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DragonCon 2009 Cruxshadows Dancers!

Hi folks, these are the pics of the Cruxshadows dancers, Jessica and Holly, in the costumes I made for them this year as mentioned in my previous post.  I will get around to posting my other con pics shortly.  Enjoy!











DragonCon 2009

Bad Blogger am I.   It has been such a ridiculously long time since I posted.  I have been crazy busy for so long that I may have lost my mind a while back and just didn't notice. 

Anyway, DragonCon 2009 has been the most awesome time I have ever had at DragonCon for as long as I have been attending.  That is saying a lot.  But there were many factors in making it the best.  I have so many incredible friends to see at this con.  This year, I got to see really how many people there are that I can call friends.  I was overwhelmed, and very humbled by how lucky I am to know so many of you.  A big shout out to AOME!  Finally getting to spend some time with Zeno and Laura - you guys rock!  Mommagorn, Maddy, Kayleigh, Shannon, Kassie, and Dan - best roomies ever!  Jo - always there for me.  Philip made sure I didn't die on my way to con, and on my way home.  Thanks to all of you.

Also, I got to do something this year that I have wanted to do for a long time.  Somehow the stars aligned, and I had the opportunity to make costumes for one of my favortie bands of all time - The Cruxshadows!

Jessica and Holly, the drop dead gorgeous dancers, always wear brilliant fairy costumes during DragonCon.  Last year, I offered my services as a leatherworker and costumer to make them a new ensemble to debut in 2009.  Not to pat myself on the back, but I have to say that the finished costumes look amzing - and of course that has as much to do with how beautiful these models are.  They were happy with the costumes, so you can imagine I was jumping up and down inside like a fanboy.  How many people get to do something for artists that they really admire?  To show appreciation for their craft and their generosity? How lucky am I to have been able to do just that?  Jessica mentioned wanting me to work on another costume for next year - it doesn't get better than this!

My armor panel for the Tolkien track was so much fun to do this year - thanks to Jean for making it happen for me.  I hope that all those attending had a good a time, and that they can feel free to email me anytime with any questions or comments they might have.
I was very excitedd to have the panelists on the costuming track pull me up to talk on some of the panels with them.  They were all so gracious and had such incredible knowledge and skill, that I felt very honored that they wanted me to share the panel with them.  Thank you guys so much.

Probably the biggest highlight of the convention for me was meeting Miss Murder.  She has been a long time friend of Rogue and Jessica, and she and Jessica create the incredible costumes that the dancers wear at DragonCon.  We immediately began discussing ideas for costumes we could collaborate on.  She does wonders with fabric - fabric has always scared the hell out of me, which is why I work with leather :).  I can't tell you how much fun I had just being in her presence.  I am so very excited about working with her on future projects.  Miss Murder, if you read this - you made the Con for me!

Well let me go ahead and post some pics!

Email Woes Resolved

Yay! Email woes and internet/computer trouble have been resolved, and the studiokensai@comcast.net address is working glitch free now.  Please direct all correspondence to that address again.   MC

Current contact info

Hey folks! We're having some email complications right now, so please contact us by phone, via LiveJournal, or from our Etsy store [studiokensai.etsy.com]. We'll let you know as soon as it's all resolved. Thanks :)


--Abi

A Long Expected Party

Wow, what an incredible experience that was.  I did not know entirely what to expect when i first arrived, but I left with an immense sense of. . . well, fellowship. 

I made some incredible new friends this weekend, people who I feel very close to, like we have already been friends for years.  And I got to get know some of you who I had known for years but really did not get to spend time with at the larger conventions like DragonCon. 

So I thank all of you for such a rich experience - the organizers of course, who put such incredible effort into making this unique event possible - the volunteers who also gave so much their valuable time so that the rest of us could enjoy ours - the guests who shared their knowledge, insights, and artistry that truly make Middle Earth a real place - the archers, whose company gave me much cause to rejoice, for the skills developed from archery ensure that they give the best hugs :) - my new friends from the central area of my home state, i can only say, "I would not take the ring within a league of your nethers!" - my delightful drinking buddy, I will think of you when burning my pine cone - a teacher in a cloak, the "official party photographer," an Elf Witch or possibly an elfwich :), a pirate turned Lord of Rivendell, a Canadian Ranger, a Canadian Elven Princess, a redhead with an accent to match, she who rides horses in armor, a student eager to learn of leatherworking, twins with one suffering a injury at the event, aranger with actual military experience and his lovely wife, and far too many others to name.

It was a singular experience which I will not soon forget.

Elven Composite Armor from DragonCon 2008


Hi everyone,  here are the pics of the armor I wore at DragonCon this year.  It is a composite armor, made of  thick cuirbouille hardened leather overlayed with brass sheet, and then overlayed again in hand-cut embossed leather so the brass shows through.  The maille shirt I posted before DCon is under it and  a set of composite vambraces are fitted over the integral vambraces on the maille shirt.  The breastplate articulates below the sterrnum so that it can collapse and allow me to bend forward.  The upper molded backplate is not joined to the corset lower torso armor, so it allows me to twist and bend.  I have full range of motion and all of the buckle strap ends tuck back into the armor for a very clean uncluttered silhouette.  The leather gorget protects my throat and shows my rank pips (used to be a Star Trek fan, couldn't help it.) 

Designwise, it borrows heavily from my old Elven Armor with the eagle wing and vine motif.  It's MUCH more comfortable than my old armor though it's heavier and it offers significantly more protection.  Now it's time to make a new bow and quiver to go with it :)


      

  




Completed SD 13 Doll Armor

It's been a while in coming, but it's finally here.  The Doll Armor I was working on long ago is finally finished.  It's a traditionally water hardened breastplate, backplate and spaulders, with a flexible corset and vambraces.  All of the buckles are functional tiny 1/4" brass plated buckles.  The armor surface is tooled and the embossed areas are painted gold.  It fits the Volks SD13 ball jointed doll Boy body.   It's real armor... only smaller.  It's now on it's way to California with the body it's modeled on.  One of our firends was kind enough to loan us the SD13 body to use as a body reference for the armor.  I had uber tiny inlaid chainmail to go with this armor, but at that size, I think I may have gone blind if I continued.  It twould take longer to make that tiny shirt, than it would take me to make a full sized one.  Well I might pick it up again, when I feel particularly insane that day. 

Well here it is, The last pic has a 12 inch ruler for scale.

      





      


New Etsy Store

Just finished our brand new Etsy shop! Come on over and check it out ^_^ 

New Etsy Shop

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Getting ready for DragonCon

Too Busy to do any regular posting :(  But here is the work in progress.  Still have a bunch to do on it, one week left til Con.  Can't speak in complete sentences. 

The vambraces are actually attached to the mail shirt, and note how the straps tuck into the vambrace itself and the inner face is smooth so a bowstring won't snag when loosed.  The shirt itself is bronze anodized aluminum with gold anodized aluminum inlaid pattern.  1/4" rings - took a long time.

The spaulders are cuirbouille hardened leather underlayer covered by a brass plate or brass scales and then another layer of hardened leather on top - with cutouts to show the brass underneath.  New technique, VERY STURDY armor.  The breastplate will be made the same way and I have a brass scale skirt to go with it.  Much heavier than my old armor but the weight is better distributed.  The lines of my new armor are closer fitting and a little smoother than my old armor. Hopefully it will make me look a little more svelte. :)

 






Silver Dragon Vambraces

I got inspired the other day and whipped up a new design for some metal and leather vambraces.  The design is modified from the Barbarian vambraces, and incorporates over 100 individual steel scales on each vambrace.  The overlapping scales and the rivets in back make a very dense and rigid structure that takes impact very well.