A tiara is just an upside-down necklace

So a couple of weeks ago, during Building the Asylum, I walked in on the end of a conversation between a couple of people – I caught the words “diva” and “need a tiara!” and had to ask one of the participants who it was who needed a tiara, her or him.

At that point, I was merely amused.

She said she needed one.

Then part of my brain had a flash of inspiration, and so I asked, “Really? Because I could make you one,” and decided to interpret her response (uncontrolled laughter) as approval and encouragement, while simultaneously trying to work out how to actually make it. It seemed like it shouldn’t be that much different than wire necklaces, right?

Eventually I did get some actual words, to the effect that sparkly pink was Right Out, but stainless steel and black were good ideas (we have Internets in the space; I pointed her to some photos on the blog).

So I did some sketches at StrowlerCon, and took a couple of hours a week later to put it all together. I am always surprised by how long it takes to wind wire around other wire; the main structure took about an hour, but all the fiddly bits to finish it up took almost as much time!

Tiara sketch with beads laid over it

A final sketch - on paper towels, because I forgot to bring trace paper - with some beads laid on top of it to see how those might look.

Completed tiara, formed by bending stainless steel wire and wiring glass and lava beads to it.

The completed tiara. The large bead is lava; the small ones are glass.

I used 20 ga stainless steel for the main structure, and 22 ga stainless for the windings around the structure, and to attach the big bead. The 22 ga was too heavy to attach the small beads, so I ended up using some 24? 26? ga tinned copper to attach those. Note to self: Order some smaller gauge stainless!

Closeup image of parts of the tiara, focusing on the small gauge wire and beads.

I really like how the thin wire, repeated enough, becomes an additional decorative element, background to the beads and general overall form. It keeps surprising me when that happens.

Jamie wearing her tiara

Success!

Conclusion: really not that much different from the necklaces, though forming the base into the right shape was a lot trickier.

StrowlerCon post-con report

This is supposed to be a project journal, where I write about what I am making and keep track of process and stuff like that, not a more diary-like blog, but dammit, it’s MINE and I make the rules, so I’m going to write something long and not really project focused.

Hey, wow, I’m also really tired, so it might not make sense, and if it weren’t for the automagic spelling error pointer-outer, this would be filled with typos.

So, the con.

There was a con! And it was small. But it was really, really awesome. If nothing else, I think it wins “best dressed con goers” award for the fantastically high percentage of people who were dressed in interesting/funky/weird/fantastic clothing. Oh my god the eye candy.

Even at Arisia, where hall costumes and funny clothes are kind of normal, I feel a bit odd dressing up or putting on a costume. Not here! Here I felt totally normal! . . . wearing feather ears all weekend.

I stepped out of the elevator at one point and there were two girls, perhaps 10 and 12, waiting to get on. They both did a pretty amazing double-take when I stepped out. I managed to not double over laughing, but I probably smirked a bit. Sorry, kids.

I missed most of the music acts, because I volunteered to do volunteer work, and that ended up being watching the doors of the performance space on Saturday and Sunday. So I did get to hear most things, though filtered through the doors.

Friday night, I caught far too little of the Gypsy Nomads, who totally rocked, but I made a point of being there for Cat Valente and SJ Tucker’s “Monsters Ball.” They alternated readings by Cat from her written work, with songs by SJ inspired by Cat’s writing. Really awesome. Only disappointment is that the music inspired by Palimpsest isn’t out on an album yet.

I set up my jewelry Friday night. Turns out I was only one of 2 people who signed up as  “Maker” – everyone else signed up as vendors. So I gave some thought to it, and ended up writing up prices for the pieces. People kept asking! And it was only Friday! No, the Mechanic’s Collar is not for sale. Unless you want to pay off my student loans and free me from the necessity of a 40 hour-a-week desk job so I can do more art. Then we should talk.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to come up with some designs that are more accessible than the ear cuffs, but not as expensive/time intensive as the necklaces. Sunday night, while sitting at the door, I did MANY PAGES of sketches, trying to come up with some ideas. And now I am really anxious to get some time to try them out, but, hey, desk job.

Saturday was the busiest day – there were a lot of people there just for Saturday, plus all the whole-weekend people.

I went to the contact juggling workshop! It was wonderful! I dropped the ball a lot, but I got better about not dropping it. I even, eventually, found a spot on my arm, near my inner elbow, where the damn thing can balance (everyone else there found a spot in seconds; I had to lift my arm a lot higher than I thought was necessary for the muscles to move right). I think that I could actually become good at it, and the instructor said so as well. (He is not nearly as spooky as his picture might lead you to believe.)

He came by my table later on and said some very kind and encouraging things about my work, and how to do some better marketing (omg, I have to do marketing. For myself.). I really appreciated it a lot – thank you!

Sunday was pretty slow. I developed cabin fever and a fear that I was about to start climbing the walls, I don’t care how tired I was. If I’d been at home, I’d have gone on a mad cleaning binge. Or raked ALL THE LEAVES. And this was after spending a couple hours playing with wire and making some new ear cuffs. Yes, I got bored even with that. I think it was all the sitting.

One of the nice things about it being slow was having time to chat with the other people in the room about what they do, hearing about their techniques, and more about the business end of things. It was like our own little mini-con!

So, I am terrifically tired because it has been many days since I went to bed at a reasonable hour and got enough sleep, but it was a really good weekend. I think it was a really good way to get a gentle introduction to having a vendor table (even if technically I was there as a “maker,” people coming by were treating it pretty much as a dealers’ room), because the crowds were, um, not really heavy enough to be a crowd, and the people were really friendly.

I don’t know if I necessarily want to do a table at a high-traffic event, but I have some idea what to expect, without associated bad memories.

Anyway. I was glad to have the time to get to learn more about what other people are doing, and meet some people who are (mostly) local to me and making/selling awesome things:

Purpleshiny, a local jewelry artist. I really love her beetle-wing earrings. Perhaps because they sort of look like feathers. And they are so shiny!

Behind the Mask, a local mask maker I first met at Arisia earlier this year, who works primarily in paper mache, and makes masks ranging from incredible ornate pieces for theatre and simpler (and affordable) masks for mortals.

Goth Fae, who had clothing and accessories that I looked at a lot, and have a mental note to look up in a few months when the shirt I wanted might be around in my size.

Dark Siren Designs, sorta local (New Hampshire, I think), jewelry and accessories. A lot of really pretty things made from lace that have had shiny bits attached to them. Some of the chokers looked like metal filigree, except more comfortable.

The Uncommon Facade, another local mask maker (leather work) – who makes masks that can be worn with glasses!

The Red Fork Empire, the other Maker, and sorta local (RI). Fortunately not in a room-conquering mood. Though I was well armed with pliers . . .

Lennon Studio, paintings and block prints – I remember the dragonfly and raven prints the best; another local. Okay, you know what? I think everyone was local, except Goth Fae, who are based out of New Orleans. She’s also a dancer, but unfortunately I only caught one of her acts.

Parrish Relics – exquisite jewelry, and a really wonderful table setup.

Auntie Arwen’s Spices, tempting spice mixes and fudge; not local, though they were also running a table for Silver Owl Creations (jewelry, including some really gorgeous hammered copper wire pieces), who is.

Also, Artisan’s Asylum had a table there, which was next to mine (not a coincidence). For most of the weekend, the person actually at that table had a Makerbot there that got a lot of attention. That thing has the deceptive LYING NAME of “Cupcake CNC” – it DOES NOT MAKE CUPCAKES. CNC or otherwise. It might able to frost them, however.

I was sad to miss HONK!, which was also this weekend, but I am glad I went. It was a pretty nice pace, I liked the people, and next year, I might be well enough prepared to actually do a workshop.

And now I could really use a nap.