Tag Archives: jewelry

Don Giovanni Costumes, Womenswear

6 Oct

Last time, we took a look at some of the menswear from my award-winning Don Giovanni photo. Today, I’m going to show you all of the gowns I made for the ladies!

Don Giovanni Act Two, by Tyson Vick

Don Giovanni Act Two, by Tyson Vick

As I mentioned in my last post, the image depicts Don Giovanni during his dinner party where the players are entertaining him. Each player is supposed to represent a character from the Commedia Dell’arte and each outfit is supposed to enhance the sex appeal of a certain body part (Bosom, Legs and Hips). Commedia Dell’arte is an art form, the basis of most comedy throughout History, and is formed of stock characters such as the fat buffoonish man (Harlequin) and his sexy wife (Columbina), who you will recognize in modern comedies such as The Simpsons (Homer/Marge), Family Guy (Peter/Lois) and many sitcoms. Each character is represent by a mask, so that no matter who plays Harlequin, the face is instantly recognizable. It’s a lot like a grassroots ad-campaign, getting people to know the characters in a time before television and advertising existed. There are numerous other characters in Commedia as well!

These costumes, while all based on something Historical, are meant to look more High-Fashion and theatrical. I wanted to do a Historical Dolce and Gabbana, essentially.


Guitar Player – Isabella

First, the sexy hips of Isabella, the Guitar Lady. Isabella is Commedia Dell’arte figure who is generally a very sassy, strong willed woman who finds love with the help of the other characters.

The model, Danica, wears the dress cheerfully.

The model, Danica, wears the dress cheerfully.

Her dress is based off a dress conceptualized by the illustrator Barbier in his image “Jour et Nuit”. I based my dress of of “jour” down there.

Barbier's illustration "Jour et Nuit" (Day and Night)

Barbier’s illustration “Jour et Nuit” (Day and Night)

I made the gown out of Silk Taffeta, and the bodice, which descends over the hips, is made up of random pintucks of the fabric.

The white, pintucked silk gown worn by the guitar playing lady in my photo.

The white, pintucked silk gown worn by the guitar playing lady in my photo.

The gown laces up the back, and the skirt is lined with tulle to give it some more shape.

The white silk gown from the front and the back.

The white silk gown from the front and the back.

A hoop is placed under the gown to make the hips suuuuuuper wide. Because I’m using a rococo hoop, which is worn at the waist, and the dress extends to the hips, it sort of forces the hoops to pop up through resistance. The neck ruff, which stood up so nicely in the arid climate of Montana, drooped despairingly when we got to the humidity of California, but, there it is.

A hoop is placed underneath and this lifts the hips out.

A hoop is placed underneath and this lifts the hips out.

The lady also wears this lovely vintage set of jewelry I purchased at the local antique market, and which I have listed for sale on Etsy. I am also selling the dress to clear out my closet.




Masked Lady Plaer – Columbina

Next up is the player based off of Columbina. Columbina is a spunky servant girl who is either married to or in love with Harlequin.

I made her mask out of craft foam on the fly, because a leather one was too expensive to buy.

This mask was made from craft foam and rub-n-buffed to be silver.

This mask was made from craft foam and rub-n-buffed to be silver.

The dress, on the other hand, was a fun one to build! It is also the dress I got into an eternal loop trying to turn. When you sew a garment, you sew it back to front and then turn it through an opening and press the seams. Somehow, I managed to make this dress into a sort of tube, and tried to find the other side of the garment, fruitlessly, for around 20 minutes, before realizing it was impossible to turn. Hilarious sewing antics aside, the gown was made out of all of my white fabric scraps!

The center gown was based of of Harlequin and is made of patches of fabric.

The center gown was based of of Harlequin and is made of patches of fabric.

The gown is a skirt in the front, but has a small train in the back. I was trying to think of a High-Fashion take on a rococo gown, with the wide hips, but that showed off the legs. This is what I got:

The patch dress is a skirt in front but has a train in back.

The patch dress is a skirt in front but has a train in back.

I have a lot of white fabric scraps, and I sewed them together, randomly, to make fabric yardage. I did not use any new fabrics, only scraps!

You can see the patchwork fabrics in this detail.

You can see the patchwork fabrics in this detail.

This lady wears the Jewelry shown below. With this necklace I purchased a super cheap necklace at Walmart and added my own jewel findings to it in order to make it more gaudy.



The Feathered Lady – La Ruffiana

The lady on the far right is based off of La Ruffiana, and if you look closely you will see she is holding an ugly mask. La Ruffiana is a Commedia character who is an ugly old woman, usually a pimp or lady of loose morals. I sort of decided, without telling any of the models, that this lady was the Madame of this troop of players, and I just sort of assumed that they all played instruments, did plays and were available for after-parties (if you know what I mean) for Don Giovanni. In the play, Donna Elvira denounces Don Giovanni for his late night sex parties. Anyway, that’s part of my inspiration for illustrating this scene as a high-fashion, Commedia Dell’arte mash-up.


The “madame” of the troupe of players on the right.

You will notice this costume displays bosoms prominently. This gown is based off a Renaissance cut and concept, with poofy sleeves and more of an A-Line then the Rococo’s huge hips.


This dress got stained during its travels, and so I recycled it into another gown for my illustration of “La Finta Semplice”. You can see that process here.

Finally, here is some of the big Jewelry worn by these ladies:


I hope you’ve enjoyed the look at these Commedia inspired gowns I created for my Don Giovanni photo!

There will be so many costume updates from here on out, that I urge you to subscribe to the blog! You won’t want to miss any posts!



Awarded 1st Place in WPPI Photography Contest!

12 Aug

I am pleased to announce that my photo of Judith has won the First Place and Silver Award in WPPI’s Photography Competition in the Creative Composite Category in recognition of Photographic Excellence!

First Place Award - Creative Composite - WPPI Photography Competition

First Place Award – Creative Composite – WPPI Photography Competition

My Don Giovanni photo took 3rd Place in the same competition! Please check out the other winners and categories at the 2014 WPPI winners page!

Third Place Award - Creative Composite - WPPI Photography Competition

Third Place Award – Creative Composite – WPPI Photography Competition

Thank you to all of the models and stylists involved! Thank you also to the Puffin Foundation Grant which made the Judith photo possible!

My Photography in Dimension Magazine

16 Nov

My work was recently featured in Dimension Magazine. This time I covered all these guys in glitter and flowers, and told them to look grumpy. Like wet cats.

Roman, with a bad attitude because he hates wearing flowers. He’s not just acting. He really does hate wearing flowers. Ask him.

I worked with four models. Roman, part of the music duo “Clark & Candles“, returns once again, and looks pretty amazing, but I think he likes these images the least of all the shots we’ve ever done. It must be the glitter.

My friend Lizzie says that glitter is like the Herpes of the crafting world.

It’s very difficult to get rid of.

It’s actually still stuck to the wall wherever these guys leaned on it. Won’t come off.

Arri Lund. Arri doesn’t seem to mind wearing flowers as much.

I also worked with Arri, who was a part of my Steampunk pictures which were featured in Dark Beauty Magazine in July. Arri just sort of blends in with whatever style you put him in, even big floral jewelry.

The Jewelry is all hand made by myself and multi-media artist Jamie Vowell. It is a mix of hand made silk flowers and upcycled, recycled and broken vintage jewelry parts.

Jacob Federspiel-Smith with big hair and statement jewelry.

I did all the hair and make-up myself, and the most complicated was Jake’s hair. I had to make it poofy on the top. I’ve wanted to do this to Jake’s hair for years.


I met Xak on this photo shoot, and now he and I are working on all sorts of projects together!  Xak is an artist, too, as well as a musician. So, we’ve been working together on lots of high concept photos and even a big music project that I hope to share with you soon!

Xak, flipping us off.

If you would like to get updates on all my photography work, please feel free to like me on Facebook!


If you would like to see more of these images, please visit Dimension Magazine. You can also like their Facebook page if you want to receive their updates!

The Cover to Dimension Magazine featuring Arri.

Der Schauspieldirektor – Costume Diary, Part 5 (Hats!)

23 Dec

My costumes are now complete for my upcoming Der Schauspieldirektor photo shoot. I have created all the costumes for this shoot myself. Previous Posts in this Series:

  1. My first post follows the making of the corsets for both ladies.
  2. The second post takes a look at my embroidery process, and brief reviews of some of the movies I viewed while sewing.
  3. The third post shows how I put together my Jacket and Gilet.
  4. My fourth post shows the inspiration and final pigeon breasted drawstring-front jacket.

I spent the last week making hats, wigs, accessories and padding. In this post I would like to share with you the hats and wigs I created. For my first hat, I drew mainly upon the image below for inspiration. But I also visited a charming site dedicated to historical hats with many great pictures called Hats From History!

Redingote gown — Velvet jacket and sash with tassels, satin revers, cuffs and train-lingerie tie and jabot-gauze with scalloped edge and checked embroidery. Gold buttons, powdered hair, hat of dotted gauze, ostrich, embroidery and flowers. Cane with carved bird and ribbon 1787.

I took a straw hat that I already owned, added milliner’s wire to the edge and covered the bottom of the brim with silk to match the drawstring bodice. I made a little buckle for the hat and adorned it with feathers.

My upcycled straw hat. I used a gardening hat and adorned it in the 1700s style! It is placed on top of a wig I styled myself.

As for my second hat, I documented the process for you! I used Butterick Pattern B4210, the Turn of the Century hat, with no alteration to the structure (Buckram, Milliner’s Wire, size, etc.) However, I did not follow the directions on how to decorate or line the hat.

My silk hat pieces cut out. The top of the hat has already been constructed in this image.

I put together the brim, sewed the wire to the buckram, and then decided the lining side of the hat should be pleated silk! So I took some ivory silk and laid it out on the buckram form to see how much I would need.

I laid out some ivory silk over the buckram brim, and did a rough pleating to see how much silk I would need.

Once I had figured out how much silk I would need, I stitched two lengths of fabric together and pleated them around the brim. I left excess fabric on both edges, because it is easier than making a mistake that can’t be fixed later if you come up short.

I pleated and pined the silk to the buckram form, then stiched the center and outer edges to hold them in place.

Once the pleating was stitched on, I trimmed the edges and cut out the center circle.

I trimed the outer edge and cut out the center circle.

Next, I sewed the blue silk to the opposite side to be the outer brim of the hat. This silk has a fusible interfacing to keep it forever flat.

Next, I sewed the blue silk on the opposite side.

It was then time to add the bias strip to the outer edge. I made the strip out of the same blue silk to match.

I used some bias tape that I made from my silk fabric to bind the edges and cover the milliner’s wire.

Next, I sewed the top of the hat to the brim. When you trim the seam allowances, you can turn them and stitch or glue them down so that there is extra hold inside the brim. The picture below shows the stitched and glued tabs. The pins hold the glued tabs in place.

Next, I sewed the top of the hat to the brim, and glued the notched tabs in place.

I cut a little circle of lining, and used an off-white grosgrain ribbon for the sweat band on the inside.

Finally, I added a lining and a grosgrain ribbon hat band inside the brim.

Now the finished form of the hat was complete, and I could choose how to decorate it. The hat all sewn together as seen from the top. No decoration has been added yet. I used ostrich feathers, a ribbon bow and a cameo pin to decorate the hat. However, the main reason I pleated the lining was because it was always my intention to show it off. I shaped the hat over the wig, as you can see in the images below.

My completed hat with feathers, etc. on top of the wig. I also styled the wig myself.

The way the hat is bent allows you to see the top and bottom at the same time! It’s very pretty! I used Epic Cosplay Curly Mid Part Wig, if you are interested.

UPDATE: You can also visit my steampunkmonsters.com hat tutorial if you’d like to learn how to cover an already existing hat form!

Another view of my finished hat from the front.

I also made some accessories. All the dresses from the 1790s have little tabs hanging from the bodices. I knew their history but not what they were called, so I asked Alisa. She used her Google Ninja skills and discovered that they are called Chatalaines, Equipages, Fobs or Macaronis! After looking them up to price them, I quickly discovered that it was necessary to build my own. I found a metal frame at Michael’s (Scrapbooking Section) and used a portrait of Mozart from a little book I got in the mail. I also bought some ribbon clamp ends, which I was so relieved to discover existed! (I always had a suspicion, but had never had my suspicions confirmed until now.) I bought mine from thunderrockalley21 on Etsy. I covered the portrait in a thick varnish to make it look like a painting.

My Mozart Portrait Chatalaine (Equipage, Fob, Macaroni or what you will!)

I used a basic grosgrain ribbon for the attachment as well as a pretty little hook to clip it to the skirt. That’s all for today! Next time you hear from my, my photo shoot will be done! Der Schauspieldirektor, here I come!

The Marriage of Figaro Costumes

20 Mar

The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro) is my Favorite Mozart Opera, and one of my favorite works of art in general. I listen to various music selections from it probably around once a week (ipod on Random always seems to find something from it.) Everything about it is very real to me, the story, the characters, the music, and so when I decided to illustrate it, I wanted everything to look real, rather than fantastical — which is where most of my illustration heads.

This is the opera that made it necessary for me to learn how to sew. (This is also the opera that helped me resolve childhood issues with my parents, so that’s a plus!)

I have done two photo shoots based on The Marriage of Figaro, and there are six photos in this series.

I chose a basic color scheme to illustrate The Marriage of Figaro: Red, Yellow, Brown. I almost always include Black and White as well. You will find this scheme in both the sets and the costumes. There is also a color that is only present in the Count, which is Plum, and the reason for this is to separate him from the rest of the characters. I also chose not to powder the wigs and hair.

Some of the costumes I don’t have pictures of, but I will share the ones that I do.

Il Conte D’Almaviva – The Count

Generally, the Count is performed by an older man, raging around the stage grumpily. However, this is completely against everything the opera tells us about his character. As anyone who is paying attention knows, the Count is around 18 when he woos Rosina (The Countess) in the original, The Barber of Seville, which is the story that comes before The Marriage of Figaro. Therefore, even if a decade passes between the two plays, at most, The Count is 28 years old. This can also be deduced if you read the third play in the Trilogy, A Mother’s Guilt, where he is around 50 years old with two teenage children. As for the raging, grumpy Count we so often see, as anyone with any sense knows, that is no way to seduce numerous women. We all know that women love Bastards, but you don’t win the woman over by running up and punching her in the face. No, that comes after.

My ultimate goal was to make the Count kind of sexy. I started making the costume before finding a model. The Count’s outfit was black and plum. The purple ties in to the jewelry that the Countess wears, which you will see later. I found the perfect model for the Count, named Orion, and he nearly didn’t fit into this vest which I made, but that’s okay, because his broad chest kept the vest open and the embroidery showing.

The models. Laura as the Countess with Orion as the Count.

The plum silk vest was hand embroidered. I used those little ribbon flowers that you can get at craft stores because I HATE making ribbon flowers. Whenever I make ribbon flowers, my jaw tenses up, and my arms get tingly, and it’s all very awkward. There were a few embroidery techniques I used, like couching on the vines, where a cord is laid down and thread is sewn over the top. I also used beading and sequins. I made sequins flowers on the buttons.

The Count's Embroidered Plum Silk Vest

Extreme Close-up of the Embroidery on the Count's Plum Silk Vest.

My friend Roman is modeling this outfit, and he likes to point out that the pockets never actually work on anything that I make. It’s true.

The white shirt you see in the picture below is a Stafford Shirt from JC Penny. I removed the sleeves and replaced them with sleeves from Simplicity Pattern #3758. These sleeves each have more fabric than the body of the shirt, which makes them especially poofy. I used the Stafford shirt because I LOVE their collars, and I know I can’t make a collar that good. The collar is very handsome, stiff, and the entire shirt is very sturdy (Take it from someone who took one apart), and they last for years.

Full shot of Cout D'Almaviva's Plum Silk Vest

The Count also had a black brocade coat with covered buttons, tassles and a high Collar, which I made out of a mash-up of various Simplicity Patterns. It has curved sleeves.

The Count's Black Coat has tassles!

Rosina, La Contessa D’Almaviva – The Countess

The Countess is sad. Basically just all the time. So I chose a mellow yellow for her dress.

I got the idea for her dress from the film The Duchess, starring Kiera Knightley.

Duchess Kiera Knightley

Kiera Knightley in the Duchess costume designed by Michael O'Connor which inspired my Countess dress.

The dress Kiera Knightley wears in The Duchess is a pale yellow Saque Back, Robe a la Francaise, which is a very sophisticated, elegant style (and a bit pimpin’). I chose to put the Countess in the Robe a la Francaise simply because there isn’t one in my Mozart Project, and considering that it was a big staple of fashion in his life time, I wanted to work it in in an appropriate place, and there is no more appropriate place than on the Countess. Especially when I found a sophisticated and elegant model for the part.

The Countess D'almaviva Robe a la Francaise in pale yellow. I used Simplicity Pattern 3637 with slight alterations.

This dress isn’t as detailed as it could have been, but that’s only because this was my first major 18th Century dress. I understand the techniques much better now. However, my taste always runs more simply and clean than anything in the Rococo ever tended to be. For the stomacher I used fake pears, two types of ribbon and two earrings for the jewels. The gathered yellow ribbon on the front is entirely edged with tiny pearls, which is hard to see in any of my pictures.

The Front of my Robe a la Francaise for the Countess.

You will, perhaps, notice the fuzzy or hairy line on the stomacher. This is actually the selvage of that particular brown brocade fabric. This is one of the Historical techniques I DID know when I made the dress.

Here is the detail on the stomacher for the robe a la Francaise of the Countess. The jewles are two separate earrings sewn to ribbon bows. Pearls are embroidered on practically all the edges of everything.

I used Simplicity Pattern #3637 for the gown, with only slight alterations, because the gown pattern is very accurate historically.

The back of the Robe a la Francaise. This back, which is like a huge curtain, is what "Robe a la Francaise" denotes, and is also called a Sack Back or a Saque Back.

All of the Countess’s jewelry is pearl and gold based, and I found an awesome set at Target for her to wear. I used an earring with a purple stone in the Choker. This ties back to the color that the Count wears. Her jewelry shows that she longs for her husband, if you want to make it into a metaphor.

The Simplicity pattern includes a pattern for a choker, however, it does not look like anything in my historical costuming books, so I only used the length of the ribbon from the pattern and built the choker based off of photographs of historical garments. You will see I used ruched fabric, pearl buttons and an earring.

The choker that the Countess wears ties back to the plum silk vest of the Count.

The Countess in Disguise!

During the course of The Marriage of Figaro, The Countess disguises herself as her maid, Susanna. Susanna is the woman Figaro is marrying. Therefore, when the Countess is disguised as the Susanna, she should be wearing Susanna’s wedding dress. One of the little mistakes that a lot of productions make is that they put Susanna in a White Wedding Dress, however, white was not the most popular wedding dress color until the mid/late 1800s. So, I chose just to make the dress fun and simple, to look like a servant’s wedding dress.

Susanna's Wedding Dress that the Countess wears when disguised.

The dress is in a Polonaise style, which means that the skirt is, or looks, tucked up, apart from the underskirt. It is made out of duck canvas, denim interlining, steel boning and linen lining. For anyone who knows fabrics, this may seem like over-kill. This garment is very heavy and VERY sturdy.

The bodice is adorned with numerous wire-ribbon flowers, which hold their shape and can be re-worked. Again, I bought these ribbon flowers pre-made. I got them at Montana Camp Antiques and gifts in  my home-town, which is a lovely antique store with lots of very friendly sales-people who are always interested and supportive of my project.

Here's a close up of the ribbon flowers sewn to the bodice of the Countess disguise.

Susanna wears mostly browns when dressed in her work-clothes. Because the Countess is disguised, I decided to kind of mix the colors up — the yellow of the Countess comes into the dress, and brings the pink/plum to tie back to the Count, so that there are little visual cues connecting all the characters. When the actual photo is edited, I will match the flowers more accurately to the Count’s vest.

Here is the back view of the Polonaise style dress.

Barbarina, what have you got there?

What has Barbarina got? Well, she’s got my mortal enemy, the brown corset wrapped around her bosom.

The gardener’s daughter, Barbarina, who is around 13 years old, goes around kissing boys, losing pins and hiding in garden sheds on the left. I made her a brown corset with detachable sleeves which laces up both the front and the back. It was based off of an actual historical corset that I saw in the book “Fashion” by the Kyoto Fashion Institute.

Kyoto Fashion Institute 18th Century Corset

The Corset on the left from the Kyoto Fashion Institute was the inspiration for Barbarina's Corset.

And I did pretty well adapting a pattern to look like it, until I came to the tabs on the bottom of the corset. Then, all hell broke loose. Some people have heard me mention that I once got into a fight with a corset. Well, this, ladies and gentlemen, is the corset that I had the smack-down with. Things went wrong left and right, for hours and days when dealing with those tabs, which left the bottom strangely uneven, and left two tabs and an inch of corset missing.

Barbarina's brown brocade Corset.

We are enemies, and I will be glad when this thing sells on Etsy.

The back of Barbarina's Brown Brocade Corset.

Susanna, Disguised as the Countess!

Meanwhile, Susanna has disguised herself as the Countess. Originally, the Susanna model was going to wear the Robe a la Francaise that the Countess wore (seen a few costumes above). However, the model increased in bust size quite dramatically, and so I had to make a new light yellow dress for her to wear.

Susanna, of course, is disguised in the Countess’s color, light yellow, and the only real costuming give-away that this isn’t the Countess is that the dress seems a little costume-y, as if something’s a little off. This was done partially on purpose, however, the dress was looking so Costume-y that it actually caused me a bit of distress. I spent hours working on making the outfit look more historical.

The dress Susanna wears to disguise herself as the Countess.

There are quite a few things going on in this dress. First, the brocade has gem stones glued in the center of every flower in the design on the front of the bodice. The cuff of the sleeve is gathered. There are two different ivory trims used around the bodice. The bows are made as removable pins, and each feature an altered earring in the center. The bottom bow even has the partner earring to the dangling pearls used on the Countess’s robe a la Francaise.

Here's a detail shot of some of the elements used in the dress, including the various trims, gathering, ribbons and jewelry.

The skirt is pleated all along the front, and gathered in the back.

The dress has no Historical closure, but laces up the back like a corset.  This is where the garment starts to get really costume-y to me. I don’t know if other people really notice it, though.

The back of the Susanna disguised as Countess dress.

The bows that pin onto the dress feature earrings that I bought at Macy’s on clearance. I altered them to be sewn onto the dress.

A detail of the bottom bow pinned onto the dress.

Dr. Bartolo, Eh?

The last costume I have to show you is the eeeevil Dr. Bartolo’s vest. Dr. Bartolo is the main antagonist of The Barber of Seville, and one of the baddies of the Marriage of Figaro.

My mother made this vest, and I did the details. A dark and villainy color was chosen for the brocade.

Dr. Bartolo's brocade vest.

The buttons were very special, and I didn’t know it at the time. They were cover-buttons, the type you cover yourself, but with a built in brass border. I really wish I knew how rare they were when I used them. I just got them out of my grandma’s stash!

My friend Jake models Dr. Bartolo's vest for my Etsy store.

Making The Philosopher’s Stone (Jewelry Tutorial)

11 Dec

The Philosopher’s Stone wasn’t invented just for Harry Potter, you know! It has existed since the ancient Hindu people told of a magical element that could turn all metals it touched into gold, as well as grant immortality and raise the dead! It could probably also change your tires and give you an oil change while it served you pina coladas on a beach!

At the end of his life, Mozart collaborated on a fantastical opera called “Der Stein der Weisen” (The Philosopher’s Stone). Not all of his contribution to this piece is known, but they have identified at least 30 mins of music (much of it is duets with cats). This history, however, can be discussed in another post. Right now, let’s talk about the opera.

When a dispute arose between the two sons of the Wise Philosopher over possession of The Philosopher’s Stone, the Wise Man threw the stone into the sky where it was carried away by an eagle. The eagle would only return  when the Wise Man’s sons, either Eutifronte, the evil god of the Underworld, or Astromonte, the benevolent god of the Sky, had a child, and that child had a need for the stone.

Needless to say, there arises all sorts of trouble when many years later, Eutifronte, evil god of the Underworld, arms a teenage boy to the hilt (with an evil sword of dooooom!) and sends him on a quest to murder the sky god, Astromonte, who has mysteriously carried off the boy’s girlfriend. This opera is essentially anime or manga set to music.

Well, I am currently planning and constructing the “Der Stein der Weisen” props and costumes for my future photoshoot, and today I decided to Build a philosopher’s Stone.

My basic ideas were inspired by Twisted Sister Arts on Etsy an Illinois based wire-weaving jewelry maker. I wrote to her about my project, and though she was very busy with commissions she recommended her tutorial article in the current issue of “Step by Step Wire Jewelry Magazine” (Dec/Jan. Page 34).

A Twisted Sister Necklace:

A Necklace Designed by Twisted Sister Arts on Etsy

So I gathered together some supplies, and dumbed-down what I learned from her tutorial to my skill level! I very seldom make jewelry. I find that I never am able to create what I imagine, and it’s always easier for me to purchase finished items. The Philosopher’s Stone needs to be unique in a number of different ways, however, and it I knew from the beginning it would need to be custom made.

Here is the process I went through to make my Philosopher’s Stone!

Blue Moon beads, Large Crystal, Small Fiberoptic Gem, Two different gauges of Wire

Step 1. – Gathering Supplies

  • Blue Moon Beads – Package of two sizes of silver metal beads
  • Large Crystal
  • Blue Fiber Optic Gem
  • 22-Gauge Silver Copper Wire
  • 16-Gauge Silver Copper Wire

Last Spring,  I found a Large Crystal at the Museum of the Rockies, and I thought it would make a nice Philosopher’s Stone. It has a basic “I’m just a rock” quality, while still remaining unique and interesting, unlike a rock you’d find in the garden — which would probably be boring, and just make fun of your fat mother all the time.

Today, I gathered together some of my wires, and bought some beads and a very interesting Fiber Optic Gemstone that looks like light is shining through it no matter where it’s placed. (It even has a very faint glow in the dark!)

I wanted a double gem quality, as if the stone is some sort of sci-fi/fantasy machine that joins Earth and Sky.

The first step is Basic Weaving.

Step 2. Weaving

  • My first step was to take a 28″ length of 16-Gauge Silver Copper Wire and fold it in half.
  • I then cut a 14″ length of the same wire, and placed it in the center of the folded wire. I left a few inches of a tail hanging over the bottom.
  • Next, I cut an unmeasured  length of 22-Gauge Silver Copper Wire (I pulled it to the length I would when threading a needle, around a yard)
  • I wrapped the smaller wire around the base of the thicker wire, and then began a basic weave (over/under) around the three 16-Gauge strands.

Every ten coils, I placed some tiny metal beads on the line.

Step 3 – Beading, and Weaving

  • Every ten coils (I think one made it to eleven) I placed the small sized beads on the 16-gauge lengths of wire.
  • I then continued weaving. (If the 22-gauge wire ran out, I just curved it discreetly into place on the line, and started again with a new length.)

After the eighth line of beads, I split the wire, and started weaving only to lines.

Step 4. – Splitting the Weave

  • After the eighth line of beads, I split the wire (2 strands to one side).
  • I started weaving the smaller wire around only two strands of the thicker wire.
  • I continued adding beads every ten coils.

After the 4th line of beads, I split the wire again, and continued wrapping only one strand.

Step 5. – Finishing the weave

  • After 4 more rows of beads, I split the wire again.
  • I continued wrapping the single 16-gauge wire until I ran out of 22-gauge wire.
  • I left the other two strands hanging.

Moulding the Wire to the stone and gem.

Step 6. – Moulding the Wire to the Stone and Gem

  • I then took the woven wire and played around with it until I found a mould around the stone and gem that I liked.
  • I left the long ends hanging, roughly coiled into spirals.

A rough arrangement of wires and stones, beads added to coil tips.

Step 7. – Arranging the stones and wire, capping the coils.

  • I finalized my arrangement choices. (Some of the tail ends coiled over and under the woven strands.)
  • I  tightened the coil ends, capping them with small beads. (I don’t solder, so I used a hot glue gun. Lame, I know.)
  • I put the stones in place and (again) hot glued the metal to the crystal.

The Crystal proved to be so heavy, and my Jewelry experience so limited, that I just hot glued the metal weaving to the rock as an easy fix to the setting.

The Philosopher's Stone Front View

Step 8. – Finalization

  • I added another “s” coil of capped wire to finish it up.
  • Finished!

While I’m done with the wire work, I may decide to add a charm or two at some point in the future. If that happens I’ll update this post!

Philosopher's Stone Side View

So, that’s what I came up with! It has none of the elegance or craft of the designer that inspired it, but as a prop I think it looks sufficiently fantastical.

When it makes it to the photo shoot, it may be attached on a chain, or something. I’ll decide that when the time comes. For now, I’m going to put this Philosopher’s Stone in a box, throw it into the sky for the eagle (He’ll bring it back when I need it!), and start planning the costumes!