Bridal designers are like secret agents. We work in secret on important missions, only sharing our progress with a select few! But today one of my summer clients (burlesque performer General Mayhem) swore her undying love in a gorgeous gothic … Continue reading
Nothing beats an interesting lady in interesting clothes, and Vivien Masters never disappoints. Vivien is a mad skilled artist who lives in the same city as me. Her imagination and amazing style wow me every time. She’s also one of … Continue reading
Every so often there’s a painting I just fall in love with. Dracula, by Spanish artist Arantzazu Martinez is one of them – a hauntingly dramatic depiction of Mina Harker and Dracula himself. I could stare at it for hours… … Continue reading
Of all the photographers wanting to borrow designs for photoshoots, Richard Leonard is one I am always happy to oblige! He shot one of the very first sets for Cog & Compass ( and myself as a model ), and … Continue reading
A quick snap of the spooky accessories I’m sending as prizes for the Miss Cadaver zombie beauty pageant in Hamilton, New Zealand.
Hello and good evening!
As some of you may know, I am a Nocturne Girl for Nocturne Magazine. Early this year we shot the Goddess Project – each Nocturne Girl representing a goddess in a shoot destined for Issue Five of the magazine.
I chose to depict Nemesis.
Since Issue Five has now been released in all its obscure, artistic splendour, I can now share my photos with you!
Vengeful and remorseless, Nemesis was a Greek goddess. As the spirit of divine retribution she balanced the happiness and sadness of men, and punished those guilty of hubris. Derived from the Greek word ‘nemein’ , her name means ‘to give what is due’. A chilling thought for those who had offended the gods….
The idea for my photo set was to depict the goddess is a modern time, holding onto her old ways. In a time when natural disasters are affecting so many it seemed appropriate to choose a coastal urban location.
When designing the gown for Nemesis I wanted something fluid and dramatic, with Grecian references in the styling. Heavy jewellery was a must, and MUA extraordinaire Pearl DuNasemant did an incredible job of working chains and hair extensions into a goddess-like updo, tousled from centuries of smiting! Visit the Cog & Compass Facebook page to see some preliminary sketches.
Like most of my photo shoots, I couldn’t have pulled it off without my mum Dianne and my Everpatient Husband James, especially seeing as my arm had just come out of a ROM brace!
I really do appreciate the late night cups of tea, taxi services and putting up with my fabric all over the house haha. Behind every creative person is a very patient person with a broom and a reality check!
All photos are by Meagan Kerr Photography. Meagan is great to work with, really down to earth (and she’ll wait while I eat my chocolate bars)!
Visit the gorgeous new Nocturne Magazine website to view the Goddess Project in it’s entirety. (May as well grab a digital copy of the magazine while you’re there, it’s super affordable!).
I’m really excited about the new digital format for Nocturne Magazine! We’ve been working on some excellent interviews and articles I know you’ll love, as well as some truly lush photoshoots.
“Nocturne Magazine presents the finest collections of obscurities for purveyors of the enigmatic!
For those who desperately crave some kind of authenticity. For those dissatisfied by the banality of consumerist culture. The Nocturne Guild, with its unorthodox band of investigators, unearths arcane knowledge, images of the sublime and the surreal, curiosities and the forbidden.
Religion has not given us the answers we seek; science has left us wanting.
Perhaps it is within the Arts that we will find a deeper connection? Perhaps through an exploration of the mythical, the taboo and the obscure, we can awake in ourselves that which slumbers?
Perhaps we can suspend disbelief and become curious again…”
While the new, revamped, and extra intriguing Nocturne issue five has yet to be released, the digital edition of issue three is available to view for free, and issue four is only $10 NZD on the Nocturne website!
So often my designs are inspired by words. A paragraph, a single sentence, the shortest heartfelt lyric. Left to stew in my mind these can blossom into a concept or character, just waiting to be tweaked and evolved by pencil on paper.
“Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,’ I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!’
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’”
The description of the raven as stately and beguiling lead me on a path. Were the ravens intentions good or ill? Was it simply the puppet of someone behind the scenes, hoping to drive Poe to madness?
After tons of research and development, these questions lead to “The Raven Mistress”. This gown is a dark, dramatic representation of Poe’s Raven, and its ability to hide its true nature and intentions behind a beguiling facade. I explored themes including the power and decadence of high social status and manipulation through beauty.
I sketched pages and pages of concepts before the final design was developed.
The Raven Mistress is a gown of raw black silk, overlayed with fine net. I sewed much of the gown by hand, using couture construction techniques. Even the huge hemline was handsewn (and what an undertaking that was!).
The velvet bodice is embellished with hand woven beaded feathers. I crafted each of these to a specific size and combination of white, silver and black Japanese glass beads to create the gradient of colour through the bodice, before individually sewing them in place. Hundreds of hours went into this process, leaving me almost as mad as Poe by the end!
More net flows elegantly from the shoulders, blending with the overlay of the gown to create layers of shifting black over the shine and texture of the silk. Long strands of faceted glass beads loop to the wrists and down the gowns train, creating a stylised Raven wings and tail.
Words can lead to things we never imagined, so go forth my friends, and read! ( I’m not suggesting you become obsessed and dedicate a few months of your life to one dress, but a smaller project could be just as enjoyable, and somewhat better for your health.)
If you’d like to explore more of Poe’s work this website is very helpful, even providing a list of Edgar’s more uncommon vocabulary with definitions.
So a wee while ago my friend Steff from the Gothic Wedding Planner sent out the call for a team.
A team so imaginative, so awesome, and so darn clever that they could organise, style, stage and shoot a steampunk wedding on a realistic budget .
I was part of that team.
This is our shoot….
My role in this whimsical venture was as a Stylist (making sure people looked dapper and helping the Artistic Director Andrea arrange the picnic in an appropriately charming manner). The venue was the lovely historic Pumphouse in Takapuna, New Zealand.
Visit the Steff at Gothic Wedding Planner blog to sigh over more amazing photos and check out the team!
(There’s also a luscious video on it’s way, I’ll share it when it’s officially released!)
Summer seems to have finally arrived in New Zealand, so I’m making the most of the sunshine and getting on top of our mounting pile of washing!
While I wait for the next load to finish I’ll get you up to date on what’s been cooking at Cog & Compass!!
I’ve been adding to the Wisdom Jewellery collection with some new necklaces. Spooky yet refined these designs feature hand sculpted molars and bones.
I’ve also been working on a range of collars. These will be part of the upcoming Victorian Guilt collection.
Inspired by the opulence of 18th century fashion, 19th Century couture and tales of the debauchery or downfall of the wealthy (such as The Masque of the Red Death by E.A Poe), these one of a kind choker style collars combine rich silks and brocades with hand sculpted elements, vintage embellishments and beadwork.
I’ll leave you to ponder the symbolism of wisdom teeth and read some Edgar A Poe. I’m off to bake some feijoa muffins for the Ever Patient Husband.