Thursday, March 20, 2014

An Interview with Ann Forseth of Romany Rapture

Hello, dear readers!  Today's interview is with Ann Forseth, clothing designer and owner of Romany Rapture:  Fun to wear, all handmade, luxurious and original Steampunk, Gothic and other Alternate History Fashion designs.  Her styles are elegant, sexy, and adorable, with many looks to choose from.  Come and read about Ann and her fantastic shop.

Ann Forseth of Romany Rapture
 

How did you become interested in designing clothing? 
First of all, a heartfelt Thank You to Cat for letting me share! XO 
As far back as I can remember I’ve been drawn to the exotic, colorful and highly decorated clothing of cultures and societies outside my realm and I really wanted to touch and wear them. Clothing and costumes are some of the most wide spread (world wide) forms of self expression. The cultural relevance of any sort of clothing style still intrigues me. I narrowed my focus starting in my teenage years when I began finding antique blouses, coats and dresses to buy. If they didn’t fit, I would alter them or adorn them with my own bits of found lace, ribbon, buttons, etc. When a purchased pattern wasn’t quite what I wanted my super seamstress mom would help me get it to where I envisioned it should be. That simple delight in seeing and then going on to make, (in my own way) interesting and creative clothing is probably the beginning of my interest in designing clothing from start to finish.
 
How long have you been designing ?


I’ve been at it about 18 years. The last 6 years more seriously.
 
What or who inspires your creations?
The shapes and movement of people I see every day are the most inspiring. Fabric speaks quite eloquently to me and can convince me rather quickly that I need to take it home and transform it into some other shape! I really love the Victorian and Baroque styles for the exuberant way textiles and trims were applied. So many layers and colors and textures, oh yes! The colors of India are another huge source of inspiration. I realize not everyone can be as enamored with color as I am but Indian fabric is so cheerful and utterly alive. Then there is the dark and secretive feel of black you can usually find in Gothic styles. Pure elegance there, I love it.

How do you begin your design process? 
Lots of thinking…letting my brain build something I can work with I guess. Sometimes the ideas present themselves fully formed. I then sketch out the various parts of the garment. I’m not very good at fashion illustration so I do drawings of parts rather than the whole. Then I dig around in my fabric collection to see which ones strike me as compatible, or… do I need to buy some? I love it when that happens!

 
Pic includes my model; Shannon Boxrz on the left, myself and author Nikki McCormack, who also has kindly modeled for me on occasion. Author Nikki McCormack
 
What are your favorite fabrics and or styles to work with?
I love woven fabrics. Natural fibers like silk, linen, and cotton are lovely to handle. Sometimes the fabric is so well behaved I just want to sing!! I’ll admit to my fabric addiction right now. Jackets are my most favorite garment to make. Things that are both fitted yet flow I like, also styles that allow me to add trim. I really like decorating the garments! So, Victorian, Steampunk, Gothic and my lifelong personal favorite style; Boho-Hippie-Fairy-Summer Girl.
Circus Punk Outfit   Model is Arika Thomas
 
What other interests and hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time?
Sewing and designing can be very structured so my “off”time I find myself doing things with less structure. I still sew….goodies like freeform bags and voodoo dolls. I love my camera and it goes everywhere with me. Hiking, gardening, archery, dancing, painting, screen printing, reading are a few things I enjoy when I have time. Taking a class in something new is great fun, and stirs up the brain cells! I’m starting soon in a fashion photography class and I’m very patiently teaching myself to drum, a hand drum called a djembe.
What is your most treasured handmade possession?
An earring/bracelet set my daughter made for me, in greens and blues with a silver turtle charm. And a quilt my mom made when I was 13, in the brilliant colors she knew I loved so much.
  
 
Models are Shannon Boxrz and Nikki McCormack

Where can we find your lovely clothing designs?
You can find me on Etsy
Also on my website
other places I play…
Thank you so much, Ann!  Until next time dear readers! XOXO Cat
 
**ALL PHOTOS ARE COPYRIGHT OF AND COURTESY OF ANN FORSETH AND ROMANY RAPTURE.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

LAUGHING VIXEN LOUNGE'S ANNUAL VALENTINE'S GIVEAWAY!

Hello, dear readers!  In case you have not seen the link on my blog, don't forget that Laughing Vixen Lounge is having her 4th annual 14 Nights of Valentine's Day Movie Marathon Giveaway! She does some of the most fabulous giveaways around! Make sure to stop by her main Giveaway Post and enter to win a $400+ Prize Pack full of decadent treats from 16 fabulous shops! A $30.00 gift certificate to my pefume shop is in the prize pack, as well as so many more amazing treats and goodies from some fabulous shops.  The link to the main post and rafflecopter entry box is below.  Good luck and have fun!  XOXO  Cat

http://laughingvixenlounge.blogspot.com/2014/02/4th-annual-14-nights-of-valentines-day.html

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

An Interview with Melanie of Belle Bijou Atelier


Today I have an interview with Melanie of Belle Bijou Atelier.  Her shop is full of gorgeous and lush gemstone creations and I completely love it all, including her tagline!

"Belle Bijou Atelier: Beautiful Jewelry For Beautiful Women."

Melanie: Jewelry designer, writer, and owner of Belle Bijou Atelier


How did you become interested in designing jewelry?

Several years ago I was shopping at what was then known as Marshall Field (now known as Macy’s) and I saw a very simple beaded necklace. I believe it was about $140 which, at the time, was completely out of my price range. As I studied the necklace, I realized that I could probably make it myself. I lived not far from a bead store that I passed by all of the time, so I stopped in, purchased some materials and went to work. Within an hour or so I completed it and it looked even better than the one in Marshall Field (I thought anyway…)!
 

 
How long have you been designing?

I’ve been designing jewelry for over 15 years; however I’ve become more serious about actually selling my pieces within the past two years.



What inspires your creations?

I love color contrast! Wherever I go I gravitate toward colors. Whether it’s a bright yellow front door set against the dark brown bricks of a home in Ireland or a display of red and orange peppers in the grocery, the contrast of color really gets my creative juices flowing. I try to re-create that in my jewelry. I’ll combine Turquoise nuggets with a carved Carnelian pendant or Peridot rondels with Ruby briolettes – nothing is off limits for me!

 


What are your favorite materials or stones to work with?

Gemstones, gemstones, and more gemstones! I absolutely LOVE the feeling of caressing stones in my hands. I truly believe that all things hold some sort of power within them and gemstones are no exception. I’ve dabbled in Precious Metal Clay and tried my hand at creating glass beads but I get no greater joy than to sit silently at my workstation with a couple of strands of gems, feel them in my hands and allow them to tell me what they want to become.



What memories do you you have of the first piece of jewelry you created and what has been a favorite piece for you?

What I love about that first piece of jewelry that I made is the sense of accomplishment that it gave me. Not only did I make something with my own hands, people complimented me on it – what a wonderful feeling! Sadly I no longer have that necklace, (it got lost in too many moves, I guess). My favorite piece now is a bracelet created with delicate faceted Watermelon Tourmaline rounds and with Swarovski Crystal spacers strung on 14k gold filled coated wire. It has a tiny faceted Watermelon briolette hanging from the clasp. The rounds are strung on the bracelet in an Ombre effect so the stones go from pale pink, to fuchsia to dark green, much like a watermelon slice. I only had one strand of these Tourmaline rounds and, after I created the bracelet, there weren’t enough to create another. I posted to sell for a few hours before taking it down and keeping it for myself. I wear it all of the time with a bracelet created with faceted Ruby rondels of graduated sizes. They look stunning together.



What other interests and hobbies do you enjoy?

I very much enjoy writing. I’ve actually started the outline for the first of a three part series of mystery novels set l in England. The heroine of the story is an American ex-pat who owns a small string of jewelry boutiques (naturally…). I hope to self-publish by the end of the year.



What is your most treasured handmade possession?

My most treasured handmade possession is not something that I created. I have a client who purchased a pair of earrings in the Spring. After she received them she emailed me to thank me. She shared that she would have liked to have ordered more, specifically one of my pieces that had a photo of the Eiffel Tower on it, but she could not afford to. For Christmas, I surprised her by sending her the piece. She was so moved that she sent me a beautiful handmade card with a lovely note written inside and a handmade linen handkerchief lined with lace. That handkerchief means so much to me. I hope to be able to pass it down to my granddaughter when she is of age.



Where can we find your beautiful jewelry designs?

You can find my designs at www.bellebijouatelier.etsy.com. I also have a Facebook page where I try to have a special or giveaway ever month www.facebook.com/bellebijouatelier .
I also have the following pages where I post regularly:
Twitter (@bellebijoujewel)
• Pinterest (Belle Bijou Atelier)
• Instagram (bellebijouatelier)


 
 
Melanie, thank you for helping us learn more about your lovely shop!
 ...until next time, dear readers!
 
Love, Cat
 
 
**ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF AND COPYRIGHT OF BELLE BIJOU ATELIER AND MAY NOT BE COPIED**

Monday, November 18, 2013

Truly "Fangtastic" Cards: An Interview with Alura Lapierre of Immortally Yours

Today I have an interview with the multi talented Alura Lapierre.  Alura has quite the entrepreneurial spirit; she owns several online shops from paper arts and cards with Immortally Yours, antiques with Alluring Antiques, and handcrafted soaps and body products with the Soap Witch Bath Co.  Today I will be focusing on her card and paper arts shop.  Read on to learn more about Alura and Immortally Yours!


Alura Lapierre
What inspired you to become a card designer and paper artist?

I've been scrapbooking since the 90's. After meeting my husband, my paper arts took a turn into another realm. If found myself inspired by him. But also inspired my vampires, Gothic literature, Poe, fairies and Marie Antoinette.  


 


Holiday Marie Antoinette Cards
Holiday Marie Antoinette Cards
How do you begin your design process and what are your favorite materials?

I work with all sorts of papers. I do love some of the more widely available papers that I can find at the craft store but I also look for unique Italian papers and handmade paper.

I love embellishments like flowers, lace, ribbon.  Because I love each card to be unique, I try to not make any that are identical-although some might be similar in nature.
 

Steampunk Cards
Steampunk Cards
Gothic and Hallween Cards
Gothic/ Halloween Cards
You have a lot of gothic elements and baroque themes in your cards. What is your favorite theme to create around?

I love Gothic elements and elegant themes. I feel that my cards are from another time, a time when women wore elegant gowns and men were chivalrous.

I am inspired by Marie Antoinette and her Rococo lifestyle which I use to design cards that I feel reflect her spirit.

My more Gothic cards are very inspired by Poe and Vampires. I think my darker cards have a romantic element to them. I want to create an aesthetic beauty that captures the feel of the Victorian era.

Not to mention that I also adore Halloween, and I make alot of Halloween themed cards-although you can give them for any occasion.


Gothic Cards
Gothic Cards
 
Describe the very first card you made and who it was for.

My first cards on etsy were out in 2009-The Witches Cottage collection. Cottage chic feeling but with an underlying Witch theme.



Holiday Cards
Holiday Cards
 
Romantic Gothic Cards
Romantic Gothic Cards

What types of music do you listen to while you are in designer mode?

Nox Arcana, Trobar de Morte, Midnight Syndicate are all wonderful bands and I love to play them when I'm creating.
 


Dark Valentine/Gothic Cards
Dark Valentine/Gothic Cards
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

In my spare time, I find myself reading or planning a meal. I love to cook and consider myself an amateur chef!
 
Gothic and Victorian Cards
Gothic and Victorian Cards

What handmade possession do you treasure the most?

It's hard to say because I have so many! I do have a scarf that I got as a gift, it's 9 feet long and wraps around me like 5 times...my neck is never cold in the winter!


All Occasion Dark Cards
All Occasion Dark Cards

Where can we find your cards and paper arts?

immortallyyourscards.thecraftstar.com/
www.etsy.com/shop/ImmortallyYours
www.facebook.com/pages/Immortally-Yours/440750149325293
foreveryours.indiemade.com/

Thank you so much for the interview, Alura!

Until Next Time......Love, Cat


***ALL PHOTOGRAPHS IN THIS BLOG POST ARE PROPERTY OF AND COURTESY OF ALURA LAPIERRE AND IMMORTALLY YOURS***


Victorian Holiday Cards
Victorian Holiday Cards

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Romantica Nocturnis: An Interview with Clothing Designer Joelle Richard

Greetings, Everyone! Today I have an interview with Joelle Richard, the lovely clothing designer behind Romantica Nocturnis: Victoriana and alternative clothing and accessories for women and men. I hope you enjoy reading about Joelle and her clothing designs :)

Joelle Richard, designer and owner: Romantica Nocturnis


How did you realize you had a calling to design clothing?

My interest in fashion really only peaked once I realized how much I was drawn to the Goth aesthetic. Once I started trying to build myself a Gothic wardrobe, I got the sense that most of the clothes that I wanted to wear weren't available to me, and I would sometimes sketch designs that were in my head. My boyfriend (now fiancé) was the one who suggested I pursue fashion design, and I did need some convincing at first. But I was a waitress at the time and hated my job, so I eventually decided that going back to school and learning a skill that I could use towards a creative career was the way to go.

Victorian pinstripe waist skirt by Romantica Nocturnis


How long have you been creating handmade clothing?

I started studying fashion at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design in 2006, and graduated from the Fashion Design diploma program in 2009, and with a diploma of Advanced Study in 2010. I started up Romantica Nocturnis in September of 2010, so I've been doing it professionally for just over two and a half years, but I would say that I've had the skills to really bring my designs to life since 2009.

Victorian pinstripe shrug with short sleeves


What or who inspires your creations?

Inspiration can come from endless different places. But I can certainly say that historical fashion, particularly from the Victorian era, has a big draw for me. I never go for historical accuracy, though, I just bring specific elements into my designs. I'll also pick up design elements from other places, like on TV and in movies, photos on the internet, people on the street, even from characters in video games and anime. One tiny detail can inspire a whole outfit, and then that outfit can inspire a whole collection.

Victorian velvet and lace top by Romantica Nocturnis


How do you begin your design process?

I'd like to say that I always start with a sketch or illustration, but the truth is that sometimes I never commit the ideas to paper. Sometimes I get so excited by a new design idea that I'll want to just jump right in! Next comes pattern drafting, which I get a lot of satisfaction from when I'm able to work out a new kind of pattern all on my own. I'm at a point where I can generally picture in my head, from start to finish, exactly how I'll go about creating a garment, and that's something I'm pretty proud of.

Victorian men's velvet waistcoat


What are your favorite fabrics to work with?

Even as a student I always felt the need to challenge myself with my designs, so I've never shied away from using difficult fabrics. So when I say that I love working with velvet, lace, and satin, it's because I love the look of them, and not because it's easy! Stretch velvet in particular, which I tend to use quite often, can be a real pain to work with. But it's well worth the trouble to have the finished piece be made from a beautiful fabric.


Victorian men's velvet spats


What other things besides clothing do you enjoy creating?

While I've always been a very creative person, especially as a child, I have to say that lately I don't really spend a lot of time making things other than clothing. I've always enjoyed drawing, but I hardly ever draw anymore now. I used to devote a lot of time to playing music too, but don't feel the need to do that anymore either. I painted my kitchen recently, does that count? ;)

Stretch lace sleeves


What other interests do you enjoy in your spare time?

Well, I will proudly admit that I'm a giant geek, so a lot of my hobbies are of a geeky nature. I love to read, particularly fantasy novels, and I'm a long-time gamer (currently playing Skyrim and also Tetris occasionally). My fiancé and I also enjoy listening to various podcasts together, and there are, of course, a few TV shows I enjoy - I can't get enough of Once Upon a Time, and am eagerly awaiting season three of Game of Thrones.

Velveteen corset, satin circle skirt and lace shrug, One of a kind by Romantica Nocturnis
 
What is your favorite quotation?

That's a difficult thing to narrow down, but being very fond of Oscar Wilde I'll choose “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”
 
Faux-leather bustier and satin bustle skirt, One of a kind by Romantica Nocturnis
 
 
Where can we find your lovely clothing designs?

www.etsy.com/shop/RomanticaNocturnis
www.facebook.com/romanticanocturnis
 
Black velveteen and blue jacquard dress, One of a kind by Romantica Nocturnis
 
Thank you for the interview, Joelle!  Until next time, Dear Readers!  xoxo Cat
 
** ALL PHOTOGRAPHS ARE THE PROPERTY OF AND COPYRIGHT OF JOELLE RICHARDS AND ROMANTICA NOCTURNIS AND ARE USED WITH PERMISSION.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dank Artistry: An Interview with Spoon Jeweler, Dan Kemp

I have had a passion for spoon rings and spoon jewelry since my dear aunt Isabella gave me an old spoon ring she had owned back in the 1970's.  Suddenly I was in love with silverware and patterns.  My personal favorite pattern is the Charter Oak, but I have developed a love for spoon jewelry with roses and those with Art Nouveau patterns. Because of the multitude of patterns out there, there is a diverse array of looks and styles from a very Victorian look to a very modern Gothic look. I think it's a very unique and affordable way to create a really cool and fashionable look!

Today I have my interview with Dan Kemp, the talented spoon jeweler of  Dank Artistry. I am in love with his unique collection of patterns and the heirloom quality jewelry he creates from them. Now let's meet Dan!


"How did you become interested in creating spoon jewelry?"


It came about sort of organically. After quitting my job I started making a bunch of stuff to sell. I originally thought I was going to make a business of sewing and selling pants. Pants were hard to sell because there are so many different sizing options. I started to make jewelry to sell as well. I was melting down spoons to make organically shaped pendants. I found a few spoons with some really cool designs and made them into crude spoon rings. They sold much better than anything else I was making at the time so I just kept making them!

Dan Kemp

"What is the most unique piece of spoon jewelry you have created in terms of your design?"

I think my spoon and fork sculptures are the most unique. I am fascinated by insects and flowers, and have made a few models of insects out of spoons that have turned out great. I don't sell those online, they are something I do to exercise my creativity.
Spoon Insect by Dank Kemp
 
"Do you have a favorite pattern or one you consider the most coveted to find?"

That's like asking me to pick my favorite child! I love the Art Nouveau period patterns from 1900 - 1910. I collect Watson's and Wallace's floral series teaspoons just for fun.


"What do you remember about your very first customer and sale?"

When began I was selling my jewelry and art at a small craft market in a tiny town, I sold a few things to friends at the sales first. The first thing I really sold to someone I didn't know, (or who wasn't a friend of a friend) was a spoon ring. I remember thinking that perhaps I really would be able to make it in my own business. At that time I was really poor, making just enough to pay my bills.

 
"Apart from designing stunning spoon and silverware jewelry, what else do you enjoy doing?"

My wife and I spend a lot of time with our friends laughing. I have an addiction to rex begonias and live bearing fish. I also have a big collection of instruments I like to practice and learn to play. Last year I decided I wanted to become financially literate, so I spend a lot of time learning about money.


"What handmade possession do you personally cherish the most?"

On our wedding day my mom presented my wife and I with a painting of us finger painting together as children. It's a beautiful painting she made. It's kind of humorous because when I was the age I am in the painting, my wife was still in diapers. My wife's hand in the painting is taken from a picture of my brother's hand in a photo from when we were kids. It's quirky, strange, and funny if you know the story behind the painting. Once everyone involved is dead it will be a wonderful heirloom:)

 
 "What music do you listen to while you create your pieces?"

I listen to Folk music from:  folkalley.com

Dan Kemp in his studio workshop



"Where can we find your beautiful jewelry?"

www.facebook.com/DankArt
www.dankartistry.etsy.com
www.artfire.com/ext/shop/studio/DankArtistry
www.dankartistry.com

Thank you, Dan!
**All photos courtesy of and copyright of Dan Kemp and Dank Artistry.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I Do Believe in Faeries: An Interview with Theresa MacNaughton of Faerie Moon Creations

Greetings, everyone!  Today I have a little interview with the multi-talented Theresa MacNaughton of Faerie Moon Creations.  I have been a fan of Theresa's art for some time now and just recently released a perfume featuring her sweet and gorgeous art that she created just for my perfume.  Now let's read on about Theresa and take a look at some of her magical art and her whimsical, and romantic jewelry :)



What inspired you to become an artist?

I have always loved art since I was a child. I entertained the idea of becoming an artist as a teenager, but life took me down a different path. It wasn't until several years ago that I had the urge to try again – but offering original art and jewelry on etsy.





What are you favorite art mediums to create with?


I love working with acrylic paint and colored pencil. When I was younger, I was actually afraid of color...but now I embrace it!



What is your favorite theme to create around?

My favorite themes are whimsy, nature, and faeries.  




Can you tell us how you begin creating a piece?


When creating an art piece, I will usually have an idea in my mind of how I want it to look. I'll begin sketching the main image and take it from there, I especially love to work on faces. I adore creating beautiful eyes – because I believe that's where stories are told.



You also make a lot of lovely jewelry, tell us a little about the pieces you make and what inspires them.
I enjoy making jewelry that I, myself, would like to wear. I often create one-of-a-kind pieces but sometimes will duplicate a design if I find it is really popular. Our jewelry designs are whimsical and pretty and nature-based. My husband is my jewelry partner-in-crime. He works on the metal designs – he enjoys manipulating silver and copper and turning them into interesting, unique jewelry pieces.


What is the most unique piece of art or jewelry you have created?


A bracelet we call “Mystic Moons” is one of our more unique pieces. I love the natural look of the earthy colored beads along with the copper washers and silver spirals. A lot of work went into this piece. My husband had a great time working on it.


What other hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time?
I love reading, photography, hiking, baking (especially cupcakes) and knitting.



What handmade possession do you cherish the most?
My favorite handmade possession actually came from my husband. He actually found this lovely smooth large rock that was in the shape of a heart. He beautifully painted in delicate shades of red and inscribed it with “My love for you is as solid as a rock.” I simply adore it. He often makes me little handmade trinkets from nature findings.

Where can we find your sweet, lovely artwork and beautiful jewelry and read more about you?


Thank you so much for sharing, Theresa!
 
Now, here is the artwork Theresa, created for my newest perfume oil, Naenia.  The first TEN people to buy the perfume will get one of ten special LIMITED EDITION art print bookmarks of this artwork by Theresa.  This art will be found no where else, so only ten of you will have a chance to own an art print of it as a large format bookmark.  They are protected in plastic and come with a tassel. Theresa has made these very lovely for you :)
 
 
See you again soon!  XOXO  Cat
 
**Photographs courtesy of and copyright of Theresa MacNaughton of Faerie Moon Creations.
** Perfume listing copyright of Cat Marx of Deep Midnight Perfumes, Artwork Copyright of Theresa MacNaughton and Faerie Moon Creations, for use by Deep Midnight Perfumes Only.