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On a Mission: Cruelty-free Doll Hair

Moving out here to Colorado has been one of the best decisions of our lives, we couldn't be happier, and we also couldn't be in a more better situation to do certain things that we could not do while living in the city.  One of these "things" being, owning our own sheep!

I've been on a personal mission for quite a few years to find local suppliers, of cruelty-free Teeswater/Wensleydale locks for my art doll hair/wigging.  This is not an easy task, and you never truly know who you are buying from - especially if you cannot personally visit their farm, meet their animals, and see the conditions in which they are kept, how they are treated, and whether you wish to support their farm by purchasing their fibers.

Another perk of owning our own sheep - I can dye the fiber any colors I choose, and enjoying having the relationship with the animals so that it is a truly equal exchange of energy between us.

Teeswater and Wensleydale fiber makes some of the most fabulous doll hair.  It can be dyed, straightened, kept curled, cut, ironed...you can do just about anything with it.  Problem is, most suppliers of these luscious locks are overseas, and I like to work with local folks as much as I can for numerous reasons.

Taking on having our own sheep will allow us to control the environment and quality of life our sheep will have, as well as allowing us to provide ourselves, and others, with high quality fiber that can be used for everything from doll wigging to wool roving.

I have thought about starting a gofundme campaign to help with the costs associated with setting up a shelter and placing up proper fencing.  We do live in Colorado, there are predators here that would love a nice sheep buffet - but not on my watch!  Extra precautions will have to be taken to keep them safe, which can be done relatively inexpensively, but still needs to be done right.

There is a lot of responsibility that comes with taking care of animals of any kind, sheep will be no different, but we are up for the challenge, and are greatly looking forward to meeting with a local farm who I've already been in touch with, and who wants to work with us.

I honestly cannot wait until we can begin this venture!  Virgo's Alchemy will offer cruelty-free fiber for Art Doll Hair in the near future, be looking for it in our announcements (you can always sign up for our newsletter) we do plan to offer it on Etsy, as well as right here - on the Virgo's Alchemy website.

     

Thank you for your interest, please stay tuned to this exciting project of ours.  We plan to document the entire experience, as well as personally introduce our resident sheep to all of you once we bring them home!

 

Yours Unusually,

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Specimen Syreni (Mermaid Specimen) Resin Project

I have always admired the resin art that is being done with Art Doll Mermaids.  Adding resin to a Mermaid sculpture brings it to another whole new level.  Many years ago, before I even started to work with polymer clay, I ran across an amazing artist who was making mermaids in a bottle.  They were simply the most intriguing pieces I'd ever seen.

Now, years later, and still haunted by that artist and her work, I'm working on creating my own version of this fantastical mythical project.

The only resin I've used up to this point, has been in very small amounts for making my handmade doll eyes.  I have used everything from UV curing gels, to 2 part epoxies, but never anything at this scale.

"Courage my friend", that is what I keep telling myself.  As you know, sculpting an art doll can take well over a a month for me.  Then to submerge this entire piece into a sea of unforgiving resin...well, that is going to be quite the challenge.

I decided, last month, that I was no longer going to post WIP's (Work in Progress) because I felt it took away from the actual magic and allure of my work.  However, I do still plan on doing posts on specific projects in which I feel others can benefit from seeing, and after-all, I do use my blog as a journal.  It is nice to reflect back on projects, to measure progress, and to also document results.

This project will entail a large glass bottle/jar.  Currently, I'm trying it out with a rather tall glass vase I purchased from the local hobby store.  I'll be honest - I don't really like it.  I've been searching for 10-12" tall pasta jars, or something with a little more character than just a cylindrical glass vase.  The search continues, while I sculpt the mermaid, or "Specimen Syreni" which is Latin for Mermaid Specimen.

I'm building a base that will fit down inside the bottle and hold the mermaid sculpture in place.  Once she is perfectly inside, I will seal her in resin, and then cap off the top with a decorative finish.  The bottle itself will also have a base it will rest on, I'm just not sure what I will use yet.  I've already made several possible bases for it, but I'm still not happy.  I don't want anything that looks cheesy or gaudy - and sometimes, if you are not careful, it is easy to get carried away and over do it.

I'm going to be pulling inspiration from several places, one place will be the dark nautical appeal of Alice Madness Returns, and some Steampunk color schemes with a touch of gothic Burton-inspired flare.  I know, seems like a Hodge-podge, if only I could open and dump my brain out onto the floor for all to see - I would.

I'm also using quite a bit of 2 part epoxy sculpting putty, which I LOVE because of it strength and texture.  My next post will be an update, but this won't be a WIP where it's basically a tutorial - I don't have time for such things.  I will post what I can, when I can on this project, and of course, the final result.

Thanks for your interest...

Yours Unusually,

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Work in Progress (WIP) Labyrinth Inspired Piece

Enchanted Tree Work in Progress by Kendra M Gilbert of Virgo's Alchemy Art

Enchanted Tree Work in Progress by Kendra M Gilbert of Virgo's Alchemy Art

Well, after I completed Alice I decided that I'd do a piece for the International Art Doll Registry's upcoming Art from the Soul Contest. This was a difficult concept for me because it really made me reach deep inside of myself. One of the biggest inspirations from my childhood was the movie Labyrinth. Yes, the movie that boasts David Bowie in tights and a young girl walking across a smelly bog that made fart sounds when she stepped on the stone walkway... This story was extremely symbolic in a lot of ways. Some people seen it as a message to young people to be warned of the dangers that lurk when adolescence turns to adulthood. Some people say it was even a movie with more a sinister meaning, and the term "Illuminati" has come up several times in different forums regarding this film. To me, it symbolized the power of innocence, growth, courage, and coming of age. It also reminds me that just because we get older, it does not mean we have to let go of our imagination, our desires, and dreams.

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Getting used to a whole new world...

Well, for the most part, we have made our transition into our new home.  I must admit, it is very heartwarming to wake up and see such a beautiful fairy-tale setting right in front of my kitchen window!  We have 12 resident mule deer, of which we have given names to about 9 of the regulars... there is Gilgamesh, a large buck who we have grown to love dearly; Bruiser, an even larger buck who is the wise old man of the group; Peeps, who got her name from peaking through the windows at me while I'm cooking and even while in the bathroom; Bam Bam, a tiny 1st year buck who is constantly getting put into his place by his older siblings but always comes back for more; Bella, the mother of many of the younger deer who are growing up rather beautifully.

  Bella was the first deer to introduce herself to us before we bought our house - she was here to let us know we were welcome to the neighborhood.  Then there is also Spike, Bambi, Snot Face, and Pisser...yes, Pisser - constantly peeing to mark territory around our tree line...

Gilgamesh and Bruiser chillin in the front yard

Getting my temporary studio setup while we construct our more permanent solution has been interesting.  I'm currently working from our loft area, which is actually quite nice.  We have hardwood floors throughout so it cuts down on dirt and debris really well. The fact that we have no cell phone signal at all out here sorta sucks, but, who honestly "needs" a cell phone? We get decent internet service, good enough to do basic things - fine with me!

However, the most challenging part has been getting used to the difference a higher altitude makes on everything - and I mean EVERYTHING.  I often say we are approx 9100 feet in elevation, but I was just informed we are more like 9600 ft.  The biggest change has been the drastic decrease in humidity compared to Florida and the longer curing times and higher temps required for polymer clay.  I haven't even attempted at making a soap batch yet, but I'm sure it will be just as funky to get used to.

Right now I've noticed that my clay is a lot drier, and it takes me much longer to prepare it so I can actually use it.  I'm going to switch from my normal mix of FIMO Pro, Cernit, and Prosculpt and just use FIMO Pro and Cernit.  I've been playing with mix ratios, and even attempted to add some mineral oil to my clays because they seem very dry and crumbly - something I can't STAND.  I like a nice soft clay texture that holds detail well and smooths effortlessly.  When I use my flat bone tool to smooth my clay it tends to tear and that is a big no-no for me.

The clay isn't the only thing that has been drying out either.... my hands are a wreck!  I've been using tons of moisturizers and oils to keep my skin from becoming irritated - I can see now that I must develop a soap that can combat this extreme dry climate - no problem!

What's next on the agenda?

At the moment, I'm working on getting familiar with all my supplies and the higher altitude. I'm currently working on finishing my American McGee inspired Alice. She is coming along again real nice and I'm looking to have her completed within a very short period of time. During our move, she shifted around a bit and I had to do some minor repairs, but nothing serious happened to her, and I'm looking forward to spending lots of time getting her finished up.

It will take me some time to get to know how to function in this higher altitude - I will document everything for my future reference as well as a resource for those who might also be going through a similar transition.  As always, thanks for checking out my blog and Happy Holidays!

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Check out my updated Inspirations Page!

Artwork from American McGee's Alice Madness Returns One thing that I've been granted during this transition period, is time to work on the Virgo's Alchemy website. I'm pleased to say that my new "My Inspiration" page has been updated with some of my most favorite music and videos and I plan to continue adding to this section. Hopefully, you will find it inspiring too. Most often, I will play videos from this list while working and it helps create the perfect environment and working condition for me to create my artwork and bubbly masterpieces. You can click here to view this updated page, scroll towards the bottom to reach the video gallery!
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Unboxing and Review of the SH Figuarts Poseable Figure!

SHFigurereviewFinding a good reliable reference for poses can be difficult. Wooden mannequins are great for general visual aid, but if you want something that will allow you to really create life-like visual references for poses, then look no further than SH Figuarts Poseable Figures! High Quality and highly articulated, this tiny little gem works wonders! Check out my video of the unboxing and complete review of this invaluable sculpting reference tool!
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Moving out West!

colorado_sunflowersMy family and I have made the decision to go to Colorado instead of Washington state due to a more diverse climate with less rain. If I were a single lady, I'd be moving to Washington because I simply love it there - I love rain and everything is so damp and green... but, I realize that Colorado is just as beautiful and will offer us all the adventure, beauty and the elevation that we know has been calling to us... Read more
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Progress on Alice!

Alice Madness Returns inspired WIPIt's been all too long since my last update, last post - last anything! Here is a little sneaky peaky of one of the elements I'm adding to my American McGee Alice Madness Returns art doll project! If you are familiar American McGee, then surely this little piggy will make you squeal...or rather *snort snort* Read more
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Virgo's Alchemy: Home of the "Winged Soap"

It is important for everyone to find their "niche" and mine certainly made itself well known early in life. Fairies are a HUGE inspiration to me, as is the entire Fantasy and SciFi world. My "Winged" soaps are a Virgo's Alchemy original, and I'm very happy to present them to you, my valued customers, to enjoy!

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Queen of Hearts Soap

Cold Process, high quality ingredients, gorgeous unique design - what more could you ask for in a soap? Queen of Hearts is in limited quantity (although I may just add this one to my permanent line) order now on Etsy! Only a few more available, don't miss out!

For ingredients and other "specs" check out the listing on Etsy!

All my soaps come steamed, planed and/or beveled, looking and smelling their very best!

NOTE: My Soaps are just that - SOAP. Please do not try to eat, drink or conjure magickal creatures with them....ok, well that last one is up to you, but seriously, my Soaps do NOT prevent, treat or otherwise "cure" anything and they certainly are not meant to be eaten - although they look quite delicious! They are meant to smell, appropriately use, show-off in your bathroom or kitchen area, start conversations etc. The ingredients have their known properties, of which most of you already know, so I'm not going to bore you with that! Just know my products come PACKED with awesome ingredients and will leave you wanting more. No Detergents, No Phthalates, No Preservatives, No Glycols, No Parabens!!

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