Much in the way of random shiny!
I was commissioned by an old, dear, and remarkably supportive friend for something of a wearable fisher totem. Initial thoughts were simple. So we all knew it had to unravel into sparkly delightfully chaos, right? Of course it wasn't really that bad; the work was greatly enjoyed, I learned a heck of a lot about fishers/"fisher cats", and even managed to teach myself a few additional techniques which I'll be using in the future for other critters, but the waiting for various beads and things to come by mail was very unfun. I'm also pretty sure I caused any number of panic attacks through progress shots, since this wasn't something that actually came together and looked anywhere near finished until it was about 90% done. But do let it be said that when I am graciously "overpaid" for a project, I will earn every last penny.
Since this creature was designed to be wearable and super sturdy, there are a number of reinforcements, both internal and external. While still a touch "squishy" as my beaded critters tend to be, there's a lot more general firmness and lack of flexibility to this one. I also wound up using four different colors of beads, from light golden brown to dark brown (and the main coppery brown color of the body is, of course, comprised of discontinued beads, argh!), mimicking the natural color variations of fishers. As to be expected, no camera is rarely able to actually reflect as much, as getting the light "just right" usually results in over-bright and fuzzy images. Fun for everyone.
As for the harness, well... an embedded bail was just weird and uncomfortable looking, y'know? And I'd already sort of been thinking about what I'd like to do for a harness/bail combination, so when I got permission I just ran with it. The wire is stainless steel (and VERY STURDY ow my hand), and the little silver eyes are indeed sterling silver.
Overall, I'm happy with the result (though clearly the commissioner's happiness is sort of key, too). It would not have happened without an extremely patient and encouraging commissioner who had faith in me even through my seeming ineptitude and many mentions of internal screaming. Heh.
What you see before you is a Peaceful Bavi, bringer of peaceful dreams and soft, slow awakenings. (Also lovers of tummy rubs, in case you'd like to know.) Bavi are dream spirits, more or less; entities from the Great Dreaming who pass into mortal dreams at their whim. In general, they're quite friendly, content with just a hello (though not saying hello after you've recognized one is considered rude, and you may wake up with a numb limb as a consequence), however if you choose to feed one, then they will continue to find you from time to time. They're playful entities, and a little mischievous; though if you are knowingly, directly harmful to one, the consequences will likely be severe. They do protect their own, much as they will protect those who are kind to them.
So I wanted to take a shot at further editing the pattern for the Daydream Bavi. The plan was definitely to come up with one that represented peaceful dreams, so a blue and slightly off-white color scheme seemed appropriate. Beyond that, I just kind of wandered. I knew I wanted something a little "incoherent", dream-like but soft, and I think I managed. The Bavi themself is soft and fuzzy fleece with cotton embroidery floss detailing (further sparkled-up with iridescent blue pigment and fabric paint afterward), the patch of "scales" on their rump smooth beads. The mask is a strengthened and reinforced papier mache-type base, horns left accented but bare, while the rest was coated with handmade paper and then accented with beads and chain.
Bavi are dream spirits, more or less; entities from the Great Dreaming who pass into mortal dreams at their whim. This happens to be a Daydream Bavi, a rarer sight since humans are always being told that they shouldn't daydream, and so miss out on the opportunity to see these creatures. In general, Bavi are quite friendly, content with just a hello (though not saying hello after you've recognized one is considered rude, and you may wake up with a numb limb as a consequence), however if you choose to feed one, then they will continue to find you from time to time. Some have even struck up quite a rapport with a Bavi, learning even to directly communicate with them. They're playful entities, and a little mischievous; though if you are knowingly, directly harmful to one, the consequences will likely be severe. They do protect their own, much as they will protect those who are kind to them.
This... wasn't actually supposed to happen. I'd made a quick test pattern and used some old white felt in order to test it on fabric so I could edit the pattern accordingly, with no plans to keep it in one piece... but I'm me, and I should have known better. Ultimately, I was inspired quite a bit by Hayao Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli films, where there are creatures both strangely enchanting and just a little... unnerving, in a way. Something that maybe most humans aren't meant to know very well. I've also had these face and sun cabochons for years and finally found just the right use for them.
Coming off a little rest period from the Materia Cuff commission, some very lovely and magnificent person actually asked me if I could do a fantasy beaded mask blending elements of both my (DFMW) Beaded Chainmaile Mask and Submerging. I could not say “YES” quickly enough.
The basic idea behind the beaded curtain was to hide the eyes while still allowing vision. To my surprise, it worked! I mean, er, to my absolute expertise in these matters. Yes. Ahem. Every hanging strand ends in either a single gold delica bead and a crimson-burgundy freshwater pearl drop, or a light gold Swarovski crystal with a red glass drop. While the front is notably more heavy that the rest, the way the diamond pattern rests against and around the head actually distributes the weight in a way that doesn’t make it feel like your neck is always fighting with it.
All in all, I’m extremely happy with how this came out. Thank you so much to the commissioner for the opportunity!
Akanksha isn't quite one of those magical fish who grants wishes. If a cruel person catches her, then what she whispers in their ear is the truth of their cruelty, and how the rest of the world is pained by such actions. If a kind person catches her, she will whisper to them of the good things that they have done, and encourage them about the good things that are still left to do.
Fitting, then, that Akanksha would be a barrette. I'd just been looking at images of koi and fighting fish and... decided to try something different? I have no other explanation. And I finally found a use for beading thread, at long last! Ahem. Those larger beads are mostly gemstone (and argh, I can only identify the quartz with any certainty; the rest is "dyed something") and therefore heavy. Her pectoral fins are wired beads, and her dorsal fin is comprised of only beads a thread, reinforced with iridescent paint so that it's flexible.
Some charms are painstakingly created over years, magic and materials carefully selected, crafted, moved into place so very delicately. Others are made quickly and with desperation from nearby materials for a single-minded hope and purpose. It is the opinion of some mages that both types of charms can be equally effective.
As happens so often, I was just going through materials and staring at a few of them and then... er, this. Plus a little story in my head.
A few days previous, I had been playing with polymer clay and the "stone" effects I might be able to get, and then "antiqued" bronze wire, pressed metal wing charms and that copper diamond came in to the picture. Things happened. For all the simplicity, I really enjoy how it came out.
Still very young and unaware of the ways of the world, the seventeenth daughter of Nature decided to take a husband. There were many years of bliss, until her husband became ill. When his eyes ceased to see her and his chest ceased to move, she cried out in anguish for her mother's help; but Nature told her this was the way of mortals, and she could do nothing to go against their fate. Nature's daughter begged the birds to take her soul to her husband's, but they too could not go against the way of things. Devastated and alone, the daughter of Nature tore apart her wedding dress and began to fashion her own bird, sewn together with her own hair, bejeweled with her own blood, its eyes made from her own crystallized tears held in place by her own wedding ring. She breathed the breath of life into the bird, and when its wings spread and flapped she begged for it to take her soul to her husband's. The end of the tale changes depending upon the storyteller, but they generally agree that the bird took her to meet her husband, and Nature would never again acknowledge her seventeenth daughter.
That weird little story was in my head the entire time I was making this... bird-thing. I just wanted something simple between projects, so of course I wound up with something much more complicated. It's weird and different and I really wanted to reflect that messy, desperate, grief-stricken emotion that's reflected in the story. Despite how "messy" it all looks, though, it's still very well put together. I swear, I could do no less.
All entirely hand-sewn from satin brocade (wow was that an experience) from a not-really-followed vague memory of a pattern I think I may have seen on the internet years ago. Then I added plenty of glass beads, coated wire, two quartz beads for the eyes, and surely a little insanity all around. Well I like it, so there.
Despite appearances, Pyrria is actually quite shy. She opens up and becomes the life of the party when she's comfortable, but until then she is more than content to explore on her own or find a nice little quiet spot to roost and sing to herself.
Pyre birds are often mistaken for phoenixes by (hopefully) well-meaning but generally easily-distracted or just plain inattentive mages, magicians and alchemists. They're more closely related to dragons than they are to phoenixes, legs designed for running at high speeds and leaping. That's not to say they don't fly, of course; they rely more on self-made heated air (in part thanks to the heartstone) to stay afloat than their wings. There was some, shall we say, "unpleasantness" a while back regarding humans and their inability to keep their hands off sparklies that they proclaimed as their own, hence why pyre birds are rarely seen these days.
Things that I had planned: using "flower" beads for the wings and tail, trying a polymer clay beak, and giving her roadrunner feet. (Roadrunners are cool, be quiet.) Things I did not plan: EVERYTHING ELSE. That said, I'm really quite happy with how she turned out. My days of chocobo making paying off, eh?
The "heartstone" is a great big lovely goldstone cabochon, and her eyes are green aventurine. There are many, many beads, both glass and acrylic. And by some strange miracle, I've only managed to include six Swarovski crystals. Six! But I did manage to use ALL of the gold-colored wire I had. Every last inch. And quite a lot of silver, too, though that's part of the internal structure. I had planned to give her a hinged/moveable jaw, but ultimately decided that the initial design would probably wear out far too fast and it was a little too late for a redesign, so... it's set this time. We'll see if there's a "next time" at some point. ...I don't want to think about that right now.
Side note: she's also very good with dogs.