My husband finished his “Mythos” Obi-Wan costume last week! Our friends helped with the robe and tunic and he 3D modeled, printed, and fabricated everything on the backpack. It is inspired by the Sideshow Collectibles Mythos Ben Kenobi statue. If anyone is going to Star Wars Celebration in Orlando this year, we will see you there!
I’m about to do
something I wouldn’t normally do, and share bit of drama concerning another
company. I’ve been trying to keep this professional(ish) but recent happenings
have pushed me to want to talk publicly about it and to make folks aware of
what has been going on.
So you folks might remember I began making Otocinclus
plushies in around November 2016, and they were a big hit! I can’t remember the
exact inspiration that brought me to making suction cup mouthed plushies, but
it was certainly influenced by their name “suckermouth catfish” as
well as other plushies I’d seen online. Little did I know, this would be the
beginning of DRAMA™.
In January 2017 I posted some photos of my Otos in some
local fish groups and was snapped up by a local aquatics shop called New
Concept Aquatics (who are now my business partners, woo!). I gave them some examples
of my work including a suction cup Oto… who was promptly snatched up by a
writer for The Practical Fishkeeping Magazine, UK and was featured in the April
issue! Exciting Stuff!
… However, throughout all this the owner of the company
called Green Pleco, who produces suction-cup mouthed Pleco soft toys, got in
contact with me. They claimed to hold a patent for “soft toys in the shape
of fish with suction cups for mouths” since 2013, demanded I limit
production to 25 a year or pay them royalties for each one sold.
Which would be fair, I suppose, if they actually had a
patent for this. I stopped producing Otos whilst I negotiated with them. They
were not able to give me a patent number. They’re based in the US, and I am in
the UK so even if they did the patent would probably not even exist over here.
At the same time I was doing whole bunch of patent searches
and research, including getting some help from friends and some trainee patent
lawyers on Reddit who couldn’t find this mysterious patent either.
Another hole in this story is that there’s loads of examples
with soft toys with suction cups attached “in the wild” already prior
to 2013, including Plecos! Here’s some examples I could find easily by the
plush artist I admire, Whittykitty:
I actually contacted
Whittykitty and it turns out they’d been contacted by Green Pleco too, despite
their Plecos being made in 2011, before Green Pleco even started making
plushies! Their advice was to just ignore them, and after all this research I
I contacted Green Pleco stating pretty much all this, and after
being unable to come to an agreement they said they’d put me in touch with
their lawyer, which never happened.
I was ready to move on with my life, and Green Pleco had
faded into nothing more than a joke (I’m sorry, you can’t do X because I have X patented). One day I stumbled over to
Green Pleco’s page again, only to see…
Now, this could be some kind of magical coincidence that
Green Pleco has suddenly branched out into a totally different style of printed
fabric, but it does look extremely similar to the plush fish I’ve been
producing recently. HMMMMM.
Oh, look, apparently these are patented too.
Here’s my Corydoras sterbai for comparison:
I’m pretty annoyed, but the purpose behind this post (other than for me to publically vent my rage) is
mostly to let you guys know I have nothing to do with the plushies Green Pleco
are producing; they’re using their own artwork and patterns and are nothing to
do with me.
There’s nothing I can do in this situation, because unlike GP I’m
not claiming to own a patent to “soft toy fish with digital designs
printed on fabric” that I don’t have.
It doesn’t mean to say I can’t be a little bitter about
this, though. Bastards.
☀ Charge Sun Water
☀ Make a Sun Book
☀ Burn Incense
☀ Make a sachet with appropriate herbs
☀ Make Sun catchers
☀ Make a solar oven then….
☀ Bake treats for the fairies
☀ Make/Buy a sundial
☀ Chart the sun’s movement through the sky by outlining your shadow in chalk throughout the day. (Great for kids)
☀ Do a drawing or painting
☀ Write a song, poem, or devotion
☀ Make sun tea
☀ Make a wreath for your front door
☀ Do red/yellow/gold candle magick
☀ Sun print fabric
☀ Watch a Midsummer night’s dream
☀ Paint a figurine gold for your altar
☀ Decorate special cups
☀ Dress in corresponding colors (bonus points for makeup magick)
☀ Cook up a Litha feast (grill to enjoy a fire if you can’t be at a bonfire)
☀ Try a new cocktail/mocktail
☀ Have a picnic outside in the sun
☀ Meditate on the energy of the sun/summer
These are just a few ideas I had and are going to try for Litha. Have fun and spend some time outside! As always, magick is all about intent.
Joann Fabrics has this print in stock right now and LOOK AT IT. I HAD to make something with it! Honestly, I want a whole dress in this stuff. I’m sorely tempted! If I had the cash I’d buy the whole bolt!
Hi! Your Ahsoka costume is amazing! I was wondering if you could do a tutorial?
Hi! Thank you for the compliment! Unfortunately, it’d take about 30 different tutorials to explain all the different methods I used to make the costume; I’m always open to specific questions, though! This does seem like a good time to sort of highlight the details or offer a couple insights into my build process, though, if that is something people might be interested in:
The Montral/Lekku: They are a latex cast. I made these by making a hard foam sculpture which I then covered the entire surface in clay to smooth out and refine. I cast the clay sculpture in Ultracal 30, making a three piece mold, then, after cleaning out the clay, poured liquid latex into said mold and sloshed it around for about three coats on three separate days before opening it up and letting it dry. I filled the tails with squishy expanding foam, and painted the surface by airbrushing with latex paints. The tutorial I used to figure out how to mold and cast a latex headpiece is here: http://www.emmabellish.com/2013/07/asari-headpiece-part-1.html
The headband: Made from the same fabrics as the vest, with a greeblie on the forehead I made from aluminum.
The bodypaint: All done by airbrush. I use Temptu brand alcohol paints. I accomplished the facial markings by literally sticking painter’s tape to my face where they belonged, spraying orange, contouring, taking the stickers off, using a negative outline of the stickers to essentially mask off my face and only expose the markings, then airbrushing those white.
The armscye print: The “Ahsoka Untold” costume has lots of really intricate details and prints. This print was very particular. Looking at the reference, I recreated/drafted the print in Adobe Illustrator by hand, then had the fabric custom-printed by Spoonflower. I also made my own red piping and gold bias for the trims.
The vest/pants: I’m convinced the front closure on the vest is supposed to be a silver exposed metal zipper, so that’s what I went with. The greeblie on the vest was made from sintra. The vest I made with corset construction; no boning, but several layers of canvas is encased between the lining and face fabric, with particular seaming for structure and strength, because I think her vest looks very sturdy. The fabric I chose for the outside is a non-stretch microsuede. For the pants, I went with my favorite: a stretch twill with about 6% spandex. The bottom portion of the pants are a non-stretch vinyl pleather; not my favorite.
Left vambrace: It’s nothing special close up. Just brightly painted buttons out of sintra.
Right vambrace: The art on her right vambrace is a photoshopped/altered version of the very famous piece Wave Off Kanagawa. I photoshopped the original piece to match the character sheet version, and had it printed on a vinyl wall sticker (so it had some stretch) and wrapped it around a sintra bracer. I have no clue what the little greeblie on her right hip is supposed to be, but I literally made it out of sintra, a cut up deoderant canister, and doo-dads I found in the shop. The straps are made from real leather.
The lightsabers: Made by Solo’s Hold. The only thing on the costume I didn’t make from scratch. They are perfection.
Left leg: Ahsoka has a pair of macrobinoculars on her right leg. I made them out of sintra and PVC pipe; that’s it. The straps are made from real leather.
The boots: I sewed Ahsoka’s boot covers from scratch out of real leather (yay, industrial sewing machines). I don’t know why, but she has this monkey painted on her left boot. I accomplished this by taping a sheet of painter’s tape to a cutting board, traced on the image, cut it out with an exacto knife, stuck the negative to the side of the boot, and spray painted it on (the same method I used for masking my face off for airbrushing the tattoos, actually). I don’t have a close up picture of the other boot, but Ahsoka has a vibroknife holstered there. I made the knife from sintra and the holster from leather as well.
The Fabric Merchant’s Son is a 7 layer silkscreen print that ended me. Please zoom in for details. The children’s book (that I’ll finish over the summer) is about a boy (Purl), his mother, and two goats as they travel through the mountains.
Silkscreen is a very labor intensive process involving calluses and arm workouts! This took 15 hours of manual labor (after the initial 13 hours of drawing). Below the cut for original digital piece
1. It was my mother who first discovered the fuel leak. Or at least, that’s what we thought it was then. My grandmother, who was the last of us to have set foot on Earth, had died the month before. We had gathered in the laundry atrium, which was the largest open space without ongoing maintenance work, and made such tribute as we could: this is one of the first things I remember. My mother said it felt like a new era, like we were on our own. Although of course we had been out of radio contact with Earth for many years by then. And then, so soon after: the fuel numbers didn’t quite add up. The guardian angels of the old world gone, and we were on our own. But we had excess fuel against unplanned contingencies. It was the slowest of slow leaks. No big deal.
2. There is another thing that is odd about the path of the ship: sometimes it makes corrections that we did not tell it to make. Not often, but sometimes. I wish I could say that I was the one who discovered this, but I think it was Grace Cao who first noticed it. The ship does have a mechanism for external course corrections. It was designed for two circumstances: to retrieve the ship in the case of the crew becoming somehow disabled at launch, and at the fabled other end: for our children’s children’s children to be guided into port on the new worlds by the settlers who had landed before them. It uses a separate communications channel: minimal data and supposedly programmable across huge distances. But it is entirely possible that it is buggy. Still, the end point of our journey is the system that it always was. Also, hopefully, no big deal.
3. Over the years, we have gone from thinking of the ship as a complex but explicable machine to thinking of it as a mysterious engine that we cannot quite control. Too much not quite lining up. Maintenance is turning into ritual. The Machine is turning up in the old stories from Earth. It keeps us alive but it can punish us. It is capricious and sometimes angry. So we were ready for the latest development, I suppose. Too ready: there is so me scandal down in engineering with Peter and the Adeosun wards, and I have heard people say, joking-not-joking, that our fuel problems are down to moral failing.
4. Nevertheless, I think the changes we now see are more likely to belong in the domain of the fuel leak. And this time they are worrying. If we sustain this level of fuel depletion to our destination, we will be out of reserves. Too many things to go wrong. There has been an uptick in the rate of fuel loss, and no obvious reason for it. I sent Xuebing and Grace Cao out on a spacewalk to inspect the fuel tanks. It has been a long time since since anyone went on spacewalk. We had to fire up the fabricator to print a new seal for the second suit. But they have not found anything external.
5. The way it fluctuates is curious. I am not sure that we are looking at this the right way.
6. Of course, the other option is that it is something in our course correction. We have certainly not made any deviation in heading for years, intentionally or unintentionally. It cannot be that. Could it be speed correction? We are at the speed we would expect to be at, at this point in the journey. But if were to deviate from this, the ship would automatically intervene to put us back. It would use fuel. But why would it need to? We are in deep space. We are as alone as any humans have ever been. There is nothing here to slow us down.
7. Some further time has passed. Grace Sharma has been plotting the anomaly. But I fear now that we are already beyond the point where the mission is lost. We will not be able to correct at the other end. Perhaps when we get there we can send the settlers a distress call. Perhaps they can rescue us somehow.
8. The crew at the bridge all know it now, but for the while we have not told the others. Maybe there is some way out. If only we knew what was happening! It is hard to extract the information, but with Bernard-Rose and Grace’s help I think we have it confirmed: the engines are running at a higher rate than they should for what is supposed to be primarily a power-generation role On a whim, I tried assuming the missing fuel had gone into speed correction. What could the forces on the ship have been to cause that? And out came the plot, like a dream, like a nightmare. Because this was a curve that I had seen before.
9. The Wang-Fernstell curve. Physics class. One of a range of competitors to the standard model of quantum gravity. A fringe idea, really. In any case not experimentally confirmable on the small scales available in the solar system. But on a long voyage across deep space: yes, absolutely confirmable. You would observe a slow deceleration over time, oscillating in a distinctive way, increasing in magnitude. Or, if you had a ship that corrected for that sort of thing, you would gradually run out of fuel. And then stop. In deep space. So it seems we have made an incredibly important discovery about the structure of the Universe. And it seems that we will never be able to tell anyone about it. It seems that we are doomed.
10. I have told the others. The ship is very quiet. I cannot stop thinking of all the ships that went before us, of all the ships that will come after. Did they all make this discovery, once they were beyond hope of rescue? Are they all lost? Is the Earth even now churning out new ships to drift, lifeless, into the void, and pinning all its future hopes on them? We have turned off the speed correction in the hope of saving fuel for power, though we will be able to eke a tiny amount out of the solar panels when that fails. But now, of course, the ship has started making course corrections again, ones that we cannot override. Of course. I have asked Peter to move up to the kitchen hold. It is not at all clear that he is safe.
11. Another correction. We are going to run out of fuel. We are coming towards our final resting place.
12. We are coming towards our final resting place. And there is something there. Something gleaming in the starlight up ahead. It is hard to make out. A complex, huge, many-looped grey thing, studded across with tiny lights.
13. It is the ships. It is the other ships. Thousands and thousands of them, all linked up: something between a space station and a planet. We are within radio range of it now. And they have been calling us! We are to dock at the nearmost point. They called us from an atrium full of trees. Trees! I have never seen such a thing. But why not use some of the seeds now, whilst they lie becalmed? And maybe it will not be forever. They say there may be something they can make of the new physics, some way to make these odd forces work for us. But for now I am just marvelling at the thing they have made. It has states. There are parts of it where the languages are diverging. There are parts of it that worship the myth of the machine. We will all have to choose where to live and what to work on. So much to do, to keep it alive!
14. But one thing still to do now: use the remaining fuel to power up the long-range transmitter. We need to send the requisite course corrections to the next ship down the line.
I’m happy to finally have finished my Ever After High Snow girl backgrounder. I’ve decided to name her Everly Wind daughter of the North Wind. Stories include: Why the Trees keep their Leaves in Winter, by Florance Holbrok; East of the Sun and West of the Moon, published in the Blue fairy book by Andrew Lang; The North wind and the Sun, Aesops Fables. NOTE: I had made one previously that I sold on ebay, so this is my second one.
This doll was made using a mirror beach Ashlynn doll. I used a mixture of three different colors (Sunlit blonde, White Chocolate, platinum blonde) and one color of blue (Arctic Frost) to create the look of this backgrounder. The dress is the one thing I’m not completely happy with. I had to create a pattern from scratch, and even then I couldn’t get the draping to match. I found, with a dress this small, and with the fabric I used it was almost impossible to get the fabric to drape, so I just gave up. The fabric is all hand painted by me, due to a lack of snowflake printed fabric in the right shade. Her headband, wrist cuffs, necklace, and the crystals on the shoes were all crafted using Fimo clay. The boots I believe belonged to an MH Abby doll. I did cut out the sides of the boot using an x-acto knife so the tights would show through. IF you have any questions about her creation, feel free to ask.
Chintz was not the only option for printed fabrics in the 18th century, if you could afford it the hand-painted silk was always an option. Silk fabrics woven and hand painted in China were the favourite for the European market.
Photos from top:
Robe à la Française (detail) in hand-painted silk, 1740s, Great Britain, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Robe à la française (back) in hand-painted Chinese silk, 1763, Wedding dress of Mary Chaloner, McCord Museum.
Robe a la Polonaise (back) in hand-painted Chinese silk, ca. 1780, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Robe à la Française (back detail) in Chinese hand-painted silk, 1760s, Great Britain, Victoria and Albert Museum.