I made, centered around some of my favorite old tales. The darker versions.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Winter Queen

Victoria Lisi as Winter Queen
This past Saturday, my Mom and I got together for a little photo shoot. Like I said in my last blog, I've been making lots of fantasy-style headdresses lately. By "lots" I mean about eleven, so far, because they take forever! Somehow, marathon bouts of "Castle" on TNT seem to help. ;)

Anyway, I think the shoot went really well. We did about three different "looks" for my Mom, all as some variation on a "Winter Queen" (that's much preferable to the "crone goddess" theme I initially mentioned to her!) I had two different white/wintry headdresses, and we practiced makeup effects and face painting.

Hopefully this link works; it's to the Facebook album I put together, so you can see more of the shots: Winter Queen Album

I hope to do more photo shoots. I have this ambitious idea of putting together a whole calendar's worth of fantasy/goddess photos, then doing a big show at the end of the year. Perhaps that will all be easier once we move back to Austin, in the next couple months. In the meantime, hopefully I can set up one or two more sessions with models here in Fort Collins. Fingers crossed!


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fantasy Headdresses

I've been on a kick lately of making fantasy-style headdresses. Partly because I just like that sort of thing, and partly because I'm hoping to appeal to a specific crowd: LARPers, Ren-Faire aficionados, cosplayers, and, well, anyone else who likes to dress up!

Like most jewelry-making, it's both fun and tedious. How can something be both, you might wonder?

Well, the tedious part is easy: wire-wrapping all those beads, tweaking everything so it lays just so, and, um, did I mention wire-wrapping all those beads? I tend to watch a lot of TV when I do it, and I can remember what shows I was watching whenever I look at a piece later--little flashes of "Castle" or "Sex and the City" or some cheezy Lifetime flick, as they're ideal since you don't have to pay much attention to the plot.

The "fun" part comes in when the piece is done. Then you have something pretty to admire, to try on, and ultimately, hopefully, to sell! I like to imagine that my pieces will all find good homes someday--that they'll end up with someone who likes to admire them as much as I do.

Anyway, that's what I've been working on lately! Eight so far, with hopefully more to come!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Fall Sale!

In honor of my favorite season, I'm doing a fall sale in my Etsy shop! Just use the coupon code "FALLSALE" when you check out to save 30%!

www.etsy.com/shop/astraeadesigns

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Craftsmanship

As tedious as it can be, I really enjoy making pieces like this. It definitely feels like craftsmanship. It's a slow process that builds on itself, and I get to see the work take shape. This one, for instance, just looks like a mess of pearls and chain most of the time. It's only when you get the last pieces of chain attached that it all falls into place -- quite literally. I felt a deep sense of satisfaction once all those little pearls settled into their respective niches. It was the satisfaction of a job well-done. Maybe that's one of the reasons I do what I do.

Why do you do what you do?