Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Power of a Photograph to Sell

I have recently begun incorporating professionally shot photos of our masks into our Etsy listings, and in doing so have discovered just what a powerful tool a good photograph can be.

This filigree Hearts mask in red was first offered a year and a half ago. I thought it was a good design, but it barely sold.

A couple of weeks ago WinterWolf Studios took this photo of the Hearts mask, and suddenly sales of it are going through the roof! Same mask, different photo.

In a similar situation, my photo of the Raven mask on a mannequin drew little attention.

However this photo by Anya E Photography has got buyers clamoring for it. Same mask, better looking model!

PS. We are well into our Halloween season for masks, and are super busy, so don't expect too many posts until November.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Respirator #4

As I recall the first steampunk prop I ever made was the bad air transmutator respirator, which I still sell for $225 on Etsy. Ever since then, I've been wanting to design another respirator that I could sell for less. I make both respirators and gas masks, and the distinguishing feature in the nomenclature that I use is that respirators cover just the mouth and nose, whereas gas masks also cover the eyes.

I made a series of sketches to work out the design. I wanted to use mostly rivets in the construction, which is less labor-intensive than either machine- or handsewing.
Initially I wasn't going to provide any resin canisters as another cost savings measure.
Ultimately I decided to add two smaller identical canisters, as functionally it made little sense to have none.
Once I was happy with the pattern I tested it in green paper, and when that looked like it was working I cut it out of leather and riveted it all together. I need to add straps and make a few alterations, but I think it's a good beginning.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Olifant: The Completed Gas Mask

Here are photos of the completed gas mask Olifant, son of Pachydermos.

Made of veg tan leather that's been antiqued black. Hand sewn with waxed thread. Lenses are tinted acrylic. Lens frames and tusk canisters made of cold cast aluminum, steel wire and bolts. Detachable ears are copper and leather. Gauge is a sphygmomanometer. Hose is black neoprene.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

WinterWolf Studios Meets the Eyecage Mask...

...and this is the result!

Visit WinterWolf's website to see more of their gorgeous work. The Eyecage mask is for sale at my Etsy store.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Olifant: Neoprene Trunk Hose

The second batch of black neoprene arrived safely, and so I proceeded to build the plaster mold.

First I softened plasticine in the microwave, then built it up around my model. I leveled it out right at midline, and I poured the first half of the mold in plaster.

After curing I removed the plasticine and poured the second half. After letting the mold halves dry for a couple of days I held them together with large rubber bands, and filled the cavity with the liquid neoprene. The plaster absorbed moisture from the rubber and a thin wall of solid material built up.

I emptied out the liquid neoprene and let the casting dry overnight before removing it from the mold. Here I am preparing for the final assembly, with the neoprene hose connecting the leather mask and the pressure gauge.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Zipper Cap >>> High Priest Helmet

I showed the zipper cap to my assistant and she immediately said it looked like a bathing cap from the 1950's. I about died, because I knew she was spot on, and that wasn't the look I was after.

After a bit of thought I decided that if I added a military type neck guard it just might rescue the project from ignominy.

It was important that I kept with the non fastener method of assembly, and so I pondered how I could make the neck guard flaps interlock with the cap I already had. By repeating the lower edge and constructing mountain tabs to interlock I arrived at the pattern shown above.

I dyed the nine neck guard pieces in matching colors and assembled them in groups of three.

And here is the result. After assembly the entire helmet was antiqued black to give it an aged look.

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, and this model really gives it an other culture look.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Zanni Leather Mask

Here is something a little different for me. A Commedia dell'arte style mask of the long-nosed character Zanni.

Making this mask entails a lot more hand shaping than I normally do.

I have it listed for sale on my Etsy shop.