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Recap Face Off: Return of the Champions

Episode 7: Queen Bee

This week begins with another foundation challenge in which the 10 remaining contestants must choose from a variety of over-the-top hats as inspiration. The guest judge is Lois Burwell, who you may remember from last season when she filled in as the season judge for Ve Neill.

 Their 2-hour foundation challenge begins as they all scurry to find a hat that speaks to them. Some of the hats are beyond ridiculous and Stephanie, Logan, and Kelly all seem to find these crazy pieces in a huge dandelion, a large black ship, and and bright tinker toy hat respectively. Rob find a top hat to draw inspiration from and begins to create his version of a darker Pinocchio, one that was forever lost at sea. I really am not a fan of this look, it didn’t really turn out how I thought it was going to when he described it as being a dark Pinocchio, although Lois only has minor critiques of it.

Emily picks out the absolute biggest, most shiny hat there is and begins to wrap her model in an asymmetrical tinfoil dress. I cannot believe how crazy this looks. Her model looks like a baked potato just out of the oven. As she starts laying down color and adding crushed rhinestones to the model’s skin, however, her vision starts to really take shape and honestly looks pretty awesome. Lois agrees and Emily wins top look for this foundation challenge, ensuring her immunity in the upcoming spotlight challenge.

Cuckoowasp  Europeanornet

The spotlight challenge takes place with the contestants hiking out to Canyon Ranch, home to many television and movie scenes. Mackenzie is all a buzz to let them know that this week they will not be headed to the lab; much to the dismay of many contestants who just aren’t that fond of the great outdoors. This challenge will take place in only 5 hours, instead of their normal 3 days and will consist teams of two body painting both a male and female model drawing inspiration from an insect and it’s corresponding habitat. As a blast from the past, Nix Herrera will be helping the contestants during the challenge as he is known for his body painting abilities and prior experience on Season 2.

The 10 quickly team up into the 2-person teams, consisting of Jamie and Emily, Rob and Adam, Kelly and Ben, Darla and Stephanie, and Logan and Julian. The teams scramble out into the woods to find their habitats and insect inspiration. Jamie and Emily quickly find the Honey bee and start work on designing their Queen and a worker drone, utilizing the male model as a companion to their queen. Rob and Adam come across the ladybug and settle on making the male model into larva in a Sistine Chapel esque pose with their queen. Similarly, Logan and Julian get the beautiful Cuckoo Wasp and decide to also make their male model into larva.

Kelly and Ben find the European Beetle habitat and Kelly comes up with an amazing idea to paint the female model as the head and thorax of the beetle and the male as the abdomen. Unfortunately Ben takes control of the male model and is determined to used the male to blend into the background. While Kelly doesn’t like the idea, she doesn’t speak up much and concedes to his wishes. Darla and Stephanie happily take on the Jewel Beetle with it’s bright, vibrant colors and also decide to blend the male model into the background and leave focus on the Queen.

Ladybug  Honeybee

After the teams finish their designs and get started on painting, the coaches arrive! Anthony, Laura and Race take time listening to each team’s ideas and offering advice. Immediately Laura asks Logan if he knows what a Cuckoo Wasp larva looks like, and when he admits to just kinda making it up, she makes the suggestion of using the male model as the abdomen of their queen. Wait, what? Looks like they’ll be doing what Kelly wanted to do. When Anthony learns Ben is going to be blending the male model he suggests maybe trying something else as it may not be enough; but Ben is dead set on blending, much to the dismay of Kelly.

Laura  also suggests that blending may be a bad idea to Darla and Stephanie, who are more receptive to the advice and go with her suggestion to make the male model the wings of the queen. After they decide to go with her suggestion though, Darla finds it difficult to make leaves into translucent wings and seriously begins to question whether they are under-utilizing the male model.

 Last looks comes fast and the teams scramble to apply as much paint as they can to get their models well placed into the habitat backgrounds so the photo shoot can begin. We join back up with the contestants the following day with the judges in the studio where their models are displayed in beautifully artistic photos, posing in their habitats.

      Jewelbeetle 

The Cuckoo wasp is crazy good and I absolutely love the colors used and how they utilized the male model’s arm as the wasp leg. The ladybug was just awful as I didn’t understand the larva or the blocky colors used. The judges; Ve, Glenn, and Neville also loved the Cuckoo wasp as well as the Honey bee,which had great texture and looked a lot like the fur-like hairs that are on a bee. The Jewel beetle, ladybug, and European hornet did not go over quite as well as Darla’s fears that their male model was underutilized come to fruition.
In the end it is the Cuckoo wasp that takes top look and the win goes to Logan. Kelly, Ben, Rob, and Adam find themselves in the bottom, but it is ultimately the ladybug that loses, sending Rob home for his blocky lines on the female’s face and the confusing larval male model. I fully agreed with the judges decisions this week and would have chosen Rob to go home myself.

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Learn to Crochet!!

Lately a lot of cool patterns have been popping up for crocheting and maybe you want to start to learn. Well now is as good a time as any! I will show you some great tutorials on YouTube to help get you started! If you shop at your local Hobby Lobby, use this coupon and get 40% off!  It can be printed or brought up on mobile web.

To start off, you will need some supplies:

A crochet hook (they come in various sizes, my favorite is the 5.00mm and 6.00mm)

Crochet Hooks  5.00mm 6.00mm

My 6.00mm even has an Ewok!
My 6.00mm even has an Ewok!

A yarn that is neither too dark nor too light (using yarn that is woven a bit tighter is easier to learn with. I prefer the “I Love this Yarn” brand found at Hobby Lobby)

Some stitch markers (pssst, I use bobby pins)

This is a work in progress and I used a bobby pin to remind me where to start up again

 

Yarn Needles to sew in ends

Here is a playlist I have made to help you along your way (It’s dangerous to go alone)!!

There are a lot of resources out there on the internet to help you find what you want to make. Some of my favorite websites to check out are Nerdigurumi and of course Pinterest. There are so many different patterns and tutorials for the taking on there.  When you start and its not coming out the way you were expecting, don’t feel discouraged! I started in January and I am still continuing to learn new things about crochet, don’t worry friends, you will get there.

Here are some things I’ve made along my learning.

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Interview: Joanne Arnett, Creator Of Secret Admirer Handmade Cards

47dce2b4896924dc6cdc5bbf8c20867e_largeJoanne Arnett is an artist on a mission to spread love this Valentine’s Day. Her Kickstarter project, Secret Admirer, has already received a huge response with over 500 backers supporting her efforts to bring a little joy from Loveland, OH to their loved ones and secret crushes. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Joanne about art and romance in general.

Ari: When did you first start crafting and making art?

Joanne: I’m one of those kids who always wanted to be an artist. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t making something

Ari: Do you think handmade papercrafting is becoming a dying art?

Joanne: I visited the SOFA expo in Chicago this fall and there were some great paper/craft based pieces exhibited. Artists are working with the paper in books and maps and making something completely new. The Hansel & Gretel: a shadow theater note book project  currently running on Kickstarter is a beautiful example of contemporary paper craft. I think craft in general is experiencing resurgence and paper is certainly a part of that. So no, I don’t think it’s dying.

Ari: Where do you normally get inspiration from for your art or crafting ideas?

Joanne: I take a lot of inspiration from photography. The process of developing an image is sort of magic, and that experience of seeing an image appear is important to my work. I’m drawn toward awkward and imperfect images, bad yearbook portraits, mug shots, folk and outsider art.

Ari: What advice do you have for others, particularly women, who are interested in art and crafting as more than just a hobby?

Joanne: Get your work out there! You can make the best quilts, sketches, letterpress cards, whatever. But if you don’t get your work out there no one will know and others can’t enjoy it.

Ari: Did you ever expect such a huge response to your Kickstarter idea?

Joanne: Nope. I hoped there would be fifty people who wanted a $5 postcard so the project would be funded, and if things went really crazy well I might be 200% funded. Surprise! The response has been wonderful. I’ve started writing messages and each one makes me smile.  I feel so lucky to be sending out so many lovely notes.

Ari: What do you love most about Valentine’s Day?

Joanne: We should probably all tell those we love that we care about them more often than we do, so I think it’s nice that there is one day of year designated as a time to do just that.

RogueGalleryDetail
Rogue Gallery Detail

Ari: What would be your idea of the most romantic Valentine’s Day surprise?

Joanne: A bottle of champagne and a handmade card.

Ari: Are you inspired by any romantic movies and what are your favorites?

Joanne: I don’t know if this is really considered a romantic movie, but that moment when Johnny Depp swings past Mary Stewart Masterson’s window in Benny & Joon is just perfect. And I think Lost in Translation is a beautiful love story, although it’s about a different kind of love.

SelfPortrait
Self Portrait

Ari: What are some other art pieces you are working on?

Joanne: I am currently creating thesis work for a master of fine arts degree at Kent State University. I break apart the materials used in traditional photography, paper becomes cotton yarn and the metals used in light sensitive emulsions become silver wire, and I build portraits by weaving the new materials together. The image is visible when light bounces off the shiny wire, and it disappears as the viewer’s perspective changes. It’s exciting to create art in a way I’ve never seen before.

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Interview: Rob Dunlop of Cosplay Fever

cosplay feverRob Dunlop and Peter Lumby are a team of comic book writers behind the multimedia sensation Cosplay Fever. They became interested in showcasing the world of cosplay and it’s talented inhabitants when they were making appearances at different comic and anime conventions. Cosplay Fever was launched with two books of the duo’s photography, and has evolved with a new series of “lip-dub” videos that are spreading fast across the internet. I had the opportunity to chat with Rob about their inspiration and future plans for Cosplay Fever as well as their current lip dub of “Let Me Entertain You.”


Ari:
How did you guys catch “cosplay fever” and do you also cosplay?

Rob: We don’t cosplay, but if we did I’m sure our costumes would be utterly terrible due to lack of sewing skills! Peter Lumby (the other half of Cosplay Fever) and I used to make comic books, so we went to a lot of cons over the years and saw this unusual but strangely alluring pastime growing around us. The first time we witnessed cosplayers en masse was at the MCM Expo in London, October 2005.

Ari: What aspect of the art form of cosplay do you like the most?

Rob: The creativity and ingenuity involved in the design. What I really love is when the original character lacks detail (for example when the character is from an old video game) yet they come to life in costume form. The transformation is almost magical

Ari: Are you inspired more by Japanese manga as an artform or Western Comics?

Rob: I’m a lot more familiar with western art forms, so that’s more of an inspiration to me. I wish I had more knowledge of Asian culture but that’s something I aim to address

Ari: What was your favorite thing about making both books?

Rob: Meeting all the amazing, talented cosplayers! When we embarked on this project, we hoped that we would at least be tolerated by the cosplay community but we were bowled over by how friendly and open minded everyone was. These days most of my friends seem to be cosplayers. They are like superior lifeforms.

Ari: How do you think cosplay in the UK is different from the rest of the world? Or Is cosplay in the UK different from the rest of the world?

Rob: The relatively small size of the country probably makes the scene more intimate than in Japan or the US. You don’t have to go to many cons before you feel like you know half the people there, which adds to the experience I think. And although I’m slightly biased I do think that we have some of the most skilled, passionate cosplayers here in the UK, who help to infuse the community with energy and creative ambition.

Ari: How has the culture of cosplay changed since you have been documenting it? Or has the culture of cosplay changed at all?

Rob: I don’t think the culture has changed really, but there’s more people cosplaying now, and perhaps the standard of costume has got more impressive. There’s a competitive edge to cosplaying, but as far as I can tell it’s a positive thing – great artists inspiring each other to always keep aiming higher.

Ari: How was Aya Con?

Rob: Sublime! And tiring They played our “Raise Your Glass” video on the big screen during the masquerade and it was epic being there for that. So much positive energy

Ari What was the main inspiration behind the new lip dub for “Let Me Entertain You”?

Rob: “Raise Your Glass” was a song about the triumph of the underdog, and it’s a contemporary American track. “Let Me Entertain You” has a different tone, it’s more sexy and edgy, and it’s an old Britpop classic, so we thought it would make a nice change in pace. The song was actually suggested to me by a friend. We don’t want to do the same kind of track every time. After the Aya vid we shot a zombie / cosplay music video, to “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns n Roses, so that’ll be VERY different, when we finally get round to editing it

Ari: What inspired you to start making lip dubs?

Rob: To be honest, it was a lot to do with the technology. I only recently bought a DSLR camera which could shoot video. Before that I had cheap camcorder, but the quality was mediocre at best. If you look at youtube, pretty much everything made before 2008 looks horrible compared with what people can shoot today with a budget DSLR. The shallow depth of field you get with a nice lens on a DSLR is hard to beat, so us little guys can finally make videos which don’t look like they were shot with a phone.

I’m also a big fan of Ackson Lee’s cosplay videos. He has a lot of imitators but there’s only one Ackson. He has a great eye and knows how to construct a shot and choreograph action with little or no planning. He started something of a revolution in terms of cosplay videos and he’s rightfully become something of a legend. I also knew that if we tried to do anything similar it would just be Ackson-lite at best, so with the lip dubs we’re going down a different route.

Ari: What is your creative process?

Rob: After we choose a song, we try to find a theme so we can plan the intro scene, and we look for any particular lyrics which might work for certain characters. We lucked out with “Raise Your Glass”, which had a couple of lines that were perfect for some cosplayers we knew. The actual shots are worked out on the day, as we don’t know exactly what characters will be available, where we’ll be shooting or what the weather will be like. The camera is generally on a tripod, so that once we’re happy with the framing we can film a few people in a row, to speed things up. It’s a video tripod, which means we can do smooth tilting and panning when the performer moves around. If there’s time, we’ll shoot close shots, which have nice blurry backgrounds, and wide shots, which show the cosplayer’s full costume. We often shout and wave our arms around during the filming, and even bust out some dance moves ourselves, which probably looks quite frightening. There are a few cosplayers who need absolutely no direction, and they are constantly coming up with great ideas. Being prepared to try something new and risk failing is a great skill.

After the shoot comes the editing, which is fun but grueling due to the amount of footage we get. This is the price we pay for including so many performers, who are often singing the whole song. To be honest, it’s not a perfect system, hours and hours of footage to get 4 minutes of final video very inefficient, and I’m sure we’ll refine it in future to make the editing more manageable.

Ari: Any plans to bring Cosplay Fever to other countries besides the UK?

Rob: We’d love to go abroad with Cosplay Fever, but right now we don’t have the budget for that. If we get a publisher on board for the next book, or a con wants to ship us over, we’d go in a heartbeat

Visit the guys at:

http://www.cosplayfever.com/

http://www.facebook.com/cosplayfever

http://www.youtube.com/user/CosplayFeverBook

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