December 17, 2014 AT 3:00 am

Leaf Faerie Headdress with Glowing Dark Side #WearableWednesday


This is a fun costume piece, created by one of my fave people–Niki Selken. Niki loves Arduinos, fashion and design. Her work is often inspired by fantasy and literature, and this piece is no exception. In fact, it is part of her thesis,  A Prayer for Rain, which uses folk objects and shrines to explore the issue of rain in California.

The Leaf Faerie Headdress is inspired by the Russian Rusalka Myth. Rusalka came out of the water in the spring to transfer life-giving moisture to the fields and thus helped nurture the crop. However, Rusalka had a dark side, and if you came to close to the river, they might drown you. The headdress transforms from a whimsical and magical garland to an eerie glowing headdress in the dark. Much like the light and dark of the Rusalka.

You can read more about her project on her site, but the star material of this headdress is the gray fiber optic fabric used to create the ghostly glowing along the main band. When powered on, LEDs shoot light through tiny fibers in the fabric, and here you can see both the red and purple effect. Niki used a special technique of lightly sanding some of the fibers to give a distressed look, which makes the glow even more evident.


Finishing touches include shells and dried flowers, which go nicely with the Rusalka theme of women coming from the water and helping crops. This same technique can be used for other headpieces like hat decorations or crowns for proms and weddings. However, I really like the combination of raw nature and tech here. It really speaks to the soft circuit crafting that I know we both love. If you are also a fan of costuming, you can check out Niki’s Instructable and also our cool costuming book. You’ll get ideas for bringing your favorite myths to life.


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