So a few weeks back, I told y’all that I’d sent some stuff off to be seen by the Costume Designer for HBO’s True Blood, Audrey Fisher. It was via an Artisan Group gifting opportunity and I was so excited to be one of the designers in the bag! Sadly, I was disappointed to learn just prior to Christmas that my design wasn’t one of the ones chosen to be used on the show. But the designer did pick several TAG member designs and they will be shown in episodes in season 6! I’m really excited for those folks. Looking at the designs she did pick, I can definitely see where mine were dramatically different in terms of look and feel and how they didn’t “fit” in terms of that look.
This is the first pair I designed. I went with the obvious. Black and red and drama all over. I was thinking of the character Pam when I made these. Had I chosen these, I’d have patinaed the metal a flat black all over (vamps don’t like silver!) for more impact.
Ultimately I didn’t opt to send these. For one, those are real rubies there and I didn’t have enough real rubies left over to make the second pair (you have to make two, in case the designer needs a duplicate when your design is chosen) which was problematic. More though, while they’re dramatic and fun and interesting, they didn’t really ping for me in the heart sense. They didn’t excite me. They looked really good, don’t get me wrong. They’ve been at the shop at the Port for a few weeks and garner a lot of OOOH! AH! as folks walk by (They’re $175, in case you were wondering, made with rubies, spinel and rock crystal in sterling. There’s a lotta rubies in them thar dangles…) but in terms of working for me for this show, it was a “no.”
This was a process with many iterations and ideas, two full executions, and one clear winner. I think ultimately the main reason I opted not to send these was because I wanted to stand out and the color scheme seemed a little obvious to me. I mean, sure, vamps, it IS obvious. There’s a reason I went with black, red and drama all over on the first go! Still… I wanted to do something with a little twistiness to it.
It was a really interesting process. I’ve never really designed “for” something like this before. I went through quite a few design sketches and ideas. I went in a lot of directions, before getting very clear that I was way off track. That regardless of the show’s theme or what other folks were doing, I wanted to create something in line with Honey&Ollie jewelry in general. I didn’t want to present my best guess of what the designer might want (it’s hard to be psychic about people’s taste or design process and she’s got a very clear design going for all these characters!) and I also didn’t want to present anything based on anything already made/worn that I’d seen in the show in previous seasons. I wanted to stay true to MY overall look and feel.
Because most of my work is story driven, I went back to the story. I spent about four days immersed in a True Blood marathon. It was, maybe, a little bit dark and scary in there! And ’round about Season 3, there were…. fairies. And Light. Magic Light. And all this beautiful magic Light being threatened by the encroaching darkness of Sookie’s association with the vampires. What’s that? Spoilers, sweetie? Don’t worry, I am not saying anything else.
I just became enchanted with the idea of pure light with an undertone of darkness. And so these were born.
Rock crystal, with tiny drops of spinel, in unpatinaed sterling. This look is very familiar for H&O, the gem cascade is definitely a big thing for my line. I really loved these. I felt like they stayed true to my own established aesthetic, while telling the exact story that I wanted them to tell. That slipping into darkness happens in tiny pieces, as we give bits of ourselves away. So easily, we never quite realize it’s happening until it is too late.
Okay so they also remind me of ice and winter berries. It’s totally winter and my brain was also going in seasonal directions.
“Light, with Darkness” I love them so much.
I packaged them in rose petal handmade paper, on their wee H&O poppy printed card, tied off with recycled silk sari ribbon in a bloody hue. Tucked that in a sheer organza bag of cream, and shipped it off to the TAG coordinator for this gifting. And then I waited.
The day came when I got the no, and I did go ’round the hamster wheel of disappointment for a bit. I did. But I also realized that, a year ago I was not ready to apply to TAG (I’d looked at their site last winter and realized I needed to wait a bit). A year ago, sending a piece of my work to a famous costume designer for a major, multi-season cable series was not something that I would have contemplated. Out of fear, out of rationalizing fear, out of just not being there yet, I dunno… it wouldn’t have happened is the point.
But this year, I did it. And I’m proud of that. Fiercely proud.
These earrings, the second pair? SO not for sale. They’re mine. I wore them the day I got the “no.” I wore them to remind myself that holy cow, look how far I got in a year. And whenever I need that reminder, I’ll wear them. They may have been not what the designer needed for Season 6, but they are exactly what I needed as a talisman of triumph and progress.
Sometimes it’s not about winning or succeeding, but truly it is about the doing and the effort and the getting there. I know Yoda was all, “Yeah don’t try, do.” and maybe to some extent that’s true? But I also believe in trying. You will never move, if you don’t try. I didn’t apply to The Artisan Group because I had a guaranteed “in”, after all. It was a crapshoot. A leap of faith. Just like applying to Crafted, just like starting a business, just like so many things. And in my belief system, a “no” is not failing. It is simply a different landing point than you’d hoped. The terrain looks different. One you can still use as another leaping off point, if you’re brave enough.
Leap and the net will appear. Or not. Just leap.
(apologies for any weirdness with photos. Flickr is suddenly not playing well with others. Working on a fix.)