The Silk Canvas

 

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BURDEKIN – Photography: Brent McCombs Model: Katie McDonald (City Models) Fashion Design: Adrienne Goodine Hair: Tanya Ozolins MUA: Elizabeth Anne Stylist/Assistant: Sara Calhoun Surface Design: Dee Wilkie 
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SAHEL –  Photography: Brent McCombs Photo Assistant Elizabeth Anne Models: Athenaïs Testi Fashion Design: Adrienne Goodine Hair: Tanya Ozolins MUA: Julie Purchase Assistnat: Sara Calhoun Surface Design: Dee Wilkie
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CONNACHT – Photography: Brent McCombs Models: Ashley Shaw Fashion Design: Adrienne Goodine Hair: Tanya Ozolins MUA: Elizabeth Anne Assistant: Sara Calhoun Surface Design: Dee Wilkie 
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KYOTO – Photography: Brent McCombs Photo Assistant: Elizabeth Anne  Model: Libby Clement (City Models) Fashion Design: Michelle Duncan Hair: Tanya Ozolins MUA: Julie Purchase Stylist/Assistnat: Sara Calhoun Surface Design: Dee Wilkie 
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SARGASSO – Photography: Brent McCombs Photo Assistant: Elizabeth Anne Model: Steph McEwan Hair: Tanya Ozolins MUA: Julie Purchase Stylist/Assistant: Sara Calhoun Surface Design: Dee Wilkie 
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LUXOR – Photography: Brent McCombs Photo Assistant: Elizabeth Anne Model: Kristina Comuzzi (City Models) Fashion Design: Kayleigh Saad Hair: Tanya Ozolins MUA: Julie Purchase Surface Stylist/Assistant: Sara Calhoun Surface Design: Dee Wilkie

So last weekend, I had a photoshoot in Halifax with one of Atlantic Canada’s best photographers, Brent McCombs.  My girlfriend, Sara, offered to come with me and help out with the shoot (thank gosh she did because between her, Siri and the GPS, I was still stressin’).  It was the first time I had ever driven that far or driven in a city bigger than Fredericton.  Judge me.  I felt like this was a defining moment in my adulthood, and then there was a snow storm on top of it!  We made it safe and sound and as you can see above, the shoot was SO WORTH the drive!  I am so, so happy with how it turned out  (also, you need, need, NEED to check out this video that Brent made of our shoot!!  It shows just how much work went into it).

I also have to mention our kick ass team. Without them, this shoot would not have been possible.  From a top notch photographer; to a stellar hair and makeup team; to gorgeous, hardworking models; to moms shopping around for us, bringing colourful tights in for all the models; to the surface stylist/assistant doing all the little things that needed to be done…I could not have asked for a better group to work with!  I hate to sound desperate,  but PLEASE share these photos.  The work that went into them was unreal.  It might look like a model just laying on a pool of fabric that was haphazardly thrown on the floor, but trust me, it was so much more (again, please check out the video to see just how much work went into these pictures).

“You can mimic the result, but not the creativity.” – Sonya Teclai

D.W.

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Feature Friday: Katie McDonald

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f51405050Photography: Greg Sino

Katie McDonald is one of the sweetest people I have ever worked with.  She is so positive and hard working, not to mention super talented.  I worked with Katie this fall and did a “dancing silk” photo-shoot which turned out to be one of my favorite shoots of all time.  (We are also working together this weekend with photographer Brent McCombs and I can not WAIT to show you the finished results!)  Below is a short interview with Katie so you can get to know her better.

What made you want to start modeling?
I have only been modeling since the late summer of 2015.  It all started when I was invited to participate in the 2015 Paris Dance Tour at a 5678 Showtime Dance Competition.  As part of this tour I had the opportunity to work with International Fashion photographer Greg Sino.  During the photo shoot he strongly encouraged me to explore modeling further.  Once I returned to Canada I kept in touch with him through Facebook.  In September he was in New York City for New York Fashion Week and he offered to create a modeling portfolio for me.  So, I flew down to NYC and spent the day with Greg, stylist Erika Degraffinreaidt and makeup artist Jennifer Green.  It was an absolutely surreal experience to spend a day taking pictures in Times Square with such an incredible group of people.  When I came home I created an online portfolio through Instagram and really things have just kept happening ever since then.  Through my Instagram account I met Halifax based photographer Brent McCombs and he has been a huge support, guiding me through the world of modeling here in Halifax.  I have had several more photo shoots, walked for two designers in Atlantic Fashion Week and have been signed by City Models.  Prior to meeting Greg Sino in Paris, I had never considered modeling. I am thankful to all the people I have met so far in this industry for seeing something in me that until now I hadn’t seen in myself.

What/who inspires you?
My mom inspires me because she works hard everyday and she keeps going even when things are difficult and this motivates me to pursue my dreams no matter what obstacles are thrown in my path.  I am also hugely inspired by Ballet Dancer, Juliet Doherty because she is a beautiful dancer who combines impeccable technique with a wonderful performance quality that I aspire to achieve in my dancing.

What is your favourite thing you have ever done with modeling?
Since I have started modeling I have had some amazing experiences and have met many wonderful and talented people.  My most favourite experience though has got to be flying to NYC for the day to do a photo shoot with Greg Sino.  This was my first introduction into the modeling world and it was just such an incredible experience!!  I also really enjoyed my photo shoot with Brent McCombs (Alterego photography) and surface designer Dee Wilkie.  Making Dee’s beautiful silks fly was so much fun!  I would have to say though that that day taught me how hard you have to work to get the perfect shot!!!  My legs were shaking by the end!!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years I hope to have completed the Jazz & Contemporary trainee program at the Joffrey Ballet School in NYC and be working with a contemporary dance company, pursuing my dream to become a professional dancer!  I am hoping too that I will be able to continue modeling as I really enjoy the process of working with so many interesting and talented people to create beautiful images whether on film or on the runway!

Do people think that modeling is easy?  Do you agree or disagree with them?
Yes, I think most people think modeling is just about smiling for a picture but it is about so much more than that!!  Models are visual artists.  Working with the designer, make up artist and photographer they create images that tell a story or cause an emotion.  Every wonderful image that you see in a fashion magazine or on the runway represents many, many hours of hard work and the collaboration of many talented people.  To be the face representing other artists’ work is a huge responsibility that a model must take very seriously!

Does Dancing help with modeling? Why?
There is a lot of similarity between modeling and dancing and the two really compliment each other.  Both models and dancers seek to impact how people feel.  I think my training as a dancer gives me the body awareness needed to create beautiful images and the ability to tell a story and project emotion in a more realistic way. The fluidity of body movement that is so important in dance is also important in runway modeling.  On the runway, I think that my dance training allows me to showcase the designer’s work with added poise and grace.

What is you favourite kind of dance?
I love the precision and technique of ballet but the freedom of movement and expression of jazz and contemporary dance.  Overall, I love how I feel when I am dancing, how the music flows through me and guides my movement.  I am happiest on the stage performing!

“Ballet is like dreaming on your feet.”

D.W.


 

Once Upon A Time…

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Photography: Patti Cogswell Model: Athenais Testi Fashion Designer: Adrienne Goodine Surface Designer: Dee Wilkie

I had so much fun shooting with Patti, Adrienne, Athenais and Nathalie this past weekend.  Our shoot was inspired by the tea party in Alice in Wonderland.  I LOVE how in the first picture it looks like light is coming out of the book and shining onto Athenais’ face.  It has such a magical feeling!  My second favorite detail about the shoot is the tea cups.  They belonged to my Great Grandmother.  I bet she never would have imagined that they would be used for a fashion shoot like this! LOL.

“Have i gone mad?
I’m afraid so, but let me tell you something, the best people usually are.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

D.W.

Feature Friday: Scout Development Agency

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Scout Development Agency was opened in March of 2015 by Denis Duquette and his wife Sarah Duquette (from Boho and Braids). Denis is a commercial portrait and fashion photographer. He has been working in the local industry for roughly 7 years and has worked with a lot of aspiring models in Atlantic Canada.  He has also spent some time travelling to Toronto and working with agency signed models.  After talking to many agents in Toronto he began to see a need for a development agency in Atlantic Canada.

Before Scout, Denis mentored a few local models who had, at the time, gone to Toronto and struggled to make it in the industry.  A few of them got signed, but they still lacked experience and some also had some issues with the agents they met.  It was frustrating for Denis to see the models he had worked with go through that and there really wasn’t anything he was able to do.  He wasn’t officially their agent so he couldn’t call the person who was treating them poorly because they wouldn’t listen to him.

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Denis and Sarah finally decided they would start their own agency, Scout.  Denis describes their style as a “mother/development agency”. What is a “mother agency” you might ask? It is when the agency cares for, guides and remains with their models throughout their entire career. When Denis and Sarah place their models with bigger agencies, they stay on as their mother agent. They still book portfolio building shoots and continue to educate them throughout their career (there is a good write up on mother agents here: https://www.modelscouts.com/blog/mother-agency).

The development side of the agency is where Sarah and Denis prepare them mentally, physically and portfolio wise for the industry. They take care of booking their shoots and communicate with the clients and photographers. They promote them on their website and social media accounts and also run workshops roughly every 3 months. At these workshops, (which are 2 full days) they have models who work in the industry, come talk (or Skype) to them about their experiences.  They also have makeup artists talk about skin care and makeup looks, hairstylists talk about hair care and styles, a yoga instructor teach specific yoga poses that are beneficial for modelling, a nutritionist talk about healthy eating and more.

Sarah and Denis also educate their models on the industry; how to act on set, how to talk to people in the industry and on social media etiquette. They stay in touch with all their models and have them work on the things lacking from their current skill set. They want their models to be able to go to Toronto and start working right away and not have to go through the rigours of development in Toronto.

So far, the response has been absolutely wonderful! They were in Toronto, in October, to meet with agencies and the feedback they received was nothing but positive. Scout has made great strides in under a year of being open. Sarah and Denis plan to continue to move ahead at full force to help bring more attention to all the awesome talent we have here in Atlantic Canada.

While Scout is based in Moncton, NB, they represent models from all over NB, NS and PEI. Please feel free to check out their website at www.scoutdevelopmentagency.com.

“The secret to modeling is not being perfect.  What one needs is a face that people can identify in a second.” – Karl Lagerfeld

Scout

Feature Friday: S E V E N Artists

 

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Lance Kenneth Blakney is a photographer based in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. He works as a media artist for the University of New Brunswick and is on his way to becoming a successful international fashion photographer. His passion for still imagery, in combination with his honours degree in Media Arts and Cultures, facilitates the creation of visually beautiful photographs that can also exist within a social and political context. Solo gallery shows, guest lectures, workshops and numerous international publications have given him a presence within the artistic community both locally and abroad.
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Adrienne graduated from NBCCD in 2003 from the Fashion program and continued at UNB graduating with a BAA in 2005. She currently works for What On Earth Jewellers as a designer but also continues to design garments for shows, clients and herself. Her favourite things are polka dots, bows, classic black and white and delicious colours. Her dream is to someday have her own label and continue doing what she loves the most, Fashion Design.
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Bronwen Robbins was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick in 1981 and she continued to live there until the year 1990 when her family moved to the small Caribbean island of Jamaica. Three years later, her family moved back to Fredericton, much to the elation of the young girl who missed snow and root beer. In 2002, she graduated from the New Brunswick Collage of Craft and Design, with a major in Surface Design. Not ready to face the real world yet, she returned to NBCCD during the winter semester to take corseting in 2005 and discovered a talent and love for costume design. The following fall, she enrolled in the Fashion Design studio, pursuing an interest in costume design. She graduated from the program in 2007 with Honours and Principal’s Distinction and began working with costumes and clothing for Asian ball jointed dolls. After some coaxing from staff at the school, she returned for the 2011-2012 school year as a graduate student. She graduated with Honors from the program on June 15, 2012 and is very excited about the future of her business.
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Michelle Duncan is a Fredericton-based fashion designer and recent graduate of the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design. She draws inspiration from historical fashion, combining elements of various eras to create modern, unique pieces that blur the line between high fashion day-wear and sensual lingerie. Michelle is a lover of nature and organic beauty; her next endeavour is a collection of elegant, linen lounge-wear.
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Alexandra Keely MacLean is a visual artist based in Fredericton, New Brunswick. MacLean holds a joint Bachelor of Applied Arts Degree from the University of New Brunswick and the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design. It was while studying at NBCCD that she discovered her passion for the fibre arts, prompting her to continue her studies at the college, where she obtained a Graduate Studies Diploma, Fibre Arts division, in 2012. Although MacLean creates an array of wearable and decorative fibre art pieces using an assortment of fibers and processes, her true passion is creating beautiful one-of-a-kind art pieces. Her predominant focus as an artist is addressing social and political issues (including environmental degradation, the human condition, inequality and current events) in ways that will inspire her audience to think.
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Dee Wilkie graduated from the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design in 2012 with a focus in Surface Design/Textiles. Before that, she attended St. Francis Xavier University and did two years of art/fine arts courses which included Batik and Stained Glass Window making.“What is a Surface Designer!?” You ask. Well, the best way to describe it is this. Ever wonder where the patterns on tissue boxes, shower curtains and wallpaper come from? A Surface Designer is the person who creates those patterns. It is their job to create the artwork that goes onto products. Dee specializes in textiles and creates patterns and artwork for fabric. She then uses that fabric to turn into beautiful things by herself and with other designers. Some of her designs have made: scarves, dresses, skirts and headbands.Dee primarily works with silk and is a big fan of bright, highly saturated colours and high contrast. Her love of colours and pattern is probably one of the reasons she loves to travel so much. Dee has been to New York, Bermuda, Cuba, Guatemala (just to name a few) and can’t wait to explore the rest of the world while continuing her art.
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Billy Peterson is a hairstylist and makeup artist. He has been doing hair for almost 13 years and makeup for about half that. Billy is from Fredericton, New Brunswick and took both of his trades at Atlantic Hairstyling Academy and Atlantic Esthetics Academy. He is currently working at Avenue Eighty-Five located on the Northside of Fredericton.
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From colour, to cuts, to wild styles, Michael Drost, hair stylist does it all. Michael works at one of Avalon’s three locations in Fredericton. Michael is located conveniently downtown and would love to cut, colour, or style your hair! Avalon is an Aveda concept salon that uses Ayurvedic practices incorporated into all services. For more information or to book in with Michael, call (506)472-1772 ext. 1.
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Athenais has walked the past three season of Atlantic fashion week , the heart truth gala, nascad and nbcd shows. She modeled for designers such as Adrienne Goodine, Dee Wilkie, Veronica MacIsaac, Orphanage, Anya Knees, Anthony El cid, and Overman, to name a few. Her work with photographer Maya Fuhr was published in the UK and she appears in Dreck magazine and Dazed. She was also featured in Megan Spence portofolio, and Vogue Italia. She is a hard worker and is very dedicated to modeling and studying. She skipped two grades and is in grade 11 of the IB Program at only 14. Every collaboration is an opportunity to learn and grow. Athenaïs is signed with the prestigious agency Plutino in Toronto.
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Twenty Two year old Gillian Glover has modeled for businesses such as Wear Your Label and Shoptilleul. She loves exploring new looks and working with photographers. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University of New Brunswick in 2015. Gillian is currently in her “gap” year and is going backpack Thailand.
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Jessica Chantelle is a social entrepreneur and community developer by day but in her free time she keeps her artistic side alive by immersing herself in the local fashion scene. Through fashion photography and runway modeling Jessica has been able to satisfy her insatiable love of the arts. Some of her outlets include Atlantic Fashion Week to creative collaborations with local and national photographers such as Dave Brosha and Lance Kenneth Blakney.
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A model since age 16, Kayley’s passion has translated in numerous areas of the fashion industry; from styling to design. She is signed with CITY Models and has walked two seasons of Atlantic Fashion Week. Despite her focus shifting behind the scenes of the runways, she continues to love collaborating with other professionals in front of the camera.
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Sophie has been passionate about modelling and fashion for as long as she can remember. Despite her career in health care, she continues to do modelling as a hobby. The local modelling industry has permitted her to meet amazing people and participate in projects she will never forget.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

D.W.

One, Two, Three!

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Photographer: AlterEgo Photography Surface Design: Dee Wilkie Model: Katie McDonald (Assistance provided by: Sarah Bottomley)

During Atlantic Fashion Week I had the privilege to work with Halifax based photographer Brent McCombs of AlterEgo Photography  (I have strongly admired his work since I met him at the model call for AFW).  Brent welcomed me and my silk yardage into his studio and shot for close to three hours.

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Photographer: AlterEgo Photography Surface Design: Dee Wilkie Model: Katie McDonald (Assistance provided by: Sarah Bottomley)

The concept I was after was showing the movement and gracefulness of my hand dyed silk.  I had met Katie McDonald at the AFW model call and after seeing some of her instagram pictures, I knew she would be the perfect fit as a model for my shoot with Brent.

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Photographer: AlterEgo Photography Surface Design: Dee Wilkie Model: Katie McDonald (Assistance provided by: Sarah Bottomley)

Brent started off the shoot by explaining to Katie and I that this was going to be a difficult shoot.  He told us that there were three very important factors at play here… The first being Katie and her dance moves.  Even if she got her poses, positions and jumps right 100% of the time; the fabric would only look right 50% of the time.  Then, Brent clicking the camera at the exact right moment would bring the odds down even more…

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Photographer: AlterEgo Photography Surface Design: Dee Wilkie Model: Katie McDonald (Assistance provided by: Sarah Bottomley)

Words can not describe how happy I am with how this shoot turned out.  As I mentioned before, things turning out the way you had them in your head only happens on a rare occasion.  When it does, it feels like Christmas morning.

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Photographer: AlterEgo Photography Surface Design: Dee Wilkie Model: Katie McDonald (Assistance provided by: Sarah Bottomley)

“One, two, three” will forever be ingrained in my head from this shoot, as Sarah (Brent’s wife and assistant) I had to choreograph when we would throw the silk at the same time Katie hit a post and Brent clicked away at his camera.)

Blue Water Silk
Photographer: AlterEgo Photography Surface Design: Dee Wilkie Model: Katie McDonald (Assistance provided by: Sarah Bottomley)

“It takes an athlete to dance, but an artist to be a dancer.” -Shanna La Fleur

D.W.

 

Go With The Flow

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One of my very first batik paintings I did in university before I went to the Craft College. Wax and Cotton.

As I mentioned in a previous post, (Rain, Rain, Go Away) sometimes wax can drip into an unexpected area of a batik.  For this piece I decided to follow it and just do whatever came naturally.  It turned out to be one of my favourite pieces.  Years later I drew inspiration from this piece again and dyed silk yardage in similar colours and patterns.  I then teamed up with Adrienne Goodine and below is the final result.

Silk, Lace Dress
Photography Credit: Lance Kenneth Blakney
Model: Athenais Testi
Surface Designer: Dee Wilkie
Fashion Designer: Adrienne Goodine
Hair & Make up: Amy Barter

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Silk, lace dress
Photography Credit: Lance Kenneth Blakney
Model: Athenais Testi
Surface Designer: Dee Wilkie
Fashion Designer: Adrienne Goodine
Hair & Make up: Amy Barter

“‘Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it. For action has magic, grace and power in it” – Goethe

D.W.