Workroom Journal: General Mayhem’s Gothic wedding Gown

purple, gold and black wedding dress

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

Cog & Cake: Steampunk High Tea

James and I 'Looking winsome'

Sunday saw us attend the Cog & Cake inaugural Steampunk High Tea, an event fundraising for a local steampunk film Stella 459. ( In short, an excuse to dress up and eat tiny foods, both of which I adore!). There … Continue reading

A Sneaky Peek at Victorian Guilt

I’ve been working on a new collection…

  Victorian Guilt
 Influenced by the symbolism and literature of the Victorian era, memento mori and mysticism, tempered with a delicious dose of rock ‘n’ roll.

Three items from this new range are up on the Etsy store and Facebook Page. The rest are staying hidden until I’ve developed the rest of the collection.

But you’re all so lovely, I couldn’t resist giving you a sneaky peek … promise you won’t tell?

Foggy Days and Art Galleries

New Zealand has weird weather. For anyone that’s lived here, visited here, or seen us on Nat Geo, the words “four seasons in one day” ring with truth. Currently we’re experiencing frigid mornings with more fog than daylight, creeping frosts, heavy rain and a moon that never sleeps, with a side helping of clear winter sunshine.

Monday decided to land on the rain and gloom side of things. I decided to check out the newly renovated Auckland Art Gallery. (The rain was kind enough to stop while I took this photo, which was great, as I’d already smacked myself on the head with my umbrella while trying to juggle it, my bag and my camera.)

The gallery is a classic French Renaissance style building – all intricate moldings and grand, curving lines. I can only imagine how proud the architects Grainger and D’ebro of Melbourne were when the original structure was completed in 1887.

While the gallery has been renovated before, in 1960, 1950 and 1971, the latest and most drastic changes were only finished last year. This includes the beautiful wooden roof at the gallery entrance (lookin’ snazzy in the photo below), as well as structural changes to give the gallery more space, earthquake strengthening and new education and cafe areas. They even have a nice big coat check area to keep your yucky wet umbrella in!

It’s amazing. The four hours I spent there were enough for a quick tour around the main galleries, but I can see a whole day disappearing in the future! Not only are some of my favourite artists represented  - with Lamia by John William Waterhouse and Nor’ wester in the Cemetary by William Sutton – but some rare and interesting historic pieces and modern installations are on display as well. Environment III by Luc Peire was pretty cool, except I happened to be in there with two tourists with rather unsavoury scented feet…..ew.

Moi inside ‘Environment III’, a crazy barcode patterned mirror cube thing,

Also, the Flower Chandelier by Choi Jeong Hwa is both pretty and enormous! The flowers look so happy as they inflate and deflate, eternally blossoming. Keep in mind that the yellow flower is a few metres wide, this thing is MASSIVE! You can see someone’s video of the sculpture in action here.

Of course the Victorian gallery is my favourite, but there is something for everyone, from pop art to early new Zealand works, to sculptures that really really question “what is art?”. While I could go on, I won’t. I will however tell you to get your cultured, intellectual arse to the gallery if you ever have a chance, and include a bunch of photos in the slideshow below.

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A Little Red Riding Cape

Ahoy comrades!

With the onset of chilly winter weather my mind has turned to cozier couture. Something to hold off the frigid mornings and bitter winds, while in no way resembling the green and purple raincoat I dreaded as a child.

And so was born the Little Red Riding Cape. A Victorian concoction of warm red and black herringbone wool, lined with soft black satin and trimmed with black satin lining. Black cotton broderie anglais lace and a big satin pussycat bow add the final touches. So cute and yet so warm!

This cape is modelled on a historical pattern from the Victorian period.
I love the voluminous cut – perfect for pretty pirouetting or snuggling in against the wind.  I’m also a huge fan of big loose hoods. They keep your ears warm, stop your hair from blowing everywhere (why does it always end up in my mouth!?) and – most importantly – gives you an air of mystery with that handy shadow over your face tehehe.

I haven’t yet decided if this one will be for sale, or if I will keep it for myself! What do you think?

Wisdom Jewellery and Couture Collars

Hello there!

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.

The Prospero Collar

Silk collar with vintage lace and pearl embellishment

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.

Delicious Displays!

Salutations!
I do hope 2012 is treating you well thus far.

While my blog has been lacking posts I certainly haven’t been idle. With Aethercon taking place this Saturday the 11th I’ve been crafting some gorgeous display stands.

The presentation of goods is so important. Beautiful displays lend character and interest to your items, inviting the viewer to take a little of your created world home with every purchase. Lacklustre presentation can drag even the most appealing items into the  depths of dullness. Not exactly the impression we’re going for.

I designed my displays to have the appeal of a curio cabinet in a lush Victorian home, enticing the viewer with texture and opulence. (As you may notice from the numerous photographs, I’m very please with the tree!)

My furry textured jewellery tree

A tiny visiting owl

Jewellery tree and matching card holder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little bird told me...

Medals nestle on framed padded fabric

Visit Cog & Compass on facebook to view new stock and pretties.

 

New Cog & Compass Photoshoot Images!

Hello Hello!

A wee while ago I mentioned a photoshoot had taken place for some of my new designs. Now I have the extreme pleasure of sharing some of the gorgeous images with you! Once again thank you my amazing team from the day, you assistance was invaluable!

My inspiration for these designs included romantic Victorian gentility, the paintings of J. W  Waterhouse and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and the sassy sensuality of South Western steampunk.

Click on the image below to view the full gallery!

Photograph by Richard Leonard Photography

As always, your feedback is hugely appreciated. Do let me know what you think of the designs, and which are your favourite shots!