Thursday, January 28, 2010

Olivia: Magicianry

As my previous entry stated, Olivia (my Brimsteam steampunk LARP character) is going to have an interest in magic (ie. magic tricks and illusion)... or as she might call it "magicianry." She would probably have learned a few tricks and picked up a few skills along the way.

Which brings me to the ramblings of this entry...

I used to work in a magic shop. Not the occultic type, but the magic trick type. The store is located at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. I had the proud honor of being the first female employee to work there. Let me tell you, being a woman in the magician industry can be emotionally difficult, even at the selling level, but I enjoyed working there and for several years I was making the wand "cases" I sold (on consignment) to be a nice additional option for customer who bought wands (or already had wands they could use the cases for). I have long since left the shop, but still have most of the few magic tricks I bought/received there. I also kinda remember how to do a few of the tricks that were more memorization than not. Now I can use my experience again! Bwahahahah!

So far, the routines I'm hashing out are:

  • "Beginners Luck" - Olivia demonstrates why she never gambles, especially with cards.
  • "A Most Heinous Murder" - Who murdered the king? Who sent that strange sealed note? What is the message within? The cards have the answers.
  • "Sleuthing Spirits" - Olivia enlists the help from the spirits of two deceased detectives help find the participant's chosen card though she has no idea which card was chosen.
  • "Woman's Intuition" - The participant shuffles the deck and chooses a card at random, keeping the card a secret from her. Even after shuffling it with several other random cards, she is still able reveal the participants chosed card.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thoughts: Olivia Concept and Olivia Outfit (previously known as "Victorian Mourning Outfit")

Well, me dearies, I think it's time to call a spade a spade and admit that the desire on continuing the Victorian Mourning Outfit has wanned too much for me to deny any further. Indeed, I must set the concept aside and move forward, with the understanding that I will likely take up this project again some time down the road...

The concept of my Brimsteam outfit has been going through a metamorphosis as time passed by. When I wore the base outfit to Clockwork, I just didn't feel it was "right". It wasn't what I wanted and the character concept for Olivia didn't quite work in the way I wanted. Granted, I wasn't "playing" her at Clockwork, but it did give me an idea of how it would feel being in some of her gear and how the perceptions would be... and it wasn't fleshed out enough and not as interesting as I'd like. I'm sure I could play her as I originally pictured her, but the question is, "Would I want to?"

Olivia Outfit progress...

*A couple weeks ago, I redrew the outfit, which I need to scan and post. I really like it a lot.

*Last Monday, I started draping the bustle skirt material to figure out how I want it to look and how I should cut it. Now I need to decide if I want to line it. A lined bustle skirt would definitely drape better... however, it would also be extra time and money, both of which are in short supply for me right now. I'm also viewing this bustle skirt as a "light weight" summer version, though it's definitely heavy as it is. I'll write down some of my bustle skirt design ideas in another entry.

* * * * *

The week after the last Clockwork event, I found the perfect top hat at Artifacts Boutique. It was a touch eccentric, a little worn looking, and fit just right. (I'm wearing it in the picture.) I also broke down and nabbed the "Hat Hatter" necklace I was practically drooling over. The owner of the store gave them to me as payment for some side work I did for the store (photo shoot, photo resizing and clean up, created a facebook fan page for the store, and sent along a bunch of suggestions for avenues to look into for sale increases).

I also didn't mention that I found the perfect shoes for my outfit too. They are very appropriate and comfortable (and were severely marked down), so I got two sets (and might go for a brown set eventually). I don't have pictures of them yet, but perhaps at the next Clockwork event... which is this Tuesday!!!

This next event's theme is "Clue!" A number of Brimsteam players might attend and I'll be bringing one of my bestest buddies with too if all works out.

* * * * *

As for my new outfit/character concept... I started thinking she was going to look inspired by a more gentile "Mad Hatter", but it still didn't feel right. I drew down the new outfit idea, still using the base skirts and bustle pad, but altering a few items and details. Finally, after several weeks, it came to me... She's more like a Victorian/Steampunk Scholar specializing in the occultic and taboo aspects of different cultures (which also means she studies a mixture of cultural anthropology, sociology, psychology, kinesics, and maybe a touch of theology), but who also in intrigued in magic tricks and how they play into these beliefs. Almost like Houdini, but with less emphasis on being a magician herself or trying to debunk psychics and belief systems and more emphasis in trying in understanding. She's also an eclectic spiritual evolutionist, which should be interesting. Most of her history is going to be intact, which some alterations for believability, playability, and so on.

* * * * *

I also started work on a commision for a painting. I sketched out the design (a family portrait) with each person and the placement and got an enthusiastic thumbs-up from my client. We will be going to look at canvas sizes tomorrow. I'm pretty excited about this project and can't wait to get it really rolling. :-)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Victorian Mourning Outfit: Thoughts

After trying the dress, as it is so far, out at Clockwork, I started thinking that it just doesn't suit me. The skirts are fine thus far, as are the shoes (pictures soon). The top just isn't right for me and the color scheme feels awkward. I'm not going for a "steamgoth" look, but think it leaves that impression. But with the change in the outfit, the feel of the character I was making it for is also bound to change.

I might end up trying to sell the shirt online. I have a different one that I feel suits me and the look I'm going for much better.

I plan on starting work on the bustle skirt this weekend. I also recently got a top hat from Artifacts Boutique, which I might mod or not. We'll see if that happens.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Victorian Mourning Outfit: progress update

Movement on the outfit has been fairly slow. Holidays, illness, and typical family life tends to do that. But progress is still progress, no matter how quick or slow.
My husband and I took some photos to help us figure out a few things with our characters' outfits, which was fun and interesting. I searched for shoes that would work for use with my outfit, when LARPing or going to less physically taxing events. I also did research on how to make a bustle skirt, a mini hat, embellishments (kanzashi flowers being a main direction I plan to go in), and a new bustle based on a travelling bustle from the late 1800s.

The tough part is getting the outfit far enough to wear to Clockwork this Tuesday! I had this past week off, but with various celebrations and health issues, I didn't get a chance to go beyond research. I do, however, have the early part of tomorrow and the late part of Monday to work on getting things far enough along. I figure, all I really *need* is my black blouse, skirt (which needs both layers hemmed now that I have the right shoes), wide belt, bustle, bustle skirt (or something that could substitute), and my shoes. A new ruffled cravat would be great too. Out of all that, only two or three real tasks. (Getting a comment here from the guy heading the event was a real motivational push... though I didn't see it until a month after he sent it.)

I don't want to rush this outfit and end up with something I hate, but I'd really love to wear this outfit to something. If push comes to shove, I can just wear the blouse, a vest, nice slacks, and some accessories for a nice steampunk look that's a bit more laid back. We'll see what happens.