This is Ester, an adorable tiny baby jewel dragon prototype. You see, the only way to know if an idea is actually going to work is to build a prototype and test stuff.
Even if you actually should have been resting your hands the whole time, but figure you can get away with this since it was very little work every day for 5 days. Honest.
White thread is the worst thread. It’s been bleached and weakened within an inch of its life. The upside to this is that it’s perfect for testing how thread and beads will interact with each other in a particular way. While I’ve used these extra sparkly beads before, I haven’t used them for this particular purpose. They are murder. Or at least they’re vastly less forgiving than my standard fare; but I’ve learned how to make that work while maintaining strength in the structure and getting the look I wanted. And oh what a lesson that was. My second (and hopefully final) attempt is definitely going to look similar, but build-wise be vastly different. …And look neater. *cough*
What I’m trying to say is that I made a disaster for myself, came out with an adorable little companion and learned how to actually do everything that I wanted to do “the right way”. But geez the process, you know?
(Normally I’d offer a prototype for sale at a drastically reduced price, but… Ester stays here. I invoke artist prototype keeping rights.)
Commission Master Post
Current commission status: busy. Estimated completion time: by May 1.
Maybe you’re considering commissioning something from me..? Why thank you! And what lovely pants you’re wearing. If you are, in fact, wearing pants. If not, good for you! You don’t need pants on the internet! Ahem.
If you don’t see what you want in of the made-to-order section my Etsy shop, you can still commission me for something made just for you. What follows are only examples! Feel free to fling an e-mail at me and we’ll discuss. Two things to keep in mind, first:
- Please note that the following quotes do not include shipping, which will be extra depending on the size/weight and destination.
- Yes, commission prices are a bit higher than the prices of pieces which may already be in the shop. Why is that?
- pieces in the shop have already been made without outside direction, whereas custom-made commission pieces are created exactly to the buyer’s specifications. That does actually take more time and effort.
- Materials will need to be purchased before building can begin, whereas a lot of the items in the shop were made from things I’d already picked up on a whim.
Cool? Yes? Continue!
Just check out what Kai-Xiang Xhong can accomplish with cardboard.
Jude. I’d waited quite a long time to get around to using this epically gorgeous seraphinite cabochon. So it was with dismay that I’d decided all it really needed was a simple sterling silver wire wrap, only to find… it snapped in half as I was setting it. Solution? Make it better, of course. I “glued” the broken pieces back together and then coated the entire pendant with clear enamel, waited until it was cured rock-hard (harder than the stone itself, it would appear), then beaded and built around it with an additional tiny seraphinite bead. “Hey Jude” was playing in my head pretty much the whole time I was working on this project, hence the name.
Could I have hidden the break altogether? Yes. I could have. I did not; though it’s actually more difficult to find in the photographs than I’d thought it would be.
(This would also happen to be available for sale.)
Lani’s the curious type. She’ll follow a stream to its source, then turn right back around and follow it to where it ends. The problem is, she’s still small and young, in need of a traveling companion (and a place to rest).
At this point in time, this is what I’m calling a “simple project”. Her body was beadwoven, then gently “stuffed” to keep her dimensions (and so you can gently squeeze her while pinning or unpinning without worry about changing her shape). Her wings are handmade paper (that I’ve had and not made much use of for way too long) over a wire frame, strengthened with several layers of a clear material that leaves a lovely gloss behind. Of course she also sports 10 genuine Swarovski crystals (yes, her eyes are two different colors) and 5 absolutely lovely green goldstone beads. Her wings and body are somewhat flexible, allowing her to move and flex along with her chosen companion, whoever that may be.
(More pictures available at her gallery page. She also happens to be available for sale.)
Finished commission for a materia bangle. Leather made to look like metal, lined with soft black suede. Took an insane amount of time, but that was partly the fault of work schedules and… well, partly my fault. I did suggest the “sword strike” and “wounded materia” and, well, you’d be surprised how long it takes to figure out how to make things look broken but still be exceptionally strong.
That was the idea: make it look like metal but be flexible, but let it be flexible while still being strong enough to last for years. Now, I knew a bit about leather working before this, but… I learned a lot. I broke a lot, destroyed a lot, and learned a lot.
Then I got a dremel and things went so much faster.
I’m not gonna downplay it: I love this. I love how it tells a story. I love how you could find it on the ground somewhere and know that what you held in your hands was something beloved. And shiny as hell, let’s just cover that now.
Also. When a commissioner is as excited about a commission as you are, even the most painstaking process is fun. This whole experience, while absolutely work, was a blast, and I learned so much. There are already plans to make use of this knowledge, indeed; but this particular design belongs only to one.
It is done.
The most time-consuming commission of my life (thus far) is complete. Done. Over. Victory Fanfare.
Granted, I have to wait for this top coat to dry completely before I so much as think of looking at it let alone touching it, and then I’d like it to get to its commissioner first before I show off pictures but it’s done it’s done and I’m just gonna stop and post this before I wind up banging my head against the keyboard in victory.
It happens. I’m sure.
When you buy from an independent artist you are buying more than just a painting or a novel or a song. You are buying hundreds of hours of experimentation and thousands of failures. You are buying days, weeks, months, years of frustration and moments of pure joy. You are buying nights of worry about paying the rent, having enough money to eat, having enough money to feed the children, the birds, the dog. You aren’t just buying a thing, you are buying a piece of heart, part of a soul, a private moment in someone’s life. Most importantly, you are buying that artist more time to do something they are truly passionate about; something that makes all of the above worth the fear and the doubt; something that puts the life into living.
This will not apply to all art professionals (and certainly should not be taken as good advice by some) but it won’t hurt them either. All this message has to do is help decrease the number of “I’ll pay you in publicity” offers from people who are trying to sell ice to [Inuit], so to speak. Maybe it might even result in a few more artists getting paid for their work?
I realize this was “going around” while I was away, but I felt the need to reblog.
Final Fantasy is one of gaming’s most well-known roleplaying series with millions of fans. It stands to reason that a good portion of them would have to have to be crafters. On this edition of TomoTour, we look at some of the Final Fantasy-inspired loot to be found on Etsy. So cue the overworld theme, because we are going on an adventure!
Lady Abigail was part of a Tomopop feature! It’s even more of a surprise since I haven’t been actively interacting with this community for… a long time *cough*, but it’s still where my daily action figure news comes from. Thank you so much to Tomopop and Natalie Kipper for the feature!