Sunday, November 13, 2011

An Impressive Promotion by Dan Whipps

Dan Whipps is a Baltimore-area photographer whom I met virtually, like so many people I "know." I had asked food stylist Debbie Wahl to submit some images for my new book and she sent several great samples she'd shot with Dan. I hope to use one or more to illustrate food styling in “Starting Your Career as a Food Stylist,” coming out next spring.

A few days later I found a package in my mailbox, a cardboard box labeled Dan Whipps Photography. Inside was a hand-assembled booklet that he sends out to prospective clients and I was honored to receive it. But under it was an even bigger surprise – two sturdy glasses. Sliding the booklet from its vellum sleeve, I discovered that it tells the story of the glasses. He says, “So, I found this glass in a hotel room in Michoacan, Mexico… It is utterly unremarkable and yet, it struck me as the perfect vessel,” and he goes on to tell of his search for the same glasses back home, where he ordered four cases.

On the front of the book: “My favorite glass, A love story. With Pictures. Dan Whipps”

On heavy paper, the pages of the booklet illustrate with beautiful photography (and styling) various uses for the glasses. Dan says he puts each booklet together by hand and I’m sure there are times he’s started this process. But it is such a treat to receive that I believe a client’s appreciation would make it worth his effort.

A composite for my book of some of my favorite images (of the 16 photos included)

I’m not sure how long he spent working with stylists Debbie Wahl ( and designer/art director Betty Walke. ( I decided to create a composite of these images for the book to feature in my new chapter on Prop Styling. It provides such good examples of prop styling, as well as an inspiration for self-promotion. Dan Whipps:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Looking Back at Halloween

I always wish that the Halloween holiday would fall on a day that I'm teaching a fashion class so I could see what the students create. This year Brent Scherer, one of my star students in Apparel Construction 1 at San Diego Mesa College intrigued me with a description of the Halloween costume he had completed: a vinyl mad scientist costume! Here's what he had to say:

A friend helped me to use me as a dress form to drape the vinyl and cut out the main pattern pieces. Each piece was then sewn together and the edged hemmed with about 1" all around.

The standing collar was made with an extra layer of vinyl inside to serve as the interfacing (since I only had medium weight and it wasn't going to be strong enough to hold it upright like I wanted).

It has 10 straps on it (or 5 short belts), five of which were attached to buckles and the other five were designed with eyelets. All were made up of folded over strips of vinyl.

The main coat possesses 2 short vinyl sleeves with enough ease to allow good freedom of movement.

Store-bought rubber gloves were sewn with more vinyl to extend them up the arms to the shoulder point. Also used single darts to tighten the rubber gloves a little more at the elbows because they were so loose.

A square of vinyl was placed on the inside of the coat with a button snap to keep the inner flap of the coat secured to the outer flap which went across the front to strap at the sides.

Bio: Brent is a recent graduate of UCSD with a BS in Chemistry. He appreciates all things unique and dark and expresses it creatively in writing, drawing, and constructing. Taking a formal course on sewing and utilizing the expertise of friends, he's recently begun learning to create costumes and clothing. Presently, as a hobby, he makes furry tails and gloves which he then auctions off at under the seller name Kulkun.

Brent praised that he "used a lot of what you taught me." He, along with several other costume fanatics in this class, is convincing me that sewing may stay alive beyond the home sewer and fashion designer.