Big Wool Love

I’m thrilled to say that ThinkGeek has placed a large wholesale order with NifNaks for my Cthulhu ornaments, and Cthulhu Yule tree topper. This means I needed to order a frightening amount of wool.

So after waiting only about a week for my order, my bump (22 lbs.) of wool arrived today. I’ve never ordered so much wool before. I’m so excited!

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Rugged Femininity, my new work corset!

Nifer in her Carharrt-inspired work corset (photo by Neil Girling)

What a joy it is to be back again here in the Black Rock Nevada desert! I have once again ventured to the playa as a proud member of the Black Rock City's DPW and one of the builders of Burning Man 's central sculpture, the Man.

As one of the women of Man KCrew , I thought it apropos to sport a garment that combines both beauty and strength on the playa. To this end, I am especially excited about the debut of my rugged "Carhartt-inspired" work corset!

For the past year, I've desired to create a garment which blends the femininity and elegance of a corset with the durability and ruggedness of a workbelt. Recently, I shared my idea with the talented seamstress and designer Robynne Winchester of Tulgey Wood Designs. She was instantly excited about the concept and agreed to collaborate to make it a reality.

I love the ruggedness of Carhartt work clothing and a quick glance around the work crews at Burning Man proves I'm not the only one. It withstands the harsh working conditions of the desert and meets all my utilitarian needs on the work site. So it delights me to create a corset, a nearly polar opposite piece of attire, which incorporates all the functional things I love about Carhartt work clothing.

Durable

To create this hybrid corset, I first chose a fabric consisting of same type of rugged cotton canvas found throughout the Carhartt line. Durable, practical, and breathable, the material allows me to get down and dirty with my hammer and drill without fear of damaging my corset.

Functional & Versatile

Next it was important the corset be functional and versatile. I attached holsters for a hammer, drill, tape measure and pliers, as well as pockets to use for assorted needs while working.

Plier & tape measure holsters by Occidental Leather  Rear view, hammer and drill holsters by Occidental Leather

All the tool holsters and pockets are attached to the corset with heavy-duty snaps allowing me to change the configuration according to my needs on the job site.

 Modular snap-on tool holsters (drill)

A modular system – above I have attached a cordless drill holster.

 Modular snap-on tool holsters (hammer)

On those days I just need to pound nails, I can replace it with a hammer holster.

Beautiful

Finally, I wanted the corset to be as beautiful as it was functional. For this, I specifically chose quality Occidental Leather tool holsters which compliment the design of the corset. This juxtaposition of reinforced feminine curves and sturdy sensibility was exactly what I wanted in a haute couture work garment. In addition, the cherry leather and hand-dyed laces to match are the perfect compliment to the classic Carhartt carmel brown.

And it's fashionable too! I reconstructed a Carhartt workshirt into an adorable shrug to wear during those those chilly evenings in the desert. And for that event in the evening when I just don't have time to change? A tiny top hat, of course!

Corset with matching shrug and hat

I am so happy with my work corset! Robynne's skill with corsetry is wonderful and she was a pleasure to collaborate with. There are still a few more tweaks and additions that I plan on adding, but I'll save announcing these little treats until I am finished making them—soon!

Also, it should be mentioned that the gorgeous photo taken of me at Man Base at Burning Man, is the work of excellent photographer Neil Girling, aka Mr. Nightshade, aka Carnivillain. I highly recommend checking out his continually updated series of photos from Burning Man 2009 on Flickr. Neil took a small series of photos of me in my work corset which I look forward to sharing as soon as I return home from the desert.

Beauty & strength

Nifer Fahrion is creative mastermind behind NifNaks.

She has always taken great delight in creating things with her hands, and the special joy and interconnectedness one gets from realizing a truly unique vision. She started NifNaks to share that joy — or, as she says, "to create opportunities for other people's delight, because the world is a happier place when people go "Squee!""

She loves experimenting in new mediums, which is how she discovered felting wool in 2006 while attending the Bay Area’s first Maker Faire. She instantaneously fell in love with the soft, sensual wool, and the infinite possibilities it has to offer. She has been enchanted ever since.

Working primarily with felting wool, Nifer creates a menagerie of charming critters, decorative accessories and other assorted curiosities, each one a unique piece of art. Because she is self-taught, Nifer takes an unconventional approach to the traditional medium of felting wool, and enjoy exploring how to take it to the next level. She expresses her creativity through many types of mediums, from culture jamming to building the Burning Man, all which she believes can only further enrich her perspectives on how to do this.

Adventure and new experiences are very important to her, each new experience an opportunity to learn & grow. She loves to explore the minutiae in life and tries to be present and find joy in the simplest things. While roaming around in nature, she will often stick something in her mouth just to see what it tastes and feels like. She licks her plate, regardless of where she is.

Nifer balances being cute, silly, and playful with pretending to be a tough grrrl. She rides her BMW F650 motorcycle daily and enjoys getting her hands greasy whenever she tries to learn how to fix it. Nifer is passionate with Muay Thai kickboxing, and has been training in it for upwards of 5 years.

Nifer lives in San Francisco, where she continually seeks out all the whimsy and inspiration the city has to offer. Life makes her gleeful.

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Dali Finger Stash

I just decided to mess around for the heck of it, and staged a Salvador Dali photo, with finger (thumb?) stash.

Below is the photo of Dali, from which I based it off of:

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GIANT MARSHMALLOW

For my best friend’s birthday, I decided to give her a gigantic marshmallow. She always joked around that wouldn’t it be funny to go to Burning Man, and hold a gigantic marshmallow over The Man as he burned. So, I decided to make this joke, reality…

How does one acquire a gigantic marshmallow, you may ask? Well make one, of course! I slowly melted down 5 pounds of marshmallow, and poured it into a mold, which was in fact, a gigantic cooking pot. To insure that the sides did not stick, I coated the pot with some non-stick spray, as well as a mixture of cornstarch & powdered sugar. And it worked!

One unforeseen problem I found out, was when I plopped the big guy out, the sheer weight of his own body began to succumb to gravity, threatening to make him a puddle-lump of marshmallow. What needed to happen was he needed loose a little bit of moisture from his skin, so that it would toughen up and be load bearing marshmallow. So what I did, was I made a cheesecloth mold for him to hang out in, exposed to air. I put a fan directed on him for quite a while, and eventually, his skin did indeed dry up enough so that it would support weight.

April & I both have a special affinity for things either too big or too small, so I knew she was going to love it! And she did!

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Mo the Two-Toed Sloth

What better thing to make my sweetie for his birthday than a sculpture of his self-proclaimed spirit animal, the sloth.

Because these critters are never seen out of their favorite trees, I knew I had to make Mo as a wall sculpture, clutching onto a branch. But to address the desire to hold the fuzzy guy, I made tiny eyelets that attached to little hooks on the branch:

Also, thinking about how iconic the toes of the sloth were, I wanted them to be perfect. And what better way to make them exactly how I wanted them then to make them out of fimo dough, which I baked in the oven and painted with a periwinkle enamel.

I really liked how he turned out, and even more important, my sweetie loved him too!

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March of the Dames

What a beautiful Sunday spent with my lovely lady-friends this past weekend.

There was no real occasion for meeting, other than for the sake of dressing up snappy, drinking mimosas, walking to Dolores Park to nibble sandwiches with the crusts cut off and sip lemonade, and then engage in a rousing (but ladylike!) game of croquet.

It brings me immense joy to be in a community of playful people, who will don any costume, from mustachios to flounces and ruffles, depending on the situation.

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Love is a Battlefield

I'm so honored to announce that I was selected as one of the winners of Craft Magazine 's 2009 Valentine's Day Project Contest! My winning creation was a soft sculpture, made entirely of hot pink merino wool, called "Love is a BattleField."

The "Love is a Battlefield" Hand Grenade is 1:1 scale replica of a real pineapple grenade. It is a needlefelted sculpture made of solid hot pink merino wool throughout and of course, the heart-shaped pull pin is indeed removable.

It is part of my continuing fine art series of needle-felted weapons made from merino wool. The first of the series, was introduced last winter during my 2008 holiday craft season. In fact, it was at the Bazaar Bizarre Holiday Show, that I sold my first piece to San Francisco's own Mythbusters co-host, Adam Savage.

What a perfect item for an eclectic and interesting gentleman scientist! Adam was so kind to post pictures of the hand grenade when he got home to his Twitpic and Flickr accounts, as well as posted a picture of the half dozen sweet and adorable NifNaks Eggy Eggs that his charming sweetie, Julia, fell in love with. What a heart-bursting moment. :)

I'm totally loving this new series of weapons and am so pleased that others seem to be enjoying it as well. Stay tuned to see pictures of the next in the series that I am working on, a needle-felted Glock hand gun.

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Sunday Excursions – Buddhists & Bikes

I couldn’t imagine a better way of starting off the new year, than communing with friends over brunch on a Sunday morning, so this past Sunday I invited friends out for some sharing food & conversation at the Thai Buddhist temple in Berkeley, Wat Mongkolratanaram.

It's such a fun experience, exchanging your bills for handfuls of Thai tokens, and then you stand in one of the many food lines and exchange them in for Thai deliciousness. The place is packed with people waiting with patience for a favorite dish – mine being their yummy mango with sticky rice. (The mango with sticky rich is reason alone to go! They serve it with both white AND forbidden rice, AND a wee bit of coconut custard on top, AND the portion is huuuuge.)

After brunch, I invited friends to take our motorcycles up into the Berkeley hills for the lovely scenic views of the entire Bay Area. We had total of 10 bikes, with 12 riders. What fun!

The day ended with hanging out with a good friend, who communes with The Cute & The Good. Cookies were made, and I had lots of fun documenting all the cuteness abound:

I need more Sundays like this in 2009. How about you?

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Oh, those locks!

Three adorable flip wigs arrived from China today for use in NifNaks photo shoots!

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New Toys – A photo lightbox

I’m very excited to be using my new photo light box setup for mass documentation of my latest NifNaks, as well as regular picture updates.

Here's a sample of the great quality I can now take with the light box with very little fussing:

Neat, huh?

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