Putting in work

As I said in my last post, I’ve been busy. Busy making up for lost time.

One of the changes that’s been eluding me is the name of my shop. I’ve been feeling that “Space Cadet” just isn’t fitting to me anymore. I only have 2 designs left over from the original line, and they no longer fit with anything else I’ve produced.

I feel a change is happening with my work, my aesthetic, my life in general and it’s time to move on. So, Xappaland is the new name. Wow! Crazy right? Lol! I just figure it’s the last step in making everything flow seamlessly.

Since everything has been moving so fast, documenting it was something that didn’t even cross my mind. I participated in the RAW Showcase in Scottsdale at Martini Ranch on the 9th. This was quite the undertaking. You were responsible for everything including selling 20 tickets. I was pestering people for ticket sales, donations, rounding up models (2 of which backed out the day of), coordinating times for the models to try on their accessories, making the accessories as well as items to sell for the show.

It was insanity and I’m so proud that I was able to do it without freaking out too much! I want to take the time out here to thank the folks that helped me out. Thank you RAW! The program director was awesome and extremely helpful! Thank you to Lilly of Dead Meat Designs! The first few hours would have been so boring if it wasn’t for you guys! We had to be there at 3pm and the showcase doesn’t start till 7pm. Thank you everyone who purchased tickets (especially the one’s who did even when they weren’t able to attend), it’s an incredible feeling to have that support! The models were fantastic! A friend who doesn’t model, but saw that I needed help, volunteered for the runway. I’m so glad she was there! One of the models just happened to have a friend come to the show to support her and asked her to bring a black dress “just in case” I needed an extra model. As time got closer to the runway and the last model was running late, I ended up needing her to do just that. My friends and family who came to the event were very supportive and even braved the extremely loud music to see my show. I can’t thank you guys enough! So grateful that things worked out the way they did. Of course, there are lots of things I’ll do differently for the next event (whenever that is). It was a great learning experience and I was happy with how it came together.

I’m going to have to wait for a few weeks on the photos of the event, and I didn’t think to bring my camera with me. I did take some pics of a few items made for the runway show…

Hells bells earrings
Got ’em in brass too
Lava ring
Lava necklace
Nomad bracelet
Firebird headpiece
Talon headpiece

There were a few more items but, I think they need some revision before putting them up in the shop. The items above, with the exception of the headpieces are available in my Etsy shop. www.xappaland.etsy.com 

I’m also having a name change sale. Just enter xappy4me as a coupon code at check out and you’ll get 25% off your order. The sale will be on until midnight tomorrow. I’ve listed quite a bit of items recently. Check em out and feel free to pass the info onto your friends and family.
So, now that it’s over I’ve been switching gears and moving into the artwork for the Lambchop show next month…

This one’s gonna be a doozy!

Since I’m so bad at keeping secrets I’m gonna give you a tiny teaser from a piece I just finished for the show. It’s been a while since I’ve done any real drawing or painting….

Not too shabby me thinks!

I’m super excited to be a part of this show as I’ll be alongside some incredibly talented people. Hopefully I’ll see you there, and if not I’ll make sure to bring a camera this time around. There’s also the possibility of prints in foreseeable future. Stay tuned!
In the meantime here are some of the artists whose work I really enjoyed at the RAW showcase:

Deadmeat Designs

Patrick Murillo

Vania Elise

Cody Nathaniel Johnson

Check these folks out! Talent just oozing out of their pores! Love it.

Have a great week!

xoxo

Xappa

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Transitioning…again

I’ve been sort of comfortable in my life for the last 3 years. However, the recent death of my Grandmother really made me stop in my tracks and think about my life. I mean, REALLY think about it. My grandmother ( we called her “Nana”) was someone who always put herself last. I used to think that was a beautiful quality until I was old enough to see how it affected her and the people whom she came in contact with.

She was an incredibly creative and talented person, though she was always quick to dismiss compliments. She knew how to sew, crochet, make pottery, bead work, and was (of course) an incredible cook. Her craftsmanship was impeccable. She taught me how to make anything I asked. If she didn’t know how she would figure it out. This was always amazing to me and even somewhat magical.

It was because of these things that I felt she deserved more. So much more than what she even gave herself! The maybe’s could go on for years if I let them. This brings me to my point.

I don’t want to feel comfortable not doing what I am capable of. If 35 years of creating from my heart isn’t something I’m willing to invest in, than who the hell is? Over the years I’ve avoided trying to be completely on my own whereas my business is concerned. Too scared to let go of the side of the pool. Well Nana, it’s time to take the fucking swimmies off!

I’ve put in my notice at work and have been working feverishly on everything I’ve been putting off for the last 6 years. It’s time, and I’m scared shitless. Honestly though? I feel like this is the right thing to do. You know what else….?? Check this out…

When my Nana started getting sick I started working on new stuff:

brass and leather 2 finger ring

Piece work leather cuff made on my new walking foot sewing machine.

I began experimenting with materials and techniques. Challenging myself. I bought a pretty hefty piece of equipment and while I’m still learning how to use it, it’s building my skill. Here’s the first clutch attempt. If you like it you can purchase it here.

The last week of March I flew home to attend Nana’s funeral. It was quite a surreal experience. Crying every night I was there and working on a collage of her for the Rosary/viewing. I felt exhausted. This is a picture I had never seen before, and was overwhelmed by how well it captures her spirit.

I’m the one in the green jumper.

Returning home in a haze and exhausted from my visit. I recuperated with more work and lots of tv. My mom wasn’t doing well and decided to get out of the rain and visit us. It was a very short 9 days but really great for both of us. She returned home sunburned and refreshed.

 

 

Not the best picture, but I was happy to have the time with her.

After mom left, I felt rejuvenated. Plans began to propel my business forward began. My time was spent designing and creating. While I was working there was a lot of online television watching. I started watching Rupaul’s Drag Race. Oh the sheer entertainment and “shade of it all”! I love it! I particularly enjoyed this seasons winner, Sharon Needles.

I just thought Sharon (Aaron Coady) was a star! Completely different from any other lady on the runway (or the show for that matter), and so incredibly funny and talented. I was enamored with her and was really hoping she would win. And of course, she did. I went to work right away on something I thought she could wear with pride. I decided to design a lady death headpiece custom for her with a lot of black.

Here it is upon finishing:

 

The flowers were made from black leather with vintage faceted glass beads in the center of each. Faux crow skull I silver leafed last year. And lots of black, iridescent, and purple feathers. I was really proud of the way it turned out and packaged it up nicely for her. I sent it on Monday the 11th not really knowing if he would receive it, or if he would even like it, (although I really thought he would).

Less than a week later I come home after giving my lovely employer of 3 years a 30 day notice. My post work ritual of checking emails and Facebook was business as usual until I scroll through my news feed and see this…..

 

 

 

There he was as Sharon at an event in NY wearing the piece! Words cannot express how incredibly overwhelmed with emotion I was. It happened just when I was doubting my decision to take that leap. I commented on the photos and he commented back. Squeee!!! Such an amazing day!

After my high died down I went back to work on my stuff. I’m really excited to start the next chapter of my life, and I think Nana would be excited for me too. The first couple of pages are good so far…..what do you think?

 

 

My favorite time of the year.

I can hardly contain my excitement for the change in seasons. Hellooooo Fall! Almost. It takes a little while to show its face around here but when it does it’s fantastic!

The first event I get excited about when fall comes is Halloween. I LOVE Halloween!

The goth in me has been inspired to do some Halloween type things.  I’m on a roll with it so I thought I’d share a few things with you. First up, my gold leafed skulls…

If you want to gold leaf stuff yourself you’ll need:

1 package of gold or silver leaf (you can find this at any craft or art supply store)

adhesive (I used Old World Art gold leaf adhesive in the 2 oz. bottle)

varnish (Again, I used Old World Art gold leaf varnish in the 2 oz. bottle)

A tooth pick or stick (or anything you can use to move your item around without touching it during the adhesive & varnish process)

Paper towel or rag (for removing ink)

Burnishing tool

paint brush

Newspaper or junk mail (to lay under your project

Paint thinner (for cleaning your brush)

A pic of the supplies.

I got some awesome resin skulls from this lovely gal on Etsy. She did a custom order for me. As you can see, I started out with plain white skulls. Black ink was painted onto them for some depth.

They look kind of cool with just black on them, no?

After letting them dry, the adhesive was added. I was kind of amazed how little I needed. Once you apply the adhesive, you have to wait an hour before the next step. I busied myself with putting together the other half of my project which you’ll see at the end.

Here’s a blurry pic of one of the bird heads with the adhesive applied. it starts out white and dries to a clear tacky surface.

Get your leaf ready to apply.  You have to be pretty gentle with this stuff.

Once the adhesive was dry, the gold/silver leaf was applied to the skulls. The instructions said to use a soft brush. I started with a super soft brush and realized I needed one that had quite a bit more stiffness to it. The skulls I’m working with have much more texture than a flat surface. For the effect I wanted, the gold needed to get into some of those crevices and the stiffer brush really made all the difference.

Here is the cat skull with the gold leaf applied before burnishing.

Another of all of them after burnishing.  I didn’t take a photo of this step, but after the gold leaf is applied you want to polish the skulls with your burnishing tool. You do this by rubbing the surface gently with your tool. Do it in small circular motions. This smooths the surface, makes sure the leaf is pushed into the crevices, and gives the leaf a more natural look.

After burnishing my skulls I added some black ink to them.

I then rubbed the ink off with a moist paper towel. This will take the ink off the high spots and leave it in the low spots. It defines the detail and gives it a weathered look. You can skip the inking step entirely if you want a cleaner look.

Here’s one of the skulls after the ink has been rubbed off.

Once the ink has dried (which just takes a few minutes if even that), you’ll want to add your varnish. Definitely do this in a well ventilated area or outside.

Here are my lovely bones. The varnish takes 2 hours to dry. I put them in my laundry room with the vent fan on and left them overnight.


Here’s what I did with the gold bird skull. I made a head-piece with recycled leather flowers, copper studs, and feathers.

What do you think? I can’t wait to do the other skulls. It’s always satisfying to have an idea executed from start to finish. This was fun. It’ll be for sale in my shop.

I also couldn’t help myself. I’ve been wanting to do a bat for a while. I cut this one out of copper and enameled it with an opalescent charcoal grey. The result was more of a brown, but I like it just the same. It’s available in my shop for purchase.

I know this isn’t Halloween related but, I’ll be participating in the sketchbook project this year! I finally took the plunge. There are so many stories brewing in my head, it’ll be great to have them on paper and in all kinds of people’s hands.  There’s still time to participate if you’re interested. I’ll be posting my progress as it goes.

Well, my jewelry isn’t going to make itself so I’m going to get back to work. The holidays are right around the corner ya know! Thanks for hanging out with me.

xoxo

-Xappa