Friday, March 29, 2013

White Peach Blooming

All of Leslie's three styles of dance require a separate gown.  She and husband/partner Lee compete in American Smooth, Rhythm, and International Standard Ballroom.  Her Standard and Smooth gowns share floral details.  The Smooth gown has hand made passimentary roses, buds and vines.
Her Standard gown is a tropical fantasy of vibrantly bright, multicolored 2 dimensional flat blooms drenched in Swarovski sparkle. 
But her rhythm gown was a simple shape with clean lines and no flowers at all.  Until this week!
Leslie and Leland are headed to Amateur Nationals next week, to defend their championship titles.  Lee got a new look for his Smooth dancing earlier this spring, and looks very dapper and chic in his new shawl collar sleeveless jacket. 
Thank you Scott Anderson for sharing your photograph!
But Leslie was ready for a new look for the olderst of her gowns, and (following a comment at a recent showcase from coach and judge Mariusz Oslewski) wanted to bring pizazz, focus and color to the elegant, clean shape we originally designed.  I believe there can also be an advantage to visual cohesivness across the range of styles a couple dances, so we made White Peach bloom!
We gave her right shoulder a beautiful coral and peach toned garden, accented with limey green orchids.  We also created a choker and cuff, to balance the silk grouping on the right shoulder.  And we added just a little Swarovski sparkle to the garden, to help is belong to and blend with the gown.
We were careful to stay out of the way of her upper left back, where Lee's hand connects with her in hold, and the placing the cuff on the left hand both helped with garment balance, and kept the garden away from wrist connections in their choreography.

We send our best wishes for a joyous and successful competition to Leland and Leslie and appreciate the chance to "dance along." 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thank you Eva Maria!

I am a ballroom dancewear designer by day, but after dinner, I play with beads.  Through my beadwork, I have met a most remarkable woman, Eva Maria Keiser.  She is a beader, designer, and artist extraordinaire, with a phenomenal understanding of three dimensional structural beadwork. Those amazing pieces bannered across the top of her blog are part of her Chess Piece Series, but beyond that they are also vessels! (Go ahead, use thise link and check them out,  I'll wait!) 

She creates astonishing jewelry, which she refers to as "Adornment" that is truely alive in all three dimensions, as these recent pieces attest, something I really admire as a dancewear designer. And if this artistic brilliance were not sufficient, she is also a super blogger, posting daily with tutorials, beautiful beadwork, and introductions to the best beaders in the world.  She knows everybody, and features bead artists and their work in many ways.

One of my favorites among her regular features is her Artist Colorway Series.  She examines an artist's work carefully, and assembles a color plot, which she displays alongside the work.  Today, she is featuring one of my ballgowns and I am so very honored.   I believe that my costume design work and my bead design work are linked, and I really appreciate her recognition of that as well.  Please visit her blog, and check it out!  She featured another of my pieces last year, and I am truely honored.

You can see more of Eva Maria's own breathtaking work in the soon-to-be-published book,
Suzanne Golden Presents: Interviews with 36 Artists Who Innovate with Beads
and read about her personal innovations and style, along with seeing some wonderful eye candy!  I cannot wait for my copy to arrive, and highly recommend this book.

So this little post is a big THANK YOU, to a woman who promotes bead art and artists every day.  Here's to you Eva Maria, for all you do for the world wide bead community.  You are in inspiration to me, my friend.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ginger for Sharon

It has been a while since I have blogged.  Too busy making costumes is an easy excuse to voice, but it happens to be true.  And things that do not have deadlines are harder to find time for than things that must be finished on a specific time line.  So enough with the excuses!  Let me introduce you to Sharon's "Ginger!"
Sharon is a new dancer and planned to compete for the first time at the Snow Ball, but an injury side-lined her.  She had a simple shape in mind, when she came to her design meeting, and hoped for a copper color.  I had to do a little hunting, as it is not a typical ballroom color, And found several possible options for her, rangind from bronze, through copper to rust.  Sharon chose a great piece of slinky and a wonderful ombred organza to go with it.  The ombre shifted from the ginger to purple, and we used that purple both on the inner most skirt...
A view from beneath the skirt
And in the glittering rhinestone embellishment...
Embellishment Pattern
 That embellishment design was created from a photo Sharon brought to me of burnished light fixtures in her home.  I had told her the stoning pattern could be anything she liked, and she wanted an all-over texture.  Her photo was inspiring and using a combination of  Siam AB, Red Magma, Crystal Astral Pink, Crystal Copper, and Heliotrope stones, we created this result for her.
Back View
We also made a necklace, earrings and two cuffs in the Siam AB, Heliotrope, and Crystal Astral Pink.

We hope to see Sharon and her new gown in the Twin Cities in the near future!