I recently wrote an article on Bored Panda about the creation of 2 of my photoshoots re-using some of the same elements and showing some of the process photos of creating the shoot. To check out the full article click here.
Since some of you are already familiar with my work I will just be adding the photos and some brief descriptions!
The model (Elena Balueva) is wearing fantasy armour made entirely out of leather. It has been hand carved, dyed, sealed and buff to a shine using traditional techniques. The Swarovski beads have been all hand sewn on to the leather. The pinwheels in the background compliment the designs on the mask and corset. The makeup artist (Ashley Skrocki) completed makeup that matched the background.
I designed the backdrop to appear like a large head piece when Elena stood in front of it.
The same pinwheels were used in this photo shoot with hair stylist/ model Karly Vedan. The makeup artist (Ashley Skrocki) incorporated various design elements from the pieces into her work.
This string of paper flowers were all individually hand shaped, arrange, and glue together with a "rivet" on top.
Tiny flowers were added to the makeup and a paper flower shawl was made for this "scene."
A different view of the paper shawl with some pins I made to match.
On to some behind the scenes photos, taken with my cell phone, of part of the creation of the pieces the models wore.
The pinwheels before putting them together for the background.
Shaping and gluing together the paper flowers
The final paper pieces (the crown I ended up using for a different shoot)
The larger pinwheel with the hand shaped flowers in the centre.
The mask before it was dyed, painted and had all the beads, stones and feathers added.
We are now publishing our policies on doing custom work for new lines, new designs for business who intend to sell our work as their own designs or own products, or where we are manufacturing their items.
As some of you may know, being an artist is more of a labour of love than it is something a person sets out to make money from. We are a very small business consisting of just two people who do everything you see on this website including marketing, setting up 50 plus shows a year, social media, several websites and making and photographing everything.
In order to stop filling current orders, doing shows or stop updating our online stores we require a partially refundable down payment to begin the process of doing any samples or prototypes, buying new leathers, metals, wood etc. to begin design or production of any samples intended for businesses to sell as a "new product." Because our time is very limited no refunds will be given and payment in full is required before we begin any project. We are available by phone for a 1 hour consultation after which our shop rate of $50 an hour applies (this fee can be put towards your order).
Our designs can be transferred from one item to any item we currently make, or item made in the type of materials we use, and therefore a fee starting at $500-1500 Canadian (depending on the the of product you want prototyped or designed) is needed for a downpayment which is in turn partially put towards your wholesale order (depending on quantity, price and type of item).
One bonus of choosing us to make and design your custom line of items is the same design can be applied to multiple pieces and you will have a whole line of items to sell with only one set up fee and deposit.
Because our time is very limited no refunds will be given and payment in full is required before we begin any project. We are available by phone for a 1 hour consultation after which our shop rate of $50 an hour applies.
This is purely for orders where a completely new item is wanted with your branding. There is no fee associated with any of our current items or modifications of our items for wholesale if our labels and branding is included on the items.
If you are looking for promotional or branded items or items similar to what we have this rule does not apply as the patterns are already completed. Only a small set up fee will be required. Design services available for logos if needed.
Also the only exclusivity that will be granted will be any of their intellectual property, included logo or branding, and if we are commissioned to make a unique product exclusively and ownership rights will be detailed by contract.
Time lines- All reasonable time lines will be set up and confirmed in writing at the beginning of the project.
Thank you for your interest, we are always excited and happy to work on all serious inquires.
We were invited to Nextfest to do a workshop based on our mask designs. There wasn't a budget to do leather so it was an opportunity to use one of my other favourite materials: paper to come up with something new. Also, part of the night which was, fittingly called; "Masks for Monster," featured a performance with our masks included.
Tanner had a market, so I had Ashley (whom many of you have met at the booth or another event) help me set up the workshop at the Paintspot in Edmonton. For this workshop I cut out well over a thousand pieces of paper which was over 1 and a half hours of laser time... Well over the budget, just in laser costs, but I really wanted everyone to make a mask they would be happy with. Plus I figured I could use any left over components for upcoming photoshoots. Much of the supplies we used for the decorations came from my personal stock of crafting supplies and it was nice to see it being put into creative use.
This is one of the original mask designs I did for the workshop and I also chose this mask for the promotional photoshoot I did for the event. The feathers are the same feathers featured on my "Seraphim's Belt."
We set up a small display table with some of the items we created in leather and metal, as well as, some pictures from the shoots we do with our wearable items. The large wooden mask in the back was created by Borys Tarasenko.
Our pre cut out masks and the stencils I created for the workshop.
Some of the supplies I separated out into containers. I noticed the paper I used to cut out the attachments created interesting stencils so I brought a few along.
Table and chairs... We ran out of workspace very quickly and apologize to those that had to stand, sit on the floor and were unable to stay.
Some of the display paper masks I created for the event.
Event photo of part of the class room.
Some of the awesome masks created by the workshop attendees!
Boris Tarasenko and his giant wooden mask behind him.
One of my favourite painted masks from the night.
I love the colours and complexity of this one!
This one ended up having a historic feel.
Some close ups of paper masks I created for the event
After the workshop we headed over to the Roxy Theatre where we set up a smaller version of our mask working station for anyone who could not make the workshop. The masked dance was scheduled for 11 and even though I'm not an event photographer I still wanted to capture a couple of shots of the choreographed dance. I have an older full frame camera so I went with the highest ISO available on my camera, shutter speed 1/200 s and I used a very low aperture since there was minimal ambient and performance lights being used. I had only brought one lens with me and that was my 50 mm f 1.4 Sigma Art lens. There was some noise which I cleaned up in Camera Raw and photoshop and removed all the distractions that surrounded the dancers.
Cheorgraphed by Aimee Rushton
Male Dancer: Jason Romero
Female Dancer: Anastasia Maywood
Close up of the masks used for the dance
Some of the dance photos with one creative edit of Jason Romero
Last year at Western Canada Fashion week we had a model walk for us in our show with Lewis Mayhem. I had Breanne Marie (with Breanne Marie Photography) helping me backstage at the show! We had talked several weeks before that about doing a gothic wedding dream shoot. Right after the fashion show I began to plan out tons of wedding accessories to create something truly unique. We had Donna Lynn from Donna Lynn Photography join us for the day and we ended up getting published in one magazine and one one wedding blog based out of the U.K called "Plans and Presents." The article can be found here from "Plans and Presents."
Wedding cake topper I designed and made for this shoot. They are available by custom order. They feature two ravens and heart shaped leaves on branches.
I also made the paper dollie underneath the cake :)
Bouquet I made out of flowers from my flower hoard :D The cathedral style waist belt on the bride is also available by custom order.
Matching belt, choker and cuff. Accessorized with our earrings and necklace.
Guest book (our golden skull) and a nice view of our paper dollie.
Our gold skull book which can be view here.
Our top hat, neck piece and cane I made for the shoot :D
One of the barrettes I made for this shoot is also visible.
I found the cane head at a local hardware store, The actual cane part I sanded down a thick dowel and then hand stitched on a piece of studded black leather.
Models were Michael Beniot and Lynnsy Michelle
Breanne is a wedding and lifestyle photographer based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and you can find her website here.
Thank you to everyone that came out to our gallery reception. I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to talk to everyone but it was greatly appreciated :) I hope you all enjoyed yourselves and had an opportunity to chat with some of the amazing people that came.
A very special thanks to all those that had their photographic works of art on display!! We answered so many questions and told the amazing stories behind many of the photos. The photographers that were on display were Amanda Diaz Photography, Michael Legge, Donna Lynn Photography and Breanne Marie Photography. I also had several photos on display as well. :) The photographers showed how they each saw the pieces so differently than how we see them.
We had event and portrait photographer Rick Halbert in attendance who took the below fantastic photographs for us. The link to his Facebook group can be found here. In addition to the event photographer we had model Listah Mutsaro in one of our creations from 2016! Despite the blizzard in the morning and the ice cold day we had a good turnout and managed to sneak in a couple shots outside the Craft Council of Listah which I will add to my page shortly :)
Below are some photos by Rick Halbert, please feel free to share them with a Facebook tag to his page on social media. :)
For those that want to see the exhibit we will be on display until until the beginning of April, with our featured spot light running the same time!! We did a nature meets mythology themed group of items including this Greenman mask journal with matching Greenman hair barrettes and a bur oak leaf hair clip. There are also tons of other new things we made just for this spotlight!!!
I am going to slowly update this as there are lots of great photos to go through !
Here is a back stage photo taken of everyone who appeared in the show including Tanner as the demon knight and me! This show was by far the toughest to prepare for and even out beat the first time we did a 20 foot booth at the Calgary Comic Expo! We want to thank all the people that helped pull this together starting with Ashley Skrocki MakeUp Artistry (makeup, scheduler, so many other things) & Studio E Photography (fog machine, inspiration, personal cheerleader etc!). Our fantastic back stage dressers and organizers Breanne Marie & Emily and our beautiful models (Lt to Rt): Carra Dawn, Pauline Yee, Listah Mutsaro, Randy Cusack, Samantha Njálsdóttir, Poppy Del, Samantha Adele & Jessica Wright. Our hair dressers from Eveline Charlies Stephanie Herwynen & Karly Shelain Vedan, all the amazing photographers for taking our photos, all our customers who came to the event and supported us, all the volunteers of the show and of course Sandra Fernandes Western Canada Fashion Week for putting on an event that allows us to display our unusual pieces.
I will include the full story line and character descriptions at a later date :) For now here is a little bit about the show and some of our favourite pictures gathered together!
When the lights can be seen, dancing against then evening skyline, the time has come for the quest to begin. When the isle appears from the mists the watery passage way is revealed. When the waters are silent and the day bleeds to dusk her beckoning call can be heard. All those courageous enough to take the voyage will face temptations and dangers both beautiful and horrifying as they seek the Queen of Life. It is said that anyone who unites with this mystical Queen is granted dominion over all living things. Many have travelled these silent waters, climbed the overgrown slopes of the isle and wandered deep in the sprawling forest but none have ever returned. Those who travel without purest intention will surely be lost to temptation and will never see the again the welcoming shores of home. So long as the Queen remains sequestered within the aegis of the grand tree at the forests heart pestilence, plague and death shall encircle humanity. Only through the union of humanity and the pure life force will the darkness lift.
Greg Mottle Photography
Studio E Photography
Part of the backstory we wrote for this shoot
At the forests heart she dwells. In feathers shrouded she spends her days among the trees. The ravens call is the music she craves but it has been years since their wings have burned black against the mid days sun. At last she has found the secret of their entrapment and today they will return to her. Buried deep in the forests winding corridors a prison sits. Shaped as a crystal ball it holds those from whom she has been forcefully estranged.
As she invokes the spell that will break the chains of imprisonment she herself begins to take on another form. And when she has liberated the ravens from their confines her transformation is complete...and she joins them not as a keeper but their sister. As daylight streams between the branches halo the somber winds carry the whispers of battle. High above the bones and flesh of torn grace they circle the sisters three. The time has come to count the living and choose the dead. –Lord Tanner Skrocki
For this shoot we worked with the delightful Breanne Marie Photography who captured our visions and pieces with her beautiful photography. The model was the wonderful tattoo artist/model Poppy Del. Makeup was done by Ashley Skrocki Makeup Artistry.
With the creation of the raven mask for last year’s collection we wanted to do a series of raven inspired items. The concept behind the new pieces was to create three different raven characters similar to The Morrigan from Celtic mythology. The Morrigan, who are considered to be a triple goddess composed of 3 sisters, fly around the battlefield prophesizing death on the battleground. We wanted to make three complete looks that were similar but different enough to be individual characters.
Photo by Studio E. Raven mask created in July 2015.
With the first mask already created I styled it with the cuffs and belt / waist-cincher from our 2015 look book. Next I created a feather bib/necklace, made a blue shirt, from some special fabric I had been saving, to bring a bit of colour to the silver and black. The look was finished off with the completion of a velvet cape I had been making for a while.
For the next look I wanted to make a more elaborate version of the leather mask with black feathers, featured in our 2015 look book, which had sold last fall. I redesigned parts of the mask adding lots of Swarovski crystals, beads and carving to really make it pop! The shoulder amour was a piece I created in 2015 and I used it because I wanted to hint at the battlefield that the ravens fly around. The armour corset was created for the upcoming 2016 Western Canada Fashion Week and is inlaid with blue/black tigers eye which only further shows the “war goddess” interpretation. I added a number of different pierced layers and lots of hand carving to the front panel of the corset to give it dimension and focal points additional to the beautiful stones. The armour style cuffs were created this year as well featuring Swarovski crystal, hand carving and hand painted leather. A blue accent skirt was added under the black skirts from the 2015 WCFW to continue the hint of blue featured in the other photos. The sterling silver pendant was created shortly before this shoot and has a different look with a bit of classy edginess I felt suited this shoot. It was made start to finish in our workshop. First it was patterned and shaped, then oxidized and pierced, and finally I bezel set the large blue druzy to create a captivating focal point.
For the final look I wanted to show the models face. The headpiece is based on one of my mask designs made into a fantasy kokoshnik style headdress (note: this headdress can be created as a mask and most of our masks can be created as a headpieces/crowns/French style hoods – please email me if interested). These historical headdresses first appeared around the 10 century and originated in Russia. The style become the most popular around the 16-19th centuries and variations can be seen throughout the Slavic areas. It apparently was a huge fashion statement during those times, in Russia, and is similar to the French hood worn in Tudor England. Nearing the end of their popularity they were inspired just as much by the traditional Kokoshnik styles as they were by Italian Renaissance fashion. I figured the Morrigan sisters were probably unmarried and created an open back Povyazka (a style of head dress worn by unmarried girls). The shaping for the piece I created is made in a half-moon shape but some of the historic pieces were also created in a crescent shape. Since I was only inspired by the kokoshnik I decided to have it resemble a crown and add black rooster feathers to symbolize the ravens, which was fitting for what The Morrigan actually stands for “the phantom queen” or “great queen.” Interestingly enough the Kokoshnik style of headdress was brought back into popularity in recent times when it was featured as costume wear in Star Wars and other numerous fantasy/sci-fi tv shows and movies (Queen of the Damned). The leather cape was another new piece which took an incredible amount of time to make and design. With movement the cape looks like wings and it has a very couture feel to the piece which can be worn for any number of “non-costume” events. For this piece I used supple garment leather to create the body and most of the additional layers of adornments. I created custom trim which is stitched and riveted along the front. Next I made dozens of feathers, which were each strategically stitched into place. And finally I hand sculpted, carved and dyed some thin vegi-tan leather to create some more structured, yet flexible, panels for the back shoulder area. This raven cape is actually one of my, and my husbands, favorite pieces! To complete the look I added for this “character” I created a beak mask I had designed in early January (featured with no straps, but straps can be added), blue earring inserts and one of my blue druzy wire wraps. For the beak mask I created a bunch of differently shaped individual feathers, from vegi-tan, hand sculpted, dyed and carved them. On the bottom of the beak there is an ornate pierced pattern and the silver areas are hand painted while the bottom is dyed black. The wire wrap is hand sculpted from sterling silver and gold-filled wire and features a large blue druzy stone.
To see more of Breanne's photography visit her website here.
To see more of Ashley's makeup visit here.
To see more of Poppy Del's work visit here.