Our first guest blogger, Alex Thomas, is the owner of Brynja's Hoard-viking inspired clothing and jewelry designer.
Of course, I'm sure you're dying to know the story behind the name, "Brynja's Hoard." I was too. Brynja is Alex's name in the Dagorhir viking group. After becoming enthralled and fascinated with viking history she decided to make clothing and jewelry inspired by the era. A "hoard" is a large amount of treasure. Alex would like for people to see her designs as her interpretation and creation "awesome one-of-a-kind treasures from history."
In true Viking fashion, Alex disclosed her favorite quote is, "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
Alex is great to work with as she takes and idea an runs with it creating beautiful and unique pieces of clothing and jewelry. This is her account of how she comes about her final pieces.
Onwards and upwards to the epic-ness that is Alex:
A Day May Come When The Strength Of A Needle Fails, But It Is Not This Day!
By: Alex Thomas
As I sit spinning around in my swivel chair perfectly positioned in ready to sew mode, snack time calls my name. Sometimes creativity hates me. So I wander around shoving my mouth with chocolate, then it hits like a steam train on a one way trip to Narnia.
When asked to design an outfit for a photo, my mind starts racing with ideas and concepts. At times, nothing sticks out to me, and that's when chocolate comes in. Then, light bulb! I get to drawing and designing. Once I have an idea, I start to work with it more. I add or take things away, or I completely change the design because what I was working on, inspired me to make something else. It's a constant battle of ideas and designing.
After a stint of brainstorming, I draw up what I want. Usually at this point I start making patterns, I like to use muslin. It's sturdier than pattern paper and stays on the fabric I’m cutting better. Once patterns are all cut up, I switch on “Sassy Pants” (my sewing machine). I make sure she's cleaned and oiled well. This is the part my sewing machine hates. I rev her up like a 86' Camaro (not really, but I like to pretend)! I start to sewing like a mad woman hyped up on skittles and mountain dew. During the sewing process I have my assistant Evil Betty (my dress form, I have a skull mounted where the head should be) help me out with fittings.
As I'm sewing together the amazing outfit, more ideas flood my mind. This is when I wish my brain had an off button, but it doesn't. I sometimes listen, other times I don't. So, I just keep sewing. We all have bad habits, especially me! I tend to make things overly complicated with my designs. I suppose it's not too horrible since I'm usually very happy with the finished product. Once the outfit is complete, I present it to the photographer.
While the photographer looks over the finished piece, I give them the big “Puss In Boots” eyes and hope for a sign of approval. Even if I'm on the other side of the world, they know I'm doing it. Although I may love what I made, I'm always afraid everyone else won't. It's another struggle I deal with, but I try and focus on the positive.
At Brynja's Hoard, I do more than just outfits/wardrobe for photography. My favorite inspired clothing to make is from the 900BC-1100BC Viking era. There is very little known about the Norsemen, so I piece together what I can and then add some of my own personality to it. If I could travel back in time, I probably would. Their culture and way of life inspires me to create amazing pieces of clothing.
Photos below are taken by Unikke Foto & the pieces were created by Alex after approx. 19 hours of work.
I look at how they lived, where they lived, who they traded with, what status they carried. Every piece of information I read goes into the clothing. The same goes for the jewelry I make. I use natural materials such as cooper, glass beads and bone. There are plenty of times when I'm working on a viking piece of jewelry and it starts to look too modern/fantasy. At that point I just roll with it and make it into something different.
Every day is a new opportunity to go into the past, learn what I can and create my vision. I love what I do!