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Category Archives: Studio Life

(((thanks))) Fashion Institute Midwest Grant

I haven’t been sharing too much news from my studio lately because I have been up to my eyeballs in the never-ending prototyping process for my first leather accessories!  I want take a minute from the tedium of fine-tuning patterns to publicly thank the Fashion Institute Midwest for allowing me to really dive into leather working.  Last year I was awarded grant money that gave me the final financial boost to purchase a foot press for my leatherworking studio.  This was the big equipment purchase I had been wishing/hoping/dreaming about for SO long. It basically allowed me to cross over from DESIGNING leather items and creating prototypes to actually PRODUCING leather items!

New foot press for my leather working studio.

My studio is still nowhere near being fully equipped but I have been investing bit by bit into tools and equipment.  It’s so great to have an organization in Omaha that offers support to local designers. I am excited to continue working with this organization.  Thanks again, FIM!

Pretty new equipment.

 

Riveting.

 

Fashion Institute Midwest: http://www.fashioninstitutemidwest.org

(For curious leatherworkers: my press is from Weaver Leather.)

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In progress shots: Making a Half-Helmet

Fashion Week started yesterday here in Omaha.  I’ve shown a collection at Omaha Fashion Week at least once a year EVERY year since I’ve moved here.  It’s making me a little sad that I’m not part of the frenzy this time around.  I tried to figure out a way I could show a collection at fashion week AND start all these new exciting leatherworking projects AND pay the bills, but something had to go.

Turns out, maybe I can’t do it all. (Denial! DENIAL! Go back into denial! DO ALL THE THINGS!)

Since I am a little sad and reminiscent, I have been looking through all the photos I have from last year’s Omaha Fashion Week where I showed my monoprismatic collection in the Avant Garde Show. This year’s Avant Garde themed runway show is tonight, so I thought I’d get in the spirit and share some behind-the-scenes shots of me making the studded and feathered half-helmet from my monoprismatic line.

FIguring out the sculpted feather shapes and patterns.

Deciding on feather placement.

Stretching and molding the buckram.

Vintage woven fabric. Delicious!

Prepping a sculpted feather for bias trim. I’m not afraid of a bit of hand stitching!

Feathers are stitched. Helmet is studded.  Ready!

Who doesn’t love chain tassel detail?

My half-helmet hits the runway!  (Photo: g thompson higgins gallery. Model: Dawaune Hayes. Makeup: Sirens at the Loft.)


Happy Avant Garde Night tonight, Omaha!!!

Yellow Studded Half Helmet by Audio Helkuik available here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/108139984/yellow-studded-half-helmet

 

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Studio/Skill Upgrade: Leatherworking

I’ve been putting this off for years.  I’ve always wanted to work with leather, but I have talked myself out of it over and over.  “You don’t need any MORE tedious crafts to do by hand.”  “You have never done this before.  It takes years and years to learn this craft.”  “You will mess up.  Leather is expensive.”  “Don’t kill the animals.”  etc…..

I love leather. I don’t want to, but I do.  I absolutely do.

I have quite the garment weight leather stash from years of collecting thrifted garments, friends’ worn out leather coats, scraps from other people’s leather projects, etc.  I started to actually use it by incorporating small leather accents into my designs.  It’s not enough.  I want to design with more leather.  I’ve decided to really jump in and order a couple leather sides in a harness weight and make some all leather items.  Fine leather goods.  Harnesses and hardware.  I’m totally in.

The problem?  My studio is set up for creating garments and accessories out of fabric.  I can handle garment weight leather from my stash, but I want to make things out of heavyweight leather.  Time to start collecting leather tools!

My first leatherworking tool: a round knife.

The other problem?  Yeah, so I’ve never actually made anything out of really heavyweight leather so there’s that whole learning curve thing ahead of me.  Luckily, I’m really used to being self-taught and trying things I’ve never done before (aka: almost the exact definition of my costuming career) so no big deal.  I’ll suck for awhile and then I won’t (fingers crossed).

Bridles from a friend to inspect, disassemble and use for parts.

I’m trying to get my hands on all sorts of leather items to see how they are made.  A friend gave me a pile of horse bridles to get me started.  I don’t *think* I’ll be making horse bridles, but I can see how the makers handled the leather and learn from their construction methods.

I’m creeping closer and closer to the day where I put in a big order for leather and I feel like it’s a big jump for my brand.  I am excited.  I am nervous.  But mostly I am excited because the worst thing that can happen here is my closet gets filled with a bunch of interesting leather pieces for me to wear.  NOT BAD.  The best thing that can happen here is all of YOUR closets get filled with my interesting leather pieces for YOU to wear.  NOT BAD AT ALL.

 

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prysm.break vest

More than anything, my favorite part of being a clothing designer is having the skill to turn a sketch into a wearable outfit.  I’m sure every maker loves seeing this process happen in their own craft, but it still just blows my mind every time.

Scribble sketch of a vest idea for prysm.break.

The photo above shows a scribble sketch and the photo below shows fabric cut into vest pattern pieces.  There’s definitely some patterning magic that happens between the sketch and the pile of pieces ready to be stitched together, but I don’t have the photos to prove it. So, trust me. Magic.

Pile of vest pieces, including a handcut leather prysm applique.

I geeked out about pretty much every detail on this vest.

“Ah! Assymmetry!”

“Yay! Colorblocking!!!”

“OooooOOooohhh. Purple and black! My fav!”

“Fringe!”

“LEATHER!!!!!”

“TRRIIIIIIAANNNNNNGLES!”

It’s a great vest. I love it.  All of it. Every dang detail.

Photo montage of me handstitching buttons onto a finished prysm.break vest.

My partner freaked out about this vest just as much as I did.  I surprised him by hanging this on his closet door!  It’s an “I love you” gift (obviously) and also a “Thank you for being a patient fit model.”  I’m probably the worst fit model for men’s sized clothing, since I’m pretty much child-sized.  I’m thankful he’s willing to help me out.

Perks of being my partner: prysm.break clothing before it’s released.

He was puh-retty pumped about it.  He started to rattle off different outfits and layering options. This is EXACTLY how I want people to see prysm.break!  I want people to look at the garments and accessories and be able to easily visualize them as part of their own wardrobe.

My partner, Cameron, enjoying the silhouette of his new prysm.break vest as it allows him to show off his rodeo belt buckle.

The prysm.break vest (and the rest of the prysm.break collection) is available at www.audiohelkuik.com

 

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Making Glovelettes

Have I mentioned I like accessories?  I want to make ALL THE ACCESSORIES.

For my prysm.break collection, I wanted to try my hand at a new hand accessory. Ha.

Ouch.

I thought a little tough glovelette would be fun. I’m really into leather accents right now, so I thought this would be a perfect addition to my prysm.break collection.

Sketching prysms onto my hand.

It took me a bit longer to get the pattern correct on this accessory than others. My dressforms don’t have hands, so I couldn’t drape the pattern.  Even if they did have hands, they wouldn’t move organically.  I needed to try the glovelette on myself to get an idea of what the glovelette would be like on a REAL LIVE HUMAN hand.  This meant I made lots of paper mockups and even more muslin mockups.  I made several fully finished glovelettes, complete with leather and hardware, before I got the pattern to be everything I wanted it to be.  Next challenge: finding fit models and grading the pattern up.  With every success, there’s a new challenge waiting to get tackled.

Perfecting patterns.

I’m pretty excited about this accessory pattern for a few reasons.  Mostly because it’s totally something I would wear: tough, unique, comfortable, leather.  Into it.

The prysm.break glovelette is really rad. Shocker.

My prysm.break collection drops into my online shop on FRIDAY!  My store will be at www.audiohelkuik.com.

 

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Sketching prysm.break on EVERYTHING

Every time I start absent-mindedly sketching lately, I draw people wearing items from my prysm.break collection.  While the collection hasn’t made it’s way to my online shop yet, it has definitely invaded ALL of my drawings.  Here’s one I doodled while I was waiting for the iron in my studio to heat up.

prysm.break vest sketch

DON’T. MOVE.

This one is on the back of a receipt.  Seriously, I have gobs of sketches like these all over.

I like drawing prysm.break clothing.

I like prysm.break.

prysm.break tank sketch on back of receipt.

prsym.break is coming soon!!!!!  SO SOON!!!!!

 
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Posted by on 06.16.13 in art, Fashion, Studio Life

 

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Undressing…

I started taking my own product photos for my etsy shop a few months ago. I feel silly when I think about how much of my work week is spent dressing and undressing fake humans, but someone’s gotta do it!  Even if I get real good at it, adding “Professional Undresser” onto my resume seems kind of like a bad idea.

undressing . . . .

Blue-Violet Pleated Satin Pants available at www.audiohelkuik.etsy.com

 

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I am my own customer.

Part of my motivation and inspiration for my prysm.break collection was to create a microcollection where I, personally, want to wear all of the pieces on a regular basis.  While this is ends up being true for all of the collections that I create, I usually don’t set out with that in mind.  Of course I like all the things I make and want to wear them!  I’ve never sat down and designed with myself in mind as the customer and I found myself making different design decisions that I normally would.  I liked experiencing this new design process.  It felt very real.  Designing felt less like dreaming and more like creating something that would be worn and loved, because I knew at least I’d be wearing and loving all of these items.

prysm.break is a microcollection so I had to really edit my ideas to keep the numbers down.  (Most of my past collections have about 60+ one-of-a-kind garments and accessories in them!)  prsym.break has six items.  I wanted to keep it between five and ten really focused pieces that I could reproduce in several sizes, so I REALLY had to keep my brainstorming sessions in check.  One of the accessories that always made it into the edited lists of prysm.break accessories was a fringed scarf.  Since I was considering myself as the customer to design for, this was a no-brainer.  I love scarves and I love fringe and I knew I wanted to wear this one before I even finished making it.

Cutting jersey tube fringe.

Pinning the different layers of fringe and tassels in place.

Layered fringe on the prsym.break scarf.

 

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New Custom audiohelkuik Stamp!

Stampin’ time!  I picked up my custom rubber stamp from JP Cooke last week.  I’ve probably biked past that place in Omaha’s Old Market a zillion times and thought to myself “Ooh! I should design a stamp when I get home!”  I’m a big fan of stamps.

stamp stamp stamp stamp stamp stamp

I got out the new stamp, opened up the ink pad, inked the stamp and then looked at my hairless cat that happened to be lounging on my studio table just then. My sweetie just shook his head and said “NO. Don’t even THINK about stamping the cat.”

So, of course, I will be stamping pretty much everything except my cat.

 

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prysm.break Vest Triangle Panel

The vest from my prysm.break collection has a triangle colorblocked panel on the back.   I loved patterning it and I loved sewing it.

Love triangle.

Pressing the perfect triangle.

Symmetrical seam allowance.

 

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