Thursday, June 18, 2015

New Iridescent Flutter Earrings (and Facing Some Insecurity)!


I've been working with Kraft*Tex and iridescent films for awhile now with the DreamCuffs, but I've got ideas for other kinds of accessories as well.  
The past few weeks I've been working on some new earrings, and as usual, they surprised me!
I expected the cool color-shifting iridescent effect, but what I didn't anticipate is the way they move and reflect.  They are almost feather-light, and flutter in the breeze and as you move around - like shimmering aspen leaves!  
And as they are fluttering, they are casting sun-dappled reflections (the iridescent film shows on both the front and the back sides), as well as looking transparent from certain angles, creating a stained glass effect - flashing and glowing and generally creating an effect more magical than I'd ever hoped!


These earrings are also helping me face my insecurity about photos of myself.  
I am, as many of us are, quite self-conscious about this kind of thing.  I'm plump, I'm pushing 43 years of age, my hair is thin and fine and the gray has been creeping in for years, the wrinkles are starting to appear, the dark circles are chronic and hereditary. I'm no supermodel!
I know intellectually, and truly in my heart, that I am beautiful as I am (double chins, nascent wrinkles and gray hairs and all!), and that I don't have to be a supermodel to be beautiful.  

But when it comes to my business, I want to present my products well, and having professionally photographed, pretty girls modelling your fashions is apparently how successful designers present their work.  But paying for a pro photographer and having to arrange for a younger, thinner, hotter friend to model would require more patience (and $) than I possess when in a creative frenzy.  
My demand for instant gratification is overcoming my insecurity!  Whoo-hoo!


To be honest, I'm pretty put off by a lot of the fashion world, and how people are presented.  I don't really want to perpetuate the impossible, sometimes outright deceitful beauty standards that have been dominating.  My definition of beauty is WAY bigger than that.  I find beauty in people of all types!

So I've been modelling the earrings myself, and at first I cringed, having to look at so many images of my own face.  All I could see were the flaws. I DID manage to refrain from doing any Photoshopping beyond some cropping and general color correction.  In the first set, I didn't even put on any makeup, since I don't generally wear it unless I'm going "Out".
The more I faced these images, the more it sank in that I don't look half bad.  Good lighting, head position and camera angle can do wonders! And when I posted the pics, friends commented on how great I looked in the pictures.  So perhaps my pathetic, body dysmorphic, hyper-critical, b.s. Self Image is losing it's grip.


They liked the earrings, too.  :)

Check out my available selection at my Etsy Shop!:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/cristinamcallister?ref=hdr_shop_menu

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Fantasy Fashion for Fabulous Faeries!


I started all of this with a simple question: "If I were a fashion designer in the Faerie Realm, what would I design for my clients?"
Obviously, the designs would have to be elegant and fantastical, with graceful organic shapes, magical iridescent colors, maybe some crystal gems or pixie dust to add sparkle. Inspired by Nature, infused with elegant style, uniquely expressive and eye-catching.

 

My initial vision was of a pair of shimmering bracers, with fairy-wing shapes and iridescent colors.  I liked this idea...bracers are unfortunately an underutilized accessory! They are super cool-looking, and unlike a lot of clothing options, they look great on both men and women.  Why should only fictional characters get to wear awesome bracers???





Thus "DreamCuffs" were born; handmade, unique wearable art that’s armed and dangerously fabulous!

Wear them on bare arms, or over sleeves or gloves. Add some eye-catching style to your wardrobe, accessorize your favorite costumes or build a whole new outfit around them! There’s something empowering about strapping on a pair of bracers…like you can deflect any obstacles that come your way and let your Most Fantastical Self shine!




Since then, I've been letting my imagination run wild with new designs and colors and embellishments.  Some are more feminine, some are more masculine, many could go either way, and they are designed with a flexible fit that works for most adults. Many of them feature UV accents that glow under blacklight.  I've also got more sci-fi-themed designs, as well as more abstract geometrical styles (which I'll feature in a future post). 




Whether you’re a Dreamer or a Dancer, a Performer or a Party Monster, a Burner, a LARPer, a Raver or Cosplayer, a Crafter or Costumer or Fearless Fashionista, adding a pair of DreamCuffs to your wardrobe will take your style to the next level.
And they're not just for costume events...wear them out clubbing! Wear them at faires, festivals, parties, on dates, etc. Wear them as you would any other accessory or beloved piece of jewelry.  Wear them whenever you want to feel fabulous and fantastical!




Since I am a part of the Burning Man community, and many Burners enjoy playing with fire, I have also designed DreamCuffs to be safe to wear while fire-spinning. They are made with a leather base layer and have been fire-tested by striking them with lit poi and running flames over them for several seconds and they did not ignite or char. I can't guarantee that they won't catch if you wear them while fire-spinning, and you should always have a fire safely to assist you (of course!), but they performed well in our fire tests. 



One of the unique features of my DreamCuffs are the iridescent colors.  After a lot of experimentation and exploration of various materials, I found some iridescent films that come in a variety of colors.  And each color is actually several colors - as the light plays over them, the shades shift, revealing a magical spectrum of shimmering hues.  Adding a layer of painted color under the film creates different effects as well.  Metallic paints give the most vivid results, paler or more opaque colors create a pearlescent or opalline effect. Blending 2 or more colors creates a subtle gradient or pattern that is visible from certain angles, adding even more dynamic color play.  Every pair I make surprises me with some unexpected but gorgeous color combinations that naturally coordinate with a variety of colors, so they are flexible as far as what to wear them with.
The photos don't capture the true, live effect.  You have to see them in motion, in different kinds of light, to appreciate the lush depth and brilliant shifting shades.



 
 Check out my Etsy Shop to see what I currently have available.  I can also create custom color DreamCuffs just for you!  Choose a design and color combination and we'll work together to make you something gorgeous to compliment your outfit or express your favorite style.





Friday, April 17, 2015

Scenes From The Studio

I've been working out my DreamCuffs production flow, preparing for a few upcoming events.  Here are some snaps from my world.

DreamCuff detail layers cut from KraftTex, the Wonder Material!


My sticky cutting mat after peeling off a cut KraftTex layer.

These tiny bits are all over the house.  All. Over. The. House.

My Iridescent Film Color Charts, which I made to get an idea of how the different films interact with various colors painted under them.


My painting area, which has developed quite a lovely patina!

Check out the finished products at my Etsy Shop!