Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More than Creating Capes

For seven years, I have been making my beautiful capes and selling them purely by word-of-mouth advertising, until recently, I was told that there are others on the planet that deserve to know how to find me and get their capes made for them too. So, here I am on the internet, with my own blog, offering to you, my gifts and talents in co-creating beautiful, custom, spiritually connected capes. Following is a description of the process that transpires as one is brought into fruition.

When I start the process of making a cape for you, I ask you if it is all right with you if I contact your Higher Power and ask it to guide me through the process of creating your cape. If you say yes, then I make the request and wait for instructions. Usually, they arrive around 4:00 in the morning in full picture of the style of cape, the color and texture of the fabric, hood or collar, and length of cape. It all just comes in a full downloaded picture (most of the time). Then I start looking for the fabric, and that can take some time and some serious trust at times. I have out loud told the guides of some people that they'll have to lead me to that fabric because I have never seen or heard of that color in that texture of fabric. And then they do. It's a beautiful process every time and it works every single time.

Then, once I'm working on the cape, I will receive instructions and guidance that's meant for the person the cape is for, so I write it all down. The cape is given a name and I'm told what the purpose of it coming into that person's life is. They're all very individual in their purposes. Some come to offer protection, others are for guidance and some come to be a constant reminder of the truth of who that person "really" is. And occasionally, a Spirit Guide will choose in to be a physical representation for this person to really connect with. There is a powerful amount of energy that is infused into each cape, both from my intentionally doing it with powerful stones from Mother Earth and with the power of the Higher Being of these individuals that the capes are being created for.

The entire process is a conscious, step-by-step, intentional co-creation series of events. The first thing I do when I enter the studio to start a new cape is cleanse the space of any lingering energies from other capes by smudging the room with sacred white sage smoke, which I grow in my garden. Next I infuse the space with smoke from dried lavender, also grown in my organic garden.

Then I call upon the Higher Power, Guides, Guardian Angels, Ascended Masters, Elementals, and any others who are for the highest and best good of this person for whom the cape is being created. I ask them to come into the space bringing with them all the wisdom, gifts, love, encouragement, inspiration, etc. that they want to give this person and infuse those energies into these fabrics, so that their energies are permanently with this cape. I then ask which books from my shelves get to be part of the process. I then lay them on the fabric and infuse their energy and information into it. As I work on the cape I burn incense to continue to keep the space pure and alive. I am always inspired to play particular music for each particular cape. It's always fun to see what will be requested.

Again, as I'm working on the cape, more and more information is given me for this person, and so I write it down for them, creating a final document that can be six or more pages long. This document gives that person such a clear connection with the energy of the cape that an instant bond is made every time between the donned and the person wearing it.

The final step I do on the cape, once it is hanging on the body form in the studio, is create a sphere of pink light with a golden shell that goes out five feet on all sides of the cape. This sphere is the vibrational energy of love and so only the vibration of love or higher can penetrate this field.

For this reason, whenever someone puts on one of these capes, usually their eyes widen at the wonder they feel inside of it. Words are impossible at that moment to describe what it feels like to be wrapped in that level of divine energy. And there are often tears of recognition and love.
The delivery of the cape looks many different ways. Sometimes if just takes place at my studio or their home. Other times it coincides with a particular power date like a solstice or equinox and a special place is chosen to deliver it to this person at. Because the whole process is guided, it rarely ever looks the same from one time to another.

Lastly, I print up the document on special paper and tie it up in a wax seal for delivery. If you're now wondering about the price of the capes and what is involved in ordering one, here is some information on that. For each individual cape, I am told what the price gets to be by the cape itself. Because some of them demand a lot of hand work, or the fabric is just difficult to work with, they cost more. But I can tell you that a $500.00 deposit is requested before work begins. Many times that is the total price of the cape at completion. Some fabrics cost upwards of $200-300.00 alone. It absolutely gets to be just the perfect fabric or there’s no point in even starting the project. You deserve the best, every time.

If you'd like to see one of the documents from another cape I made, I'll get permission to share one with you. Because the relationship between the owner of the cape and the cape is so sacred, I don’t include the actual pictures of these capes on my blog. I will only post pictures of capes that are either not ones I co-created or ones that are my personal capes. My husband may even let me post pictures of his.

In case you’re wondering where you would wear one of these beautiful garments, may I suggest the Symphony? Small groups of couples wear ours to Holiday plays and festivals. I wear mine everywhere while it’s cold here in Salt Lake City, which happens to be about half of the year. Yea. I love the cold though.

When I wear one out Holiday shopping, the children are the ones who take notice. Then will run up to me and touch my cape with wide, shining eyes and ask who I am. They love them the most. And by the way, for you Mothers with Babes in arms, I put zippers in the arm holes so that you can zip them closed to wrap around you and your baby for more warmth. A young mother named Spring inspired that idea in me.

For those of us who are lucky enough to live in Salt Lake City, there are some quaint little shops clustered together on 7800 South and about 800 West called Gardner Village that offers roaming Holiday Carolers on Saturdays during December. I love wearing one of my capes over there and just walking around with a cup of mocha and listening to them sing. Sometimes it snows while they’re singing and the spirit of the holidays is so thick, it’s palpable. My favorite store in town is there too; Anastasia’s Attic. For all of us who love Victorian era clothing and decorations, there is no better place to shop. And Tara, the owner of the shop, is one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. You deserve to check out her shop.

It is my personal belief that a girl deserves at least three capes in her closet and a guy deserves at the very least, one. I have six of my own and there are two more swirling around my energy field waiting to be brought into being. My favorite one is still the first one I made for my wedding in 2002. She is forest green velvet with a matching lining. She has so much energy in her that when I let people put her on, they usually order a cape immediately. She just has a way of making people feel in a way they’ve never felt before. She is full length with a hood and I call her “Lady of the Forest”. She is #2 and my level of quality has dramatically improved since I created her, but still, she’s the one I wear the most often.

The first few years I just made beautiful capes and numbered them. Then as I began to really connect with my Higher Power and remove limiting belief systems from my energy field, the capes began to talk to me. They would tell me their names, what language they speak (strange I know), what they’re coming into this person’s life to bring and many other beautiful messages. I started taking dictation, surprised at this new dimension that was coming into cape making. I never was a religious person, so I didn’t have those walls to deal with, but I also had never considered myself a clairaudient. But there they were, all these messages that were coming through for the person the cape was being created for. So I wrote and I continue to write for each one has so much to tell.

In the beginning, I felt very vulnerable delivering these documents along with the capes because what if…? And you know the “what ifs”. I felt exposed for attack. I was even told to write “I Am Divinity” on the inside of the cape between the shoulders. “Oh boy, that’s going to trigger some people”, I thought. But to my relief and surprise, people have responded to it very favorably. Those who may not, have not shown it and by now in my life, I no longer feel I have to hide my spirituality in order not to offend others in theirs.

So when someone asks me to put particular symbols inside their cape or if Spirit tells me to, I am honored to oblige. These capes get to be as powerful as is possible to make them, because it is time that we re-member that we are powerful Beings of Light and we came to 3-D to bring our gifts and talents to the table to share with each other. When I remind you that you are beautiful, powerful, loving, inspiring, etc., then I remember that I am too and the world becomes a brighter and peaceful place to dwell.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cloaks and Capes

Full length cloaks or capes have been in fashion since time began. Undecorated it is one of the simplest garments to make. In examining the costume history of many countries a cloak may have another name such as burnous for what is essentially an enveloping blanket to either keep heat in or keep dust and sand out.

The cloak or cape has doubled as a night blanket since early times. Not only the Romans and the Scots used a large piece of fabric in a damp cold Britain to protect themselves from the elements, but also the Arabs of the Middle East, who needed to brave the chill night desert.

Fashion history has many names for the same item and for centuries in Britain, mantle was another name for a hooded shapeless cloak with arm slits. Mantle from mentel originally meant men's cloak. It was a long surviving term for a loose garment with two decorative silk tassels and the name was used alongside cloak and cape. Like the cloak, the mantle was often worn flung on the shoulders in a casual way. The term mantle was used frequently throughout the 19th century and clothes manufacturers often called themselves MANTLE MAKERS or Makers of Mantles and Cloaks.

(Note BURNOUS derives from the Arabic word burnus and is usually a longwhite hooded cloak of coarse woollen cloth, worn throughout North Africa by the Arabs and Berbers.)

The Meaning of Cloak and or Cape

The word for cloak comes from the Latin cloca which means cape and of course there is a link with the Ancient French word cloke.

The correct term for the full garment is cloak. The correct costume history term for the attached collar or small extension that falls over the shoulders is called cape. However as the small cape developed into two and even three layers which often reached the waist, the word cape became used in an interchangeable way. Hooded cloaks were often referred to as capes and were sometimes known as Capucins.

I believe the term cape should not be applied to any cloak longer than hip length and that a cape is often of a more frivolous style than a cloak.

Early cloaks were very simple in cut. They could and still can be easily achieved by cutting a circle or near circle of fabric with a hole for the head - these were the sort that doubled as a blanket. The cloak used to prevent Queen Elizabeth 1st wetting her feet was more of a decorative flourishing fashion appendage.

Although cloaks continued to be used they developed into sophisticated lined, cut and even quilted semi shaped fashion garments, for indoor and outdoor wear.

Types of Coaks or Capes

The earliest cloaks were circular cloaks or wraps based on a circular shape. They can be anything from a half circle to a whole circle.

Fitted cloaks are more modern and involve some tailoring, because in some part they are shaped to fit the body, usually around the shoulders. They were first popular in the renaissance, but we mostly think of them as Victorian Opera Cloaks.

Finally there is the easy to make gathered cloak which began life in the middle ages. Either a rectangle or gores of joined fabric pieces are gathered onto a collar and the edges encased into the collar. Such spectacular cloaks are for those who like to make an entrance, Lord of the Rings fantasy players are good examples.

Long cloaks were popular with both sexes through the 16th and 17th centuries, although it is fair to say that women saw them as functional and respectable cover up garments, rather than fashionable. From about 1750 every British village woman owned a hooded cloak which was the usual outdoor wear. Riding dress used tailoring in coat making, but even by 1800 few women wore highly tailored outer coats then called the redingote. At the turn of the nineteenth century, tailoring with woollen cloth as we know it today was only in its infancy.

C18th CloakRomantic Era C19th Cloak 1835 Mantle Cloak
Picture of a cloak. Costume history and fashion history of cloaks. Picture of a cloak. Costume history and fashion history of cloaks. Picture of a mantle cloak. Costume history and fashion history of cloaks.

Between 1820 and 1840 cloaks were always more favoured by less fashion conscious older women as they were such a utilitarian item, but cloaks do appear regularly in documentation from 1740 to 1840. Some cloaks like these shown in illustrations above and below reached to the feet and others, like the Cardinal cloak similar to the C18th Cloak described below, rested about 6 or so inches from the ground.

1838 Long Cloak Mantle1839 Long 3 Tiered Cloak
Picture of a cloak mantle 1838. Costume history and fashion history of cloaks. Picture of a 3 cape cloak 1839. Costume history and fashion history of cloaks.

Memorable cloaks in fashion history include the red cloak. In the 18th century a very popular cloak in Britain was the Cardinal, a three quarter cloak with a hood. This scarlet red woollen cloak remained very popular until 1800 and was similar in line the the 18th century cloak shown above. After about that date younger women began to favour mantles, shawls and the new pelisse style coat. Only older women continued to wear the scarlet cloak.

The use of scarlet cloth for hooded cloaks was so popular in 18th century Britain that it could be called a traditional British garment. In the book Fabric of Society written by the erudite costume authorities and authors Jane Tozer and Sarah Levitt a 'cardinal' cloak circa 1800 and originally from Mobberley in Cheshire, is described in the book as a hooded scarlet cloak.

Such cloaks were made of scarlet woollen cloth that had been double milled to increase the weather proof qualities. The cardinal cloak example the authors describe was a wedding cloak and was beautifully lined with a silk lining.

It had a silk lined hood under the lined, quilted collar, so that when the hood was in use the collar automatically got drawn up around the back neck and face making for a very warming experience. It was not full length for the woman of average height being about 6 inches or so from the ground. The length chosen was a workable one so that 45 inches or so was adequate for many women, lifting the cloak well off the ground, but giving good cover.

Although red was a commonly used colour for cloaks in Britain other colours were popular too and included grey, brown and blue. Welsh women like blue cloaks and the Irish wore black and grey versions, but they too were fond of blue and red cloaks when finance allowed the choice.

C18th cloaks were often made of broadcloth since because it was so tightly woven, it didn't unravel. Being made of pure wool it was also naturally hygroscopic having the facility to both reject water from the oily helical cuticle and hold moisture at the same time without feeling wet. The broadcloth selvedge was also sturdy and compact making it suitable to use as a firm simple edge, enabling easy construction at home. Such cloaks are very simple to make.

The scarlet cardinal cloak was symbolic in that it was associated with neat clean women who were respectably going about their business visiting their neighbours or attending worship on a Sunday.

The Victorians favoured a wide variety of styles of cloaks that include mantles and shorter capes as well as redingotes and pelisse coats, for both winter and summer. The loose fullness of a cloak was highly suitable for wearing over the wider romantic skirts and later the crinolines of the era. It was also a perfect loose covering to disguise pregnancy in the Victorian era always kept hidden from the public eye. As well as longer versions, shorter cloaks were very much in vogue from 1850 and hooded styles were often trimmed with tassels, fringe and braid.

Caped Redingote1857 Short Cashmere Cape and Fur Trim
Picture of a caped redingote. Costume history and fashion history of cloaks. Picture of a short cloak with fur trim 1857. Costume history and fashion history of cloaks.
Cloaks from a late 1850s copy of the Petit Courier des Dames.
Picture of 5 cloaks 1850s. Costume history and fashion history of cloaks.

The winter weather of 1861 was so severe in England that women wore the heaviest of fur or velvet cloaks.

In February 1861 the World of Fashion suggested 'The severity of the present season renders warm and comfortable cloaks and paletots indispensible(sic) for the promenade: velvet sealskin and veloutine or velvet pile are the materials considered the most stylish. Velvet manteaux are made long and and full with rich passementeries and black lace - or which is still more distingué, with fur; light sable being preferred.'

Likewise the Beeton publication 'The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine' listed many mantles and cloaks with fancy names such as the Phoebus, the Shanghai, the Sultan, The Mexican the Diplomate and the Melazzo. Today they sound like the names of delicious fancy Belgian chocolates.

In 1863 the World of Fashion stated ' For paletots and sleeved cloaks, furs are considered the most stylish trimming: sable, marten and 'vison' are worn on black velvet; for violet, blue and claret velvets, ermine and chinchilla are more suited....'

In 1860 a sealfur pelisse would have been thought a luxury and may have cost about 20 guineas, a considerable sum at the time.

Early Victorian Mantelets

The short cloak construction was often merged with the hip length mantelet styles that became popular at the same time. Sometimes it is hard to tell where a cloak or cape ends and a mantelet begins. The mantelet and the dolman, along with the short cape were both useful styles that developed and changed as the crinoline gained back fullness and the bustle emerged. The bustle contour needed carefully contoured top clothing to preserve the hind leg like silhouette.

Until 1910 full length cloaks and capes were still worn, but often by more mature women. After that date they became rare by day, disappearing by 1915 mostly only to be seen then on Red Cross Nurses and service women.

Between 1900 an 1910 a huge variety of coat styles could be bought. The new oriental style cocoon coats also helped the demise of capes as the all enveloping nature of the cocoon coat fulfilled a similar, but more advanced cover of odd shapes function, that the cape or cloak had previously. The cocoon coat is shown on a later coat page.