Hello, hello, hello! It's time I begin updating this bad boy again since theres a huge link to the blog from my shiny new website! (CuteNotKawaii.com) So, the plan here is to expand upon Instragram updates with more photos and details. For instance, I'll be posting all the photos that go regularly unused from the popular #Pretendsday posts. the only way blogging is going to happen is if I keep to a schedule, so we'll see how this goes...
Bu for now, here's a little bit about what I've been up to for the past year.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
My Father has been an enormous influence on the current state of my creating career. He is an engineer and leader in the field of plastics. He has designed and built machines that mix, pump and spray and variety of resins, plastics, rubbers, and ceramics. As a result plastics have always been a part of my life.
When I got into making jewelry there was immediately attraction to the simplicity of Epoxy to create unique pieces. Like most hobbyists I was pouring the resin in a premade bezel to encase artwork or objects, and while the results were promising, I quickly became bored with the lack of a WOW factor. The tiny paintings covered in a glass like seal just didn't do much for me. They just weren't unique.
Fast forward a few years and my jewelry portfolio had significantly expanded. The pieces I was producing were selling and gracing Charlotte runways shows, but never really satisfied me. I felt like I was trying to be someone else and that my designs said nothing about me. They looked pretty good, but felt very hollow. I was beginning to think I had lost my passion and that jewelry was just another crafting hobby that I would slowly abandon. Depression was also setting in pretty hard, due to some shit going in my professional and personal life. Designing was a burden, and a chore like doing laundry.
Then, I made something silly.
This stupid ice cream bracelet changed my life. How ridiculous is that? Made for a charm project at work it reminded me that not everything had to be so serious all the time!
Ice cream charms lead to sketching all sorts of designs centering around sweets. I began to realize that locating all the materials needed to make these crazy new designs would not only be a near impossibility, it would be immensely expensive. The concept of making my own components became extremely attractive, and the sculpting of prototypes began.
Polymer charm artists deserve SO much respect, as they repeatedly create the same shape with remarkably similar results, and hold up quite well. My sculpts were far too brittle to wear, and took way too long to turn a profit. I also found polymer clay to be extremely limiting as a medium. My thoughts returned again to resin, and what I could make that look like as well as it's durability. The world of custom toys, that i had log been attracted to, became another huge source of inspiration both for encouragement to think out of the box, and for picking up techniques. Sketching turned to experiments, and led to classes. I began to wrangle supplies and experiments eventually led to success. Simultaneously, I was learning more and more about the Plastic arts and Novelty Brooch scene that seems to have gotten much of its start in Australia. I realized that not only was there a demand for the type of product I was creating, but that my work was solid, and some of the best looking designs I'd ever created. All this because I had stopped trying to design for the masses, and instead, I just designed for me. I had stopped designing to sell for a while, and focused on redefining my personal aesthetic.
At this time I spent a weekend with my best friends at Dragon Con. I walked the dealer room and then the Artist Alleys, and really felt a bit underwhelmed. Yes, there was BRILLIANTLY beautiful artwork there, but not much if you weren't looking for something to frame. As far as jewelry goes, what little there was only really appealed to a fantasy audience. I realized (with the help of a few very important ladies) that my new project fit the market here and filled niche that had been mostly ignored. And with my past experience with selling at conventions, I knew this was something I could handle. I set my sights on Dragon Con, and put on my blinders.
I have been building a following on IG I decided to use it as both an excuse to play dress up, and a marketing tool. Every Wednesday I build an outfit based off a character from Pop Culture. My favorites are usually cartoons, but I've pulled from all mediums. I frequently use a costume as an excuse to sculpt something new, and It helps me build stock as well as stay motivated. Everyday Cosplay (casual or closet cosplay, also referred to as Bounding) allows me to tap into skills I rarely get you use, and It challenges me to constantly create new looks. Believe it or not, I actually buy less clothes now, and do more alterations on things I already own. Most importantly is it has helped me build the confidence and inspiration to continue with my craft.
If you would please be so kind as to check out my website and Instagram, it would really make my day! I'm also taking inquiries about custom work.