Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Zibie fox: head form

I picked up the head form for the zibie fox today!  The guy was nice enough to chop off the neck for me and round it off.  He was all excited that we girls (Gypsy went with me) weren't grossed out by his work and we ended up talking to him for a bit.  Anyway, in case you're wondering what a taxidermy form looks like, here are some phone photos:

--The form fitted loosely into the fox's head:

--The form by itself (the last one is with the Swarovski rivoli "eyes" I'll be using):

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Other upcoming projects (not all ACC related)

Scattered thoughts about some projects that I really need to get going on (once my current batch of custom orders is finished!):

--Zibellino fox: I've tried several times now and I just can't seem to get a vintage fox with high enough quality, yet low enough price, to be feasible for a zibellino.  So, after poking around the internet and looking at some taxidermy sites, I thought, "Why not use a taxidermy head form inside a modern garment-tanned fox pelt?"  The form would give the head a hard shape I need to attach my zibie head onto, and if it works well I can finally make zibie foxes for those people who've asked for them!  I ordered a head form (over $30! yikes!) and I'm supposed to be able to pick it up tomorrow!  I'm hoping I can use glue and small tacks to attach the pelt's head to the taxidermy form,  I'm thinking that there will be an ugly bit/gap under the chin though, so I may have to cover it with cloth? trim?  We'll see how big the gap is.  I'm also going to try attach a large alligator clip under the chin so he can clip to his own tail/leg like the vintage stoles.  More on this project as I play with it!

--Zibellino marten: In the 1547 inventory of King Henry VIII's "Quenes Juelles", there is an intriguing mention of a clock in the head of a zibellino: "Item a lytle square Coofer coured with nedell worke having in the same two sables skynnes with aheade of golde being a clocke in each eye a rocke rubie and about the color three smalle table rubies and iij small table dyamoundes with iiij fete of golde."  Now, how can I pass that up???  I do have a sable pelt, but he's rather small so I'm opting to use a really nice stone marten that I've been saving make a zibie for myself.  Martens are closely related to sables, so I think he'll work nicely.  I found a pretty little watch face that I think won't be too distractingly modern:
 The idea is that I'll plant it right in the middle of his forehead (since the inventory doesn't mention where the clock is).  I figure that if I cut out the area where the watch back will be, then insert the watch face, I can then change the battery just by removing the zibie head from the pelt!

Venetian flag fan:  If I can talk Noelle out of a chunk of her parchment, I'd like to use it to make the "flag" portion of the fan.  I'll have to rely heavily on my scribal friends (you know who you are!) to help me make it pretty, then I'll attach it to a handle possibly made with one of these two choices:
I'm going to try my metal powder on the wood since it's supposed to be able to anneal onto it as well as the clay; that way I'll have a "metal" handle!  I also might attempt to make a feather fan as well...heaven knows I have plenty of feathers kicking around, as well as an excellent source for them!

Taking the plunge into the world of sewing...

I do not like sewing.  I can put a sailor to shame with the lovely expressions that fly from my mouth.  That said, I've decided that it's time to really put that to the test and make sure, for reals, whether I'm going to spend the rest of my life bribing others to do my sewing or if I will suck it up and do it myself.  It's kinda like when you say, "I hate onions" and people say, "Oh, but you just haven't had onions the way I cook them!"  So you try them, and maybe their particular flavor of onion isn't as foul, but it's still foul...or you taste, then think, "Wait, those onions I like!"

I happen to know some really wonderful seamstresses.  I continually find myself standing in awe of their mad sewing skillz!  One in particular, my fabulous friend Noelle, has suffered through my sewing angst in the past and, amazingly, she's still willing to teach me!

Now, to the meat of the matter: Recently the Artemisian Costuming Challenge was issued.  The challenge is to create at least 4 layers of costuming, from the skin out, before the end of the year.  I talked to Noelle and she is willing to help me with the sewing aspects...she is a GODDESS!!!  I figure that when I feel my head's going to explode or I may get violent, I'll attack the other aspect of the challenge: accessories!  I like making accessories!  Jewelry is my forte, but my little zibellini are fast catching up.  :) So, here's my proposal:

Inspiration portrait:  Portrait of a Lady by Agnolo Bronzino c1550

1st Layer (underwear):  A linen camacia (solid neckline) with white blackwork (is that the correct way to phrase that?).  I'm trading making jewelry for the embroidery.  Linen from stash.

2nd Layer (main garment):  A side-back lacing kirtle.  Yellow brocade from stash.

3rd Layer (outer layer):  Zimarra (thank you for reminding me of the correct term, Crystal!).  Blue cotton velvet from stash.

4th Layer (an accessory):  "An" accessory???  Haha!  I'm definitely planning on at least the girdle belt, necklace, and probably earrings (even though she's not wearing any).

                Zibellino (stone marten, gold annealed head, clock in forehead...yes, I can document the clock!)
                Linen drawers (with more white blackwork on them, possibly with a cheeky saying in Italian)
                Stockings (either in linen or silk)
                Garters (trade?)
                Veil & veil pins
                Fan (Venetian flag fan)
                Chopines (probably the least probable to get made, but one that I covet greatly!)