Hear about the leatherwork artistry of Astral Chrysalis Design. Inspiration often comes from the customers as they try on items in different ways than expected. Hats, skirts, belts, jewelry, all of the items are hand made and one of a kind. With the piecework, embedded gems stones and filligree lacework, the styles are unique and layered.
Astral Chrysalis Designs at OCF
Transcript by Jade Rainsong
(Karen) All right, so we just walked into a really, really amazing booth. We’re over here near Chela Mela meadow, and what I’m seeing is some incredible leather, all kinds of beautiful leather work and silk. We’ve got head dresses, gauntlet. Skirts, all kinds of amazing stuff. So let’s, let’s talk to the owners here, the booth, and find out more about this. Can you tell us who you are and about your products?
(Arelius) Uh, my name is Arelius and yeah, we create high end leathercraft. We’ve been doing it for about seven years.
(Azlane) I’m Azlane Sky and our company is Astral Chrysalis Designs. We started out in 2010 when we met at Faerieworlds Festival in Eugene and fell in love. And here we are seven years later creating art. And also it’s our loved child. So we have a lot of fun.
(Karen) It’s beautiful. So tell me about some of the products you have and maybe some of the creative ideas that inspired you to come up with these designs.
(Arelius) Well, I’m glad you asked that. Cause we, we like creating things based on a lot of you know, nature inspires us a lot, but we also like creating based on interaction. You know, we get a lot of feedback from people, or people will try on something in a way that we didn’t imagine they’d try it on. And, after enough time, I’d be like, well, maybe that would make a good hat. I don’t know why you keep putting it on your head and then we’ll, we’ll really be like, to like, to flow with things and really create that way and interact. Yeah.
(Azlane) And he’s specifically referring to, um, our mini fable hat. He had originally made a, a vege tan based leather gorget, which is a medieval piece of armor that goes around your neck and people kept picking it up. Sticking it on their head. And it was just so funny. It took a dozen times. I’ve seen this before. He’s, the light bulb went off and oh, if I added a top and gave it a brim, we would have a little hat. And then from there I blew up the little hat into this huge, beautiful, whimsical, you know, full size hat, which is like nothing you’ve ever seen because it came from inspiration of customers, sewn design.
(Karen) And so you pointed over here at one of these beautiful creations. It’s purple and blue and kind of shiny and metallic. Different, um, cut out pieces and different shapes around it. And tell us about what’s on the front of that.
(Azlane) So this is a, um, it’s made of the vege tan leather. So it’s the undyed raw leather that we have cut and engraved, hand-sewn wet shaped, and it has a, uh, amethyst pyramid embedded in the front. And then the cut outs are the filigree, which make the hat very breathable. It’s airbrushed and stenciled and feathered. And… Has a silk flower that our good friend, Noel makes for our company. We do, um, we work with Noel Firebird Fairy Coture who makes the hand diaper and edge silks that you see featured on our designs. Yeah. Beautiful….Then everything is handcrafted and one of a kind in our booth.
(Emma) How long does it take you to make, say, like a skirt or something like that?
(Azlane) The Skirts are definitely one of our most complicated designs. It’s that most, it’s a Catholic item in the booth. There $750. Uh, so Noel gets us the silks. And then I go through about 25 bins of leather that’s been sorted by color from all seven years of our work. And I find the pieces that will fit all the different piece work elements. It takes about two and a half to three hours just to even lay out the color scheme. Um, and then piecing it all together. It’s another three to four hours of sewing and then all the hardware, I mean, we do it all from start to finish, so it’s a good 12 hours worth of work for one skirt.
(Karen) It’s really a work of art, just gorgeous. There’s so many layers and the buckles in the front and the Lacework around the top.
(Azlane) Yeah. And there’s no two that are alike. And we do a lot of custom work as a result. And actually that is really where our business has been going for a long time. Now, we are known for our custom designs. We do custom stuff so much at the time. People love being able to get it exactly the way they want it and the colors that they desire.
(Karen) And so how long have you been having a booth here at Country Fair?
(Azlane) This is our first year. We applied. Thank you. We applied once. Three years ago and didn’t get in. I think I screwed up the application. It was something happened. And then last year we just got too busy and I missed the whole boat. And then this year I tried again and we were really blessed to, to make it in.
(Karen) So do you do other festivals with this line?
(Azlane) Oh yeah. We’ve been vending and traveling since 2011 all over the West coast. I mean, we do, we cross, our stuff crosses a lot of genres. We go into Elvin fairy Coture like places like Faerieworlds. Steam punkers love our stuff. Even though there isn’t a single gear on any of our art, and it really, in my mind is not steam punk, but a lot of people see it as steam punk and they incorporate that. We cross into Renaissance fairs, we do electronic music festivals. Our stuff’s all over Burning Man out on the Playa. We have a lot of burners, burners. I mean, we really somehow have come up with enough designs that are diverse enough that they cross.
(Karen) And so I see you have some smaller items too, like some leather bracelets. I’m not sure what you would call them. Cuffs. Yeah. And so you have some lower-end items and then all the way up to your highest end items, which would be like the hats with the skirts or….
(Arelius) The hats are sort of mid range. The skirts are the collaboration that we do, um, between the woman who makes the silks and ourselves, her businesses, Firebird Fairy coture. And we’re Astral Chrysalis, so we create a sub brand called Astral Firebird. And the skirts and the vests, they marry the silks and the leather, and it’s really a nice combination. Those are tend to be the higher end items.
(Azlane) But they are our designs, they belong to our company that we just out of respect for our close friendship with her, decided to do that. So we’re, we’re really honored. But yeah, we have some, we have stuff as low as $25 all the way up to the highest end prices. Probably our average, I would say, is between around $300 – $350 most of our hats are between $250 and $350. We have consistent, consistent sales and we have a lot of repeat customers. We’ve had our stuff featured in TV shows and in, in national theater productions, and it’s been shipped to Germany and featured by international models. I mean, we’ve, we’ve had it all go all over the world and it’s just, it’s, it’s steady. It’s growing. And we have some, we have some seeds planted in Hollywood right now to be working on a big project soon.
(Karen) Exciting. Ah, gotta keep that under wraps.
(Arelius) And one of the things that we do to really help people out when they love our stuff is, you know, we do offer, you know, we only asked for half down if somebody wants to custom order an item or we break up the payments in three months because we do have a lot of clientele that come to us and they really love what we do and we want everyone to have access. We don’t want it to just be, you know, high end wealth that buys our stuff. We want everyone to be able to buy art because honestly, buying art is what supports the economy. So important. I think it is undervalued in our culture, and I think it’s really great when we can come to places like OCF and you see so much art everywhere.
(Azlane) And we’re rare and that this is an entire side job. Our hobby, this is our full time gig. We’re raising three teenagers and one of the most expensive parts of California on art. We can’t leave. We can’t leave until they’re they 18 yeah. You know, it’s, it’s been interesting. We, we, every year we’re like, well, not even every year, every month we’re like, how are we going to get through the next month to keep trucking? But we manage. We really do. We are, and we’re really blessed to have so much loyalty out there. People are really, you know, who know us, really honor our art and come back for more.
(Karen) It sounds like you have a real commitment to what you do and a real passion.
(Azlane) We love what we do. It’s our love child.
(Arelius) It’s really neat because this business actually marries every skill I’ve ever had. So as an artist and a designer, and a photographer and a film maker and I just, it’s all knitted together. And when I look at, you know, the trudge of working in normal everyday nine to five, I’ve done it and it just drains me. And even though there are days when I don’t want to sit down on my sewing machine and put a hat together, I can still say to myself, this is better.
(Karen) Certainly better than the grind. The nine to five. Tell me what Fair is like for you.
(Azlane) Oh, I’ve always wanted to come to Oregon Country Fair. Even before I knew a Arelius and we had this business, I’ve always wanted to check it out and never had a chance.
(Karen) So this, this is your first Fair entirely?
(Azlane) So I always wanted to be here, so it’s exciting to be here and also to be here as an artist, sharing my art. And the thing I love about fair is the history. 1969… like the history of the land, the people, it’s so… It’s so cool. There’s a cohesiveness here and a community that I haven’t really seen elsewhere, and I think a lot of the festivals that we go into are trying to, trying to figure out how to access what you have created here. And I don’t see anyone doing it as well as you’re doing it. It’s, it’s… beautiful. The synergy, it’s very inspiring. Like we go into festivals like Lightning in a Bottle and Enchanted Forest and Lucidity and all these festivals have, you know, there’s some really great people and great intentions and, and I think it’s very hard to bring it all together into, in a way that the art, the music, the participant, it all works together to support the whole. You know, there’s a lot of disconnect. Yeah. You know, I just, I feel like everyone here, it really cares about each other and there has not been a single person who’s been rude or disrespectful or mean or, I mean, I haven’t, like there are some places when you’ll show up to load in and people are just not in the best space. And this space has been so positive. People have been really present and loving. And I love that about it, and you can show it spreads. It’s everywhere. You can feel it here.
(Karen) And we have the parade coming by!!….right at the end of what we’re saying.