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Monday, 20 October 2014

New Arrival, though not of stock!


Ahem, that is to say that we now have a full nest here at Valravn Designs with the arrival of our third little one and it means we will be on hold for a little while.
In the meantime, Danov is entering NaNoWriMo (bless his poor mad soul) and shall be working hard on it over November, having been writing a Poem a Day all this month as a warm up. Wish him luck! He'll need it!
That said, while we are on hold if you do have any burning ideas for items you wish made, please do drop us a line as we are still very much able to provide quotes, plan and advise on commissions yet to be.

Until then, raise a toast with us for the newest little Raven and we shall see you all anon!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Nesting has commenced!

With only a couple of months until the arrival of the latest raven to our nest Amber has managed to take a little time out to work on things for the children. First a couple of little things for our eldest raven's 4th Birthday and then the first of a number of baby carrier designs.

This little fellow was once a simple dog, but is now a fully fledged Aquacadet thanks to our raven's newfound obsession with the band the Aquabats!
As well as the Aquabats, our little raven also has a thing for dinosaurs. This was his fourth Birthday Cake!

Dinosaur Cake
Last but not least we have the new baby carrier for the smallest of our nest.

B Mo baby Carrier
If it seems we have been ignoring you my little ones, it's because children are very hard work indeed.

Finally, depending on times from the photographer our next update should be the wedding party we have been hinting at for over six months now! Exciting times lie ahead!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Because we're awesome!

Commission update!

We have just finished our first Star Wars inspired commissions: Asajj Ventress and Darth Talon.

I think the pictures speak for themselves, so rather than waffle on, here's my favourites from our Flickr Feed.

Asajj Ventress & Darth Talon
Asajj Ventress & Darth Talon
Asajj Ventress & Darth Talon

In other news we are still battling the forces of parenthood, pregnancy and wedding commissions here at Valravn HQ. We hope, that with the Fates' blessings, we will weather the storm and have some more items for your viewing pleasure later in the year.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Picture Update! Hooray!

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have just released pictures of our most recent works here at Valravn Designs!

See for yourself on our Flickr page.

Or, for the less active of you, here are a few highlights and the stories behind the works:

First, we have Xala, a commission from our Skyshard dolls. Another of the holy healers of the Vituan Priesthood, she is also the sister to Alora. Wearing the dark blue robes of the seer caste, Xala's talents lie more in prophesy than healing. She now roams the world looking for her sister, first looking at the grand ball of the Caravan Cities.


Secondly we have Savanna, an original commission for a lady that we met at our trade stand at MCM Comic Con all the way back in May of last year. After making a lasting impression she asked for her original character to be created in doll form. Naturally, we were delighted for working on such a collaboration!


Finally, we have our most heartwarming piece to date. The customer for this piece wanted something special made for a lady that he wished to propose to. Specifically, he wanted to give her a mermaid. He wanted this mermaid to be a proper, sea dwelling, non Disney mermaid. He particularly liked some of our previous works on the theme of less human figures (such as Xantha the dryad).
This would be a challenge. Creating a tail that could be moved and posed, doing away with the legs on the doll was territory we had yet explored.
Having gotten the idea together, he said that this would then be a proposal gift and could we make a ring box to go with it. After tracking down a shell shaped ring box (Gods bless the internet!) we completed the order as you see it below:



By the way.... she said yes. We're far too humble to take the credit for that though.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Like a Swan

Greetings one and all.
Like a swan, Valravn Designs has been quiet on the outside (though our Facebook and Flickr feeds have been churning away as ever) yet thrashing around in the ecstatic, frantic motions of artistic creation on the underneath.

Currently we are very much in demand, having lined up at the moment:
1 doll commission,
a series of rucksacks for an art gallery (more on that another time)
and an entire wedding party!

Wedding commissions are some of our favourite work, giving Amber plenty to do and taking her back to her original calling of fine dress making, costume and couture. Sadly, they also take huge amounts of our available time and do not allow us to release images until after the wedding (tradition and all that). As it stands, we're going to be a little bit quieter for that reason.

If you have a commission in mind, do let us know and we will always be happy to provide a quote and give an idea of when we will be ready to take custom orders on in earnest again.

Until then, keep enjoying beautiful things!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The Caravan Cities of the Great Openness

Time for another piece of setting from the world of Skyshards:

From the Journal of Scoutmaster Erilenia Mourningstar:

It’s refreshing to be posted somewhere where the chance of dying horribly is that much lower. It’s not what I would call safe out here, but there are worse places.
The Great Openness is just how it sounds. It is a huge expanse of open fields and scrubland, where it is possible to see the horizon in all directions. Living in these lands are the Feralis in their Great Caravan Cities.
Adequate description of the caravan cities is not simple thing. The first thing most people picture before they actually see them are great columns of gaudily painted caravans being pulled by various beasts of burden across the flat lands the Feralis call home. That isn’t entirely right. What’s missing is the sheer scale of the caravans. I have seen caravans the size of churches, cathedrals and even palaces. Being so close to the Stormlands, the Feralis have gained access to a number of elements that allow their caravans to be lifted from the ground and pulled across the plains, leaving the ground underneath virtually undisturbed and requiring far less effort from their teams of beasts.
The buildings are often of prestigious age and are designed to withstand incredible assaults by the elements and enemy tribes without tarnishing their beauty. The people of the caravans are traders, alchemists and the warriors and hunters that would need to guard and feed such a population. When it comes to seeking rare items, there are none who would be a better place to begin making enquiries than the Feralis.

Having briefly described just one of the cities, it is best to know that each city (for there are many) is effectively its own state or principality, with its own laws, customs and tribal bloodlines. The Cities act as a whole only through the most intricate brokering of non aggression pacts, trade agreements and alliances through marriage. It has been known for the cities to war on each other, using alchemical weapons and ancient artifacts they have received in trade from across the known world. Their wars have left many a wreck of a city on the plains, but none so great as the ruin of Sarn, where it was said that the devastation brought upon the populace was so great, there is nothing left but their shadows burned forever into the polished marble walls of the great caravan. As the stories say, the ghosts of that city still haunt the plains, seeking revenge on the three cities that plotted their downfall. Vengeance is a dish best served cold and there is nothing colder than the grave.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Making Elsa from Frozen's Shoes

Greetings peeps! Amber has been working on her latest cosplay and in her infinite generosity has done a breakdown of how she has created the shoes.
Without further ado, and in her own words, here is "Making Elsa's Shoes":

So I searched for ages to find a good base shoe for Elsa, purchased the perfect pair and they were too small and I couldn't find any more in my size! I ended up buying a pair with a good heel height in the sale at a local shop and working from there. I wanted to create a translucent frosted look without the shoes being transparent (I have awful feet which usually rarely venture out of my Dr Martens) This was my solution!

Elsa Shoes

I picked a low heeled shoe with a nice matte finish fabric, this helped all the later paintwork adhere properly and reduced the risk of cracking.

Elsa Shoes

Next I cut out a huge chunk in the middle with leather scissors and a stanley knife. I made the shapes soft as I find those toe and heel shoes look freaky and I need a bit more support with my high instep.

Elsa Shoes

Next I painted the cut sections with a little acrylic paint to seal them and I filled in all the loose ugly bits with some Fimo Air Light which I had. It is an extremely light air drying clay which is fabulous for a whole range of uses.

Elsa Shoes

Here you can see the detail where I smoothed out the join between the two cut sections. I could have just bought a pair that didn't have this section in but I was trying to keep costs down and was more concerned with how pointy the toes were and heel shape. Anyway!

Elsa Shoes

Next I cut out my additional shapes out of leather. I referenced the official artwork and the concept art too. I actually preferred the shapes to the concept art so my shoes reflect that.

Elsa Shoes

I used a contact adhesive meant for leather to attach the pieces to the shoes, I tried them on and checked for fit before glueing.

Elsa Shoes

You can see the side detail here and how I also painted the whole lot with acrylic. I also spray painted the soles with silver paint at this point too.

Elsa Shoes

Elsa Shoes

Silver! Just a couple of coats of silver paint later and they are starting to take shape.

Elsa Shoes

So here I used the old Fimo Air Light again and applied it to smooth the join along both the front and back edges. I left a little bit of the jagged edge in and gently tooled the surface with the end of a paintbrush sweeping from the toe backover.

Elsa Shoes

I gave the shoes another coat of silver and then started layering on the acrylics. I blended a nice turquoise and applied that along with coats of white until I had a look I was happy with.

Elsa Shoes

Here you can see the detail on the heels and that frosted effect.

Elsa Shoes

Toe closeup! I added a very light mist of silver here to blend the colours a little.

Elsa Shoes

And finally the most important stage! I wanted this translucent effect but needed something flexible. I had seem some lovely shoes online that someone had made using resin which were amazing but I haven't worked with it nor do I have the monies to try. So I pondered other transparent and translucent materials and came up with clear silicone. I have a great supplier nearby and picked up a couple of tubes of clear silicone for a couple of pound each. I still have one unused so you don't need much!

Elsa Shoes

I squeezed a load of the clear silicone out onto a paper place and applied it with a brush, carefully applying it to all the surfaces of the shoe. I worked on the toe parts and heels separately so I didn't have too much silicone out at once.

Elsa Shoes

When the first section was finished but still tacky I scattered on a little white glitter. It sticks great to the surface of the silicone and gives a lovely frosted finish.

Elsa Shoes

Elsa Shoes

Elsa Shoes

Elsa Shoes

Elsa Shoes

And here they are!