Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Antlers Of The Valkyrie

Here are a few close-up shots of the antler headdress, and the Swarovski crystals I applied, so far. I was planning on a lot more to cover each horn, but was running short on time and sleep the night before the show.

I did, however; hear that this had an interesting effect on stage, as it gave a gradient to the sheer magnitude of bright sparkle, going from shimmery to super bright toward the antler's tips.
My use of somewhat chunkier crystals was on purpose; I desired an ice crystal-like effect to the surface. I also wanted them to look like real antlers, so I made them slightly different in reach on each side, since antlers in nature are never perfectly matched.

Naturally, I'll have questions from people regarding the style of headdress I chose in relation to what people imagine a Valkyrie wearing. Usually we see them with wings or the Brunhilde style horns on the sides of a clunky helmet, or dressed like She-Ra. That is mostly the product of Victorian novelizations on these demi-goddesses in books, and classical to modern media. My approach was a farther reach into Scandinavian culture, history, and a mix of the ancient tales about the Valkyrie.

The classically Victorian to Edwardian Valkyrie

Originally, I had planned on having a lot more of the braided hair on top, wound around the base of the antlers to cover up the cap/helmet. After experimenting while rushing to get ready, I realized it was not only making it too heavy, it looked funky. And not in that awesome Bootsy Collins kinda way.
I decided to go with the fact that the silver paint made it look like a metal "helmet" of sorts, but one that was possibly fused to or growing out of my skull. Perhaps a real Valkyrie would have such a thing in a crazy fantasy realm? Taking this idea further, I simply took a few drops of hot glue to attach the braid around the edge of the helmet, added some decorative silver braid to the top, added some ties (one for under my chin to stabilize the whole thing), and viola!
I was done and rushing out the door to the show.

This moderately towering headdress was surprisingly comfortable to wear and not that heavy. With my base sculpt of wire and Celluclay (paper mache), it had one coating of a special Bondo mixture, a secret recipe mixed up for me by Anders. The crystal added a minimal amount to the weight.

After helping me apply the layer of Bondo I sanded smooth, Anders primes and paints my antlers a few shades of silver with his airbrush.

I may add some of the darker shade of Swarovski I had also purchased for these, but ran out of time to apply, at the base of the antlers. They would gradually go from the "Black Diamond" shade into the "Silver Shade" color I have on them now.
I have to say that this silver shade color, second to the Aurora Borealis coating Swarovski does, is the brightest sparkle I've ever used from them. The difference being that they don't have the rainbow effect of the AB, just an extra sheer mirrored coating on one half of the surface. Sort of like mirrored sunglasses. The effect is stunning, and I tried to capture it in a few images.

Still, the camera does not do these crystals justice, but here's the antlers in all their glory...

Yet another thing I love about this new act; my hair takes only minutes to do.
I put the rest of my own hair into a bun, wrap the remaining braided hair pieces around it creating a large chignon, pin the hell out of it and I'm done. This also acts a good stabilizer for the headdress, since the two ends of the piece attached, get tucked into the top of my chignon, and pinned. It not only keeps it from sliding off the back of my head, it anchors the back set of ties underneath it, keeping it from sliding forward too :-)

Hopefully, more of the performance photos will roll in so you can see what this costume piece looks like worn...and the hair stuff I'm babbling on about ;-)

A Happy Fourth to you! XOXO

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