Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Clear Vinyl hood prints by Karen Hsiao

Karen Hsiao is starting to send me images of the photos she has taken with the clear vinyl hood I made for her a few weeks ago. I am just blown away (yet again) by how she can take the things I make and utterly transform them, taking them to another level of expression. 

In these pictures, the model's body head steams up the inside of the hood, creating a mysterious smoky effect. With her hair obscuring her face, the model's identity is partially hidden, but revealed too, through the transparent plastic. Her features are distorted and abstracted, and the only opening - at the mouth - emphasizes her glossy red lips. A symphony of flesh, moisture, body heat and hair. Reflection, transparency, asian beauty and a mood of quiet introspection. Has something just happened... or is it about to happen?

These (and two more images) are being offered by Karen as high-quality prints in her online shop for only $35. Check 'em out here...

I feel so fortunate to be working with Karen. I think together we're creating things that neither one of us would be able to accomplish on our own - I know she can sew, and I can take pictures, but there's some kind of alchemy at work. I keep grooving on the element of surprise, whenever I see what she has done with a piece, and where she has taken it.  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Serious Dinner Plans?

I just confirmed plans to have Mark from Serious Bondage come over for the evening. He's bringing along Dalton Ott, Ashley Renee and "Mumman"! 

The plan is to take some measurements for a future custom Ashley Renee project, and to wrap Dalton for his made-to-measure sleepsack project. And just meeting Mumman in person - I'm just in awe of everything he does. 

Well, this should certainly be an evening to remember!

Something tells me I need to go buy some more duct-tape...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Clear armbinder from PJW (also known as John Walker...)

I know most of you have probably seen the work of John Walker (AKA: PJ, or PJW_BDMAX, or hazy cosmic joe) floating around on the internet. Even if you don't recognize the name(s), you probably would recognize the images. 

I think the first things I saw from him that really stuck with me was a series of photos with a very pretty, very leggy blonde getting strapped into a very fitted and well made-straitjacket and posture collar. The immediate impression: this guy knows his stuff - he's got it. Fetish photographs in the mold of a John Willie/Irving Klaw classic-style bondage. Really nicely done. 

Over time I saw more images from this PJW character, each and every set of very high quality - beautiful models, gear that actually fit, real bondage and with skyscraper heels, boots, latex and long gloves. So many of my favorite things...

Well, in the age of the internet magical things happen, and one day - out of the blue - I received a friend request from this very person. At first, I couldn't believe it was him... Looked in his fetlife gallery, and wrote back to him: You did all of this? This is all your work? And you're sending me a friend request? I was just blown away. "I have been seeing and admiring your work for years!" I told him. 

So from time to time we correspond. I'll send him something, or he'll send me a video or images (such as the one below). Since he'd seen I have been working on clear vinyl projects, it seemed appropriate to send this one along, from a photo shoot he did a number of years ago. The armbinder made by friends to his specifications. 

Let's just say I'm happy to have met you, Mr. Walker! 

You can visit his fetlife page here, or see many more examples of his beautful work on deviant art here

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Transparent Butterfly Straitjacket

After all the other crazy see-through things I've been making lately, why not a butterfly straitjacket with attached hood? Why not... Karen Hsiao picked this one up tonight, and (as always) I'm looking forward to what she does with it. Promises to be very interesting... Stay tuned for updates!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Snap-on Face Covers

Wrapping up the snap-on face covers for the transparent vinyl hood project. 

One transparent vinyl hood (with a smaller face opening) got snaps all around. 
 The initial idea was to have a panel that could be removed made out of the clear vinyl. 
 It snaps into place to connect with the hood. 
 Since the face cover could be swapped out, I went ahead and did some other variations. Like a nose-only in black lamb:
 Open eyes and mouth in black patent:
Open-eyes and mouth in off-white lamb:
 Six different versions in all...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

New Open-Edition prints by Karen Hsiao

Karen Hsiao has just announced a new series of open-edition prints now available at her online store. These are some very-recently created images, and have a darker tone than her Black Cherries series. They're a bit more intimate, close-up, and in-your-face. Gorgeous prints on premium glossy paper for only $35? Hell yeah!

Click on the title to go to that print's page in Karen's store. 

Hoods in Clear Vinyl

Ongoing hood construction experiments in vinyl, this time crystal clear. Turns out that when Karen Hsiao tried to shoot the smoky dark tinted vinyl I worked with before (see here), it looked more like patent leather than something transparent. It wasn't exactly see-through when she got it on her model. 

There will be no mistaking it this time: this stuff is totally see-through. 

Can't say I love sewing the vinyl itself. It is difficult to work with - first off because it's so hard to see. I don't know how they ever managed to make Wonder Woman's invisible plane. It's very slippery and plastic-y. Doesn't breathe at all.
 There is something very precise about it, however... and it's cool to be able to see through to the marks on the other workpieces. These pieces don't stretch or move around as you sew them. 
 It makes aligning pattern parts pretty simple. Kind of like having x-ray vision. 
 You have to triple-check everything, because it's easy to work on the "wrong" side unintentionally. On one of these, I sewed the tongue to the wrong side. But then I thought: If I can't see it, will anyone even ever notice? My guess is no.
 I suppose it's a good exercise in stitch placement control. You could definitely see it clearly if you aren't sewing exactly on the line. 
 I used double-sided sewing tape to hold the seam allowance in place along curved mouth or face openings.
 On a leather workpiece, these seams could be glued down and folded before sewing. 
 But with the vinyl, I needed a way to hold the seam allowance in place without glue. I tried freehanding it without the tape, but it proved nearly impossible to get a smooth edge. It's too hard to pull the panels apart for topstitching while guiding all the little notched parts of the seam allowance in a controlled way. 
 Tape to the rescue. You can see the 3 hood types here: 2 open face variations, and one mouth-only. 
 Once the tape is in place, I peel off the backing paper with the seam ripper. 
 This leaves just the adhesive itself behind. 

 The 3 hoods, nearly complete: 
 One other thing I got to try was using heat to help the vinyl take the shape of the head form. I hit the hood gently with the heat gun. You can see the before and after below: It definitely works! The wrinkles smoothed out, and the hood really took on the complex contours of the wood form. 
I felt like I was walking a fine line: Just enough heat to take the shape. Too much, and I felt like the vinyl could easily ripple or distort too much. 

I'm also making a set of removable face-covers for one of the open-faced hoods. These will attach with snaps around the face opening. 

 There will be one in black lamb, one in ivory lamb, and one in the clear vinyl. 

There will be an open-eye and mouth version, along with a nose-only version in each material. 
 Before topstitching...
 ...and after:
 I like how the face-covers look almost like primitive masks or some kind of modern art...

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sad news... RIP Jeff Gord

The world of fetish bondage has lost a legend... I just found out that Jeff Gord (of House of Gord fame) died a just few days ago, on September 3rd. I'm still in a bit of shock. 

The man was a true fetish innovator, mechanical genius, and bondage artist. 

It is amazing when you consider all the devices he dreamed up, and then made real. And then shot and shared with us. How much he accomplished... 

Through Mark of Serious Bondage I actually got to meet Jeff over the phone. I had loaned out some suits, including some f-suit prototypes in vinyl which he shot. It was a dream come true to have someone I admired so much work with stuff I had made. 

He called me at work, and fortunately did most of the talking. He was kind, smart, friendly and very funny, and full of ideas for future projects. I remember him talking about an experiment he was considering using heat-formed plastic to make a kind of hard shell/case/restraint. It could set up quickly and hold a model in a fixed position. I couldn't exactly picture how it would work, but remember thinking how fun it would be to work with Jeff to try and figure it out. 

To have Jeff Gord do what he did is incredibly inspirational. You can make the stuff of fantasy come true in the real world. Through design, engineering and craftsmanship you can safely go places only limited by your imagination. 

Thanks Jeff, for taking us all on an incredible ride. 

A statement can be found on fetlife, and House of Gord.