Hats Off!

 

This past Sunday brought sheets of rain,  thunderstorms and my lovely friend Pearl to Diamond Tooth Studios for a shoot.  Ms. Bell is more than just a pretty face, she’s also a lifestyle and home enthusiast.  She can wave her magic wand over any home, wardrobe, or human and said item will emerge sparkling and wonderful.  Please check out her blog, 7pm.

Together with the talented and professional services of Diamond Tooth on-sote photographer, Jim Coughlin, we had a few flashy packed hours together.  He like to shoot, paint, spray, stencil, and make music.  Please check out all the wonderful things he does on Snap, Bam Splat!

 

I’ve been busy working with the materials from that load of vintage hats I received a few weeks back, mixing and matching the elements from each piece with other pieces from my studio alongside certain taxidermy ingredients that revealed themselves as an ideal match.  This Gothic Bridal Fascinator started out as a black cage veil with white fabric roses.  I dyed the roses a fade-into black and added two mounted wings from a fancy chicken.

 

 

I kept the original velvet ribbon and added some black fur.

Here is another bridal fascinator; none of these bridal pieces are white  as they are geared towards a less conventional woman who is looking for something unlike what she can find in traditional bridal boutiques. This results in a versatile piece that could be worn by the maid of honor or even the mother of the bride..or for an event that isn’t even a wedding!

I used the blue veiling from an antique wide-brimmed blue hat (shown later in its reincarnate form down below) and attached it, with the wings of a fancy chicken, to a wire fascinator base.  The feathers are hand curled to compliment the wearer’s hair.

 

This is my Blue Poof Quail Fascinator.  This quail has been worn in several ways, before I found the perfect base for it which is the vintage blue ostrich feather one you see below.  I switched the original blue veil out with an off white, Swiss-dot one from another vintage piece and added a strand of sea pearls around the quail to bring out the creaminess.  I think this piece would be perfect for a Winter wedding….or even Spring!

 

 

Behold the wide-brimmed blue hat I mentioned earlier.  It’s a strong, beautiful piece of millinery that stands  on its own without a ton of bells and whistles so I simply added the mounted and embellished cape of a chicken, some pheasant feathers and a few pieces of antique hand-tatted lace, all meant to compliment the shape and motion of this piece.

 

 

Hair Doin’!

Next up is the duck wing fascinator which Pearl has worn before.  I very much enjoy manipulating crinoline/horsehair, and look forward to making more of these.

 

It’s light and easy to wear, ideal for the individual who wants to express some fashion sense but isn’t willing to compromise her comfort level.

 

Here is another bridal piece, this one crafted with the base of a vintage fasctinator which originally was a simple green bow.  I took the fabric off, rearranged it and added a green cage veil from another antique pice.  Then came the mounted wings of a chicken and vintage charm in center.

The two wings are firmly pressed together in a way that makes the feathers pop out on the opposite side, not unlike what your fingers do when you clasp you hands.

 

Hold on!

OK, perfect.  This is my beloved montera hat, embellished with a mounted chicken head  that has been encrusted with jewels. This hat generates a very healthy dose of attention and makes for an excellent conversation piece. Ole!

It also opens up some fun opportunities for various hair-dos.  I like twisted locks around and under it, but a side pony tail or a combed out fro would also work just as well.

The last piece of the shoot was another fascinator Pearl had worn before, crafted from an antique base with a delicate off white veil.  I added the wings from a chicken which had been source mid-molt, so the spiny veins of the feathers are exposed.  This made them ideal for stringing beautiful beads on; I got these marble and pearl beads from two vintage necklaces.  I also hand curled some of the feathers.

 

 

Not to be outdone, our house model demonstrated his ability to work a chapeau.

 

And that’s a wrap!  For more info and pricing, please visit my website, Diamond Tooth Taxidermy, or my Etsy shop.

 

 

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From my cold, dead hands

Here are some items I recently added to my etsy shop, for all the tween-witch kids:

I don’t want to alienate though, they’re actually for anyone who would want to wear a bird talon.  This includes me and it could include you but it may not include your roommate or your cousin.  I wind of separating the feet from most birds I skin because, at this time, bird feet aren’t all that palatable for the budding fashionista so I just use the wings/pelt and save the feet and heads for my own purposes.  And that’s fine with me.  How boring would the world be if we all wore the same thing?

 

But for those of you who ARE into this symbol of strength and beauty with a dash of menace, what a great little trinket you can add to your wardrobe for barely any monies at all.  Customize it with your birthstone or any other kind of crystal, tie it up in your hair ,hang it from your phone, whatever your icy little heart desires.

OK, this is too sales pitchy.  Just check it out, OK?  I think they make great gifts…(too early for Christmas ornaments?) starting at under $20 a pop.

The Patron of Christmas Tree Farms.

I’ve met Kathy.  She really is the patron of whatever team she’s playing for.  Super classy lady.  I wonder if I can be the Tanqueray of taxidermy?

Sure, why not.  One of the players complimented our headwear during the lap; you can hear me thanking him.

 

In case you couldn’t tell, yet another Sunday was well spent by yours truly taking in a match at Brandywine Polo Club!  I gathered up two of my favorite gals and tried out two new fascinators on them.

 

Pearl is sporting a piece fashioned from one of the vintage hats recently gifted to me; I used a chicken of the frizzled breed with spiky, featherless feathers.  Perfect for holding jewels!

 

I attached a quail head-piece I’ve been working on to the “muppet” fascinator from the vintage set.  None of these pieces are finished quite yet; this was a test run on some works in progress.  I’m not entirely happy with this one.

 

Action!

 

This was the first time that I lazed about on my blanket during halftime, opting out of the traditional divot stomping.  My belly was full of black licorice, champagne and happiness.  AS you can CLEARLY see from this photo there was a horse-drawn carriage on the field, complete with a heralding trumpet player announcing its arrival.  That carriage actually seems to show up at every match; I think I need to start rubbing elbows with that lot.

If I could only get up.

 

Here is Maria trying to cut the end off a particularly sharp spiky feather vein that kept poking Pearl in the neck.  I had no intention for the hat to be so dangerous.

Did I mention she’s using the serrated-edge mini-blade on a wine opener?  After two bottles of champagne that can be hazardous.

Alas, all ended well.  We stuck around and I talked hats with some of the club members; we nibbled on strawberries and called it a day.

A very, very fine day.

Running for the Roses

I love horses.  I’ve never wanted to own one, I don’t even really enjoy riding them…rather, I prefer observing them.  I could watch a horse move for hours.  In my eyes, there is no more perfect example of the balance between strength and agility, brute force and beauty.  I also love horse people.  There is something in their blood perhaps, that I can relate to.  Seeing as all things equestrian tend to be on the financially steep side, one would think that there would be a sort of elitist vibe that could frighten a Bohemian artist such as myself.  I couldn’t find that notion further from the truth though.  At every equine event I’ve attended, I’ve found myself amongst free-spirited individuals who appreciate a good quirk much more than the proverbial next guy.

That said, it only seems logical to take my love over state lines and partake in “the most exciting two minutes in sports”, AKA the Kentucky Derby.  I must confess, the thought hadn’t even occurred to me until my sister in law, Danielle, (who dreams big and accomplishes bigger, see here) suggested it over Thanksgiving dinner.  I set my sights on Churchhill Downs for 2011 and since then have worked tirelessly with my miracle worker/facilitator of dreams Meredith Lindemon of Meredith Communications to make it so.  She dove headfirst into the task of getting me not just into the Derby but fully immersed in the entire event.  Contacts were made, sponsorships were proposed.  We worked out this and that, revised the product, toiled and troubled until about a month ago when the pace began to pick up.  Before I knew it I was presented with a ten day deadline to create 4 custom hats for a silent auction and 75 (seventy five!) hand-crafted brooches, hair pins nad combs for gift bags at the Julep Ball.

Remember Barbaro?

I was searching for a Derby related video to include in this post and I fell down the rabbit hole of Barbaro tributes.  I am stunned at just how many of these videos exist (also at how graphic and injury-focused most of them are) and overwhelmed with emotion recalling how the love that so many of us felt for this heroic creature united us that Summer.

And now it’s all done and my little army is en route to Kentucky.  I will be following suite next month to attend the Ball as well as Kentucky Oaks and the Derby. Of course I’ll need to create something to wear to these events but for the moment I’m going to get a full nights rest and come up for air.  I just wanted to share photos of the newly minted Diamond Tooth Millenary 2011  Derby Line and take a moment to thank these people:

Jim my husband, who never complained while his home turned into a feather filled factory and graciously relieved me of most domestic duties.  Oh, and he happens to be an awesome photographer who shoots all my work for me.

My folks, who have proven to me time and time again that if you ask, you shall receive.  Not just because they’re kind, but because they believe in me.

Danielle, my aforementioned sister-in-law who gave me the idea in the first place.

Daniel Wilbur, proprietor of Wilbur Vintage who would open up his shop early for me and patiently allow me to paw through his trinkets in my attempts to amass enough charms with which to adorn all of my creations.

Bailey  (and all my chicken friends!), aka chicken master; without his donations I wouldn’t have had any medium to work with.

Gregory Andrew Powell, millenatrix extraordinaire and my arch nemesis who was kind enough to momentarily bury the poison-tipped hat pins and  share some of his wisdom.

And of course Meredith, who wasn’t afraid to push me to reach higher even while I was being a brat.

Sun Hat:

This a Panama hat embellished with fancy chicken and peacock feathers, swiss dot horse hair and antique veil.

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Summer Beret:

This little beret is composed of fancy chicken and ostrich feathers, swiss dot horse hair and a vintage brooch.

Oh and look!  Leather tags!

Fascinator:

A little something to enhance your up-do; made of fancy chicken wing and peacock feathers, antique ceiling and vintage pearl beads.

Comb:

That is the back of the comb; it’s  a tricky shot since there’s so much going on.  I used an antique comb from 1920 and embellished it with the tail feathers of a fancy chicken, some peacock, and a vintage crystal necklace.  I added a poof of antique French veil.

Below is the front.  This one is a real doozy.

Brooches:

These are a few examples from the gift bag items.  I used 24K plated stick pins as the bases and each one is one of a kind and infused with my heart.

Combs:

The bases for these are silver plated combs; each one is lovingly hand crafted.

Hairpin:

Only 5 of these; silver plated base with vintage jewelry embellishments.