Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cute. Recycled. Edgy. Classic.

When I describe my taste and style I call it Sweet and Twisted. When I make a flower hair clip it isn't enough to have a plain flower, no, not at all. I need a spider on a petal or an eyeball for the center. I like things that are creepy and cute; something that will stand out and make a statement. One accessory that is wildly understated, and rarely seen outside of the steampunk world and movie adaptations of Jane Austin novels, is the top hat.  Luckily the burlesque scene and goth culture are making this accessory a fashion do without making its way into mainstream fashion where the top hat would probably become played out and go to die for the next twenty years. That sounds a bit extreme, I know, but I have two words for you: bell bottoms! I recently was introduced to a girl from Texas who is helping bring top hats to the next level. Her hats are amazing to say the least. They are cute, recycled, edgy, and classic. So pull up a chair and meet the lady behind the shop Muerto Marie.

My name is Rowan Marie. I am 18-years-old and I live in central Texas. My mother passed away four years ago and now I bike over to my father's house once a week to visit him, help him make marmalade, etc. I've been home schooled my whole life, I've never even been in a school other than when we rented a room in a middle school for girl scout meetings. I currently work for a western clothes designer, Patricia Wolf as a painter, milliner, and seamstress. Check out her Website.

In my free time, I go on bike rides around town with my boyfriend, bake cookies, play the bass guitar and work on personal art projects (stuff I make for me, rather than my business) like knitting an octopus hat, painting, sewing a leather vagina purse, whatever strikes my fancy.

1. What sorts of items do you make and sell in your shop?

I make hats, masks and hair clips. I do my best to make everything out of recycled materials.

2. How did you get started in making hats?

Three years ago, I made my first hat on a whim as a gift for my boyfriend for Christmas. A year after that, I thought up a "Mad Hatter" persona and fell in love with the idea of being a recycled milliner.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from?

When I was four years old, a woman handed me a glass drop that she had painted a cat eye onto the back of. That gave me the idea of how to make the eyes that I attach to my hats and hair clips. The first hat I made was a top hat with elephants painted on it, but I think the inspiration still came from the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland.

4. What sort of demographic do you think you attract and why?

Women ages 9 to 40 usually. I attract members of the burner community as well (Burning Man, Burning Flipside, etc). I think the burners like my stuff because top hats are common among the community, and the items being dark/creepy isn't a turn off for them, generally speaking.

5. In the past year and a half I have fallen in love with the burlesque scene and these girls wear some great head and hair pieces. Have you ever considered doing more work with mini hats and fascinators that would be more geared towards people that love and are involved in burlesque?

I would absolutely love gearing more items toward the burlesque scene. I am also a huge burlesque fan.

6. I noticed that a lot of your items are made from materials that you have chosen to recycle to make something new. What made you decide to reuse old items to make something new? Do you think this attracts more people to your items versus something you could find at a local retailer?

Being environmentally responsible is very important to me. I hate throwing things into landfills, so instead I do my best to reuse materials. Many items I use I purchased from thrift stores, such as the fake flowers, ribbons, and t-shirt material. Another part of my reason to reuse materials is that I want to put my money towards non-outsourced companies as much as I can. I use feathers from friend's pet birds that were naturally shed and collected cruelty free. I choose this for my own happiness. I think that it does not benefit me when it comes to marketing/sales.

7. If you were asked to make a custom hat for a lady, specifically for Halloween and were given a $100 budget for supplies, what would that hat look like?

I have thought about making a top hat that is wrinkled and covered in painted eyes. I would put insulation on the inside of the hat, install a container to hold dry ice with a redundant reservoir beneath it to catch any liquid that may spill, and make the lid of the hat open able so the dry ice can be replaced. I'd leave vents around the top of the hat and near the eyes for the fog to escape. I would also install a pale blue light inside of the hat so the light would leak out from the vents as well.

8. What is your favorite part about Halloween and why?

I've loved Halloween all my life and have never stopped loving it.
For one, I adore pumpkins. I love the way they look, the way they smell, and I love carving them. Last year, I carved an anatomical heart into my pumpkin. I don't enjoy being scared, but I enjoy scaring. My mother and I used to go out and decorate the house every year and I loved going out with friends trick-or-treating. I always wore homemade costumes, never store bought. In 2010 and 2011 I volunteered 150+ hours each year to a non-profit haunted house called Scare for a Cure, we made all of our own props, blood, slime and squibs (things that launch guts at the guests from an actor's chest).

9. Who is your most favorite horror movie villain of all time and why?

Frank-N-Furter. The first time I saw Rocky Horror I was 3, I know all the lyrics and I was in a production of it recently. I played Janet Weiss.

10. And since you can't have evil without good, who is your all time favorite hero/heroine from a horror movie and why?

Hmm. I'm almost always rooting for the bad guy, but I think that Tallahassee from Zombieland is my favorite hero. Why? Because he was so fixated on killing zombies in the supermarket that he walked right past a Twinkie, the thing he came in the building to look for.

If you would like to learn more about Rowan Marie and her work please check out Her Facebook Page, Her Website, and Her Tumblr Page

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