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
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
I don’t think I’ve ever shared these with you? While I made the tailcoat and top hat set a while back, I never blogged these photos – shame on me! Some time ago I came across a length of cobalt … Continue reading
I’ve been working on a new collection…
Influenced by the symbolism and literature of the Victorian era, memento mori and mysticism, tempered with a delicious dose of rock ‘n’ roll.
But you’re all so lovely, I couldn’t resist giving you a sneaky peek … promise you won’t tell?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!)
Visit Cog & Compass on facebook to view new stock and pretties.
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!
Click on the image below to view the full gallery!
As always, your feedback is hugely appreciated. Do let me know what you think of the designs, and which are your favourite shots!
So I’ve rescued photos, taken new photos, and updated the blog decor (don’t think that was easy, it wasn’t, whoever says it is can kiss my shiny metal ass). So now I’m finally settling in to show you something new. Finally.
In the Victorian age, and indeed long before, beetles were utilised as a form of decoration. Beetles were used as personal adornment everywhere and when, from seventeenth century India to the Amazon to the courts of Europe. Their iridescent wing cases were sewn to textiles and worked into to jewellery. Sometimes the whole insect was used. Sometimes it was still alive. Creepy, no?(or dare I say crawly!).
Influenced by the popularity of Naturalism Victorian ladies of fashion were enthralled by these exotic living jewels. More colourful specimens were worn in their natural state, but many beetles were encrusted with jewellery of their own. Tiny gems, lace and mirrors were glued to their hard carapaces to create moving works of art. Anchored by tiny chains, these beetles crawled over the bodices and shawls of society ladies.
It was these six legged jewels that inspired my latest projects – insect themed adornments. While my creations may be more steampunk and less alive, they reflect the mystery and exoticism that foreign lands held for the Victorians. The general dullness of New Zealands’ beetles, combined with my unwillingness to farm them, led me to alter toy insects rather than real ones. The large altered beetle is one I altered for the Pockets McGee costume. It attaches to the costumes’ shirt with a dainty chain and a tiny winding key.
I’m currently devoting my time to creating a framed art range of altered insects, as well as some decadent hairpieces worthy of a Waterhouse painting. As ever, feel free to share your thoughts on these, feedback is always welcome!