Fire In the Soul

Fire In the Soul
"Fire In the Soul" From the Merka series in The Elves of the Woodland Realm

Monday, December 3, 2018

Underwater Fantasy Photo Shoot: Astrological Signs - The First Six

It has been a long while since I have posted and I am about to show you why.

Not only did we travel to Scotland for 2 weeks in June this year, and all of my kids had large birthday parties, but I was also apart of a collaboration with local artists.

My friend, Maegan Hall of Maegan Hall Photography, approached me and asked me what I thought about designing costumes fro this idea she had. She had a vision of doing an underwater photo shoot with the theme of the 12 astrological signs. She asked if I would design and create the costumes for the shoot. of course I jumped on that. Not only do I just adore Maegan but the opportunity to be involved with such a creative collaboration was right up my alley.

I waited until after our Scotland trip, more about that later, I started designing and sewing. When Maegan first approached me about it my wheels started turning, so when it came time to actually sit down and sketch, it didn't take long. I spent most of my effort on researching the different Zodiac signs, their glyphs, colors associated with them, and personality traits.

I hadn't sketched all of my ideas before I started on the costumes themselves. At this point, the pool had been found, generously donated time by my brother-in-law, and booked for August 25th and 26th, and most of the models found. I had 2 months to get all 12 costumes finished. And I made it, barely.

I didn't create the costumes in order. But I will list them in order by sign.


I had this idea of channeling Grace Jones for Capricorn. Fierce and empowered. I think the model and I both nailed it.

Model Crystal R. China


Aquarius is a masculine sign, which, before this shoot I had no idea that the signs were masculine or feminine, but I digress...
Though he ended up with hardly any clothing, Aquarius was a difficult sign to interpret, along with Gemini. I knew I wanted to use blue and give a vibe of fun and independent, some of the signs traits typically. So, a loin cloth it was. The model, Ryan, was easy going and a trouper. He had no ide until he showed up what he was wearing, or not wearing. We has to weight the fabric down to keep it from floating too much underwater. I used fishing weights to accomplish this and later Maegan took them out post process.

Model Ryan Pugh


Well, this costume was a serious labor of love. Over 1000 beads. All hand stitched. The idea was inspired by a 2013 gown by The Blonds. I started with an aqua color gown. I wanted an ombre look to the beading so I used fabric dye to dye a portion of the bodice the coral color accent and then fabric paint for the white. I then began to bead. For days. And days. 5 days total and many of those days were 8 hours of beading. I love how it turned out though. I learned so much through this gown. I want to do another one now that I know what I need to do and not do. I was ver inspired despite all of the hours and beads involved.

Model Atiya Rahman


Aries wasn't hard, it was just time consuming. I knew what I wanted to do I just had to find time to mold and shape all of the armor pieces. Fortunately, one of the team members has a business doing 3D printing. 8Bit Cosplay to the rescue. They 3D printed the spikes I had sculpted out of clay. It was amazing and fast. All I had to do was paint them and attach them to the EVA foam armor.

Originally I wanted gold and a deep, almost maroon red. Like an ox blood red, but my budget was running thin so I had to go with a red I had. It worked. Especially adding black pants and shirt as a base.

Model Ross Muhlenberg


Taurus was probably the easiest one for me to come up with and make. I used techniques I use all the time in my designs so it was kind of a no brainer. I have made real tree bark belts and waist cinchers in the past. And I have made numerous head pieces over the years. So again, easy.

Model Laura Muhlenberg


Gemini, Gemini was the other sign that was difficult. Initially we had twin models, unfortunately, that fell through, which changed what I was envisioning. Which workout, so it wasn't a big deal. Being flexible is a good thing. Gemini was also the last sign I designed. Which again, worked since the model situation changed. I decided to go with the theater masks to represent the Gemini's glyph, twins and the duality that tends to be a thing with Gemini's. One was cool tones and one warm. I used vintage silks and ribbons. I also used a metalic wax to color the masks and to help seal them. Remember these need to withstand being underwater for a few hours.

As I was writing this post I realized it was super long. So, I'm breaking it up into two separate posts. You can find the second half here.
And you can read about the photography side of the project here (link coming soon). I will have these costumes for sale in my Etsy shop in 2019.  Follow my blog to keep up with all the new things coming in 2019!!!

Underwater Fantasy Shoot: Astrological Signs Highlight from Boutwell Productions on Vimeo.

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