FairyRoom strives to make our wide and varied community feel a little smaller and a lot more connected. Our goal with this series: to seek out people who support our community in their own Fantastic way, starting with artisans and crafters whose stalls line fantasy fairs and FaerieCons — Today we’d like to introduce stylists Bethany and Stacia of Dreadful Falls, USA!
Tell us what kind of fairy/fantasy-related work that you do.
We create custom head accessories — dread falls, ribbon falls, ribbon falls hats, flower crowns, and other hair pieces that are suitable for many special occasions, especially fantasy. We love when they are worn as a romantic touch for Ren Faire attendees, or as a colorfully spooky addition to any Dia de Los Muertos costume (pic of Bethany in full Dia de Los Muertos costume below). And of course, they are very popular for all Festival and Halloween costumes. Our pieces are worn as an alternative to the traditional wedding veil or a sultry accessory for belly dancers. Dreadful Falls in dark colors can add that ‘eerie’ touch for our goth customers or be the ideal accessory for the Lolita, cosplay, and Steampunk fans.
We love creating custom pieces! It makes us happy to get to share in the creation of someone’s vision, and as our hairpieces are tailor-made to match customers’ visions, they span a broad range of fairy/fantasy-related categories. For example, this custom Medusa Crown and Falls set was created for a fantasy ball in 2013. We are so proud of this piece and only wish we had better photos of it. We are looking forward to seeing our happy customer all dressed up!
When did your interest in fairy/fantasy-related work begin?
We started creating custom hair accessories for ourselves to wear at events and other gatherings. They created so much interest that we began making custom pieces for others and selling them at events, such as Faerieworlds, pagan pride events, and Dia de Los Muertos festivals.
We are definitely excited to be a part of the fairy/fantasy world, as we both love making and wearing costumes and are inspired by others who do so.
What inspires you currently?
Currently we are inspired by nature. We’re thinking of creating a seasonal or elemental flower crown line. We are also inspired by color, seasons, each other, and anything shiny.
We really love sharing our creativity with others and it doesn’t take much to inspire us. When we get together, whether ‘working’ or just hanging out, we seem to always be making something.
Tell us who or what is your favorite fairy character in literature, film or folklore?
It has to be the Krampus. While not a fairy, it is definitely folklore. It punishes bad children and is fueled by alcohol, what fun! We like the scary, horned, goat-like image of the Krampus and that it instills fear in people. Halloween if our favorite holiday and a similar tradition of scaring people (who deserve it) around Christmas is an added bonus!
What is your work process like?
We really enjoy what we do. We know that our customers appreciate and understand the love and creativity that each item requires. We love seeing the finished product on someone completing their “look” or costume.
Each of our work areas is so limited that we create one product at a time. We enjoy spending time together and feeding off of each other’s creative energy. Seeing the excitement generated by our products is the best part for us. Making dreadlocks for ten hours straight can be exhausting, but it is rewarding to have other people love them as much as we do.
We love our woolie dreadlocks so much! They are extremely lightweight, soft, and more closely resemble real dreadlocks, as they are lumpy (not stick straight like synthetic hair dreads). I (Bethany) have real dreads and I prefer wearing wool dreadlocks in conjunction with my real dreads. I also love making the wool dreads — I start with raw alpaca and sheep wool, and sometimes combine it with silk.
To felt the wool fibers into dreads, we use extremely hot water (crockpot on high=Ouch!), soap (regular old ‘blue’ Dawn), and friction (repeatedly rolling it on a towel). The process is simple, but time consuming. The wool has to be felted enough that there is no visible seam and also so that it has a nice density to it. Once the dreads are made, they are air-dried then assembled into falls with matching mates or combined with ribbons, trims, and crinoline tubing for extra excitement.
Our synthetic fiber dreadlocks are made from acrylic braid hair and although they have the ‘hair-like’ appearance to resembling real dreadlocks, they are much heavier and many people dislike this about them. But they are a lot of fun as we make a variety of different synthetic dreadlocks such as solid, 2-tone, and candycane twists. And the number of colors used is infinite! We haven’t had a request for a rainbow dread fall, but with all of those colors, it would be fun to make!
Stacia is the pro at making synthetic dreads. The acrylic hair (Kanekalon) can be found at many beauty supply stores and definitely online. It is cheap! However, these bad boys take SOOOO much longer to create than the wool dreadlocks, which is why they cost more. To make our synthetic hair dreads, first the hair packets need to be separated into dread widths (however fat we want the dreads to be). We usually use at least 4 packs of Kanekalon hair per fall. After separating the hair, each ‘dread’ needs to be severely backcombed (think 80’s hair) to achieve a giant fuzzball (resembling Fizzgig in the Dark Crystal) and then smoothed down and twisted by hand (think: evil genius rubbing his hands together…and add a dread in there). Then, each dread is steamed using an industrial apparel steamer. The steam melts the plastic hair, thus keeping it in a dread shape. That process repeated 25 times, and then we have a synthetic dread fall!
Tell us where we can find your fairy/fantasy work?
Please visit us at our website for all our upcoming events. We do like to attend as many events as possible with a large selection of our creations. We are easily found on Facebook to see photos of custom pieces that can be made to your unique specifications.
What is coming up for you and your creations?
Events: We were just at FaerieCon West in Seattle, and this summer we’ll be hitting FaerieWorlds in Eugene, OR this summer too. It is our favorite event because it has camping, music, dancing, crafts, costumes, speakers.
Product: we now have 3 different Woolie Dread Fall variations: Woolie Dread Fall (wool dreads only), Woolie Dread ELF Fall (wool dreads, ribbons, and trims), Cyber Woolie Dread ELF Fall (wool dreads, ribbons, trims, and crinoline tubing) and will be adding a variety of lengths as well!
Thank you, Bethany and Stacia!
Many people make great contributions to the Fantastic community every day. We couldn’t possibly highlight everyone, but if you know an individual (or group) who is doing something Fantastic, please let us know!