Interview with Kirstie Williams of CuriousCephalopods

Copyright Kirstie Williams, used with permission
Copyright Kirstie Williams, used with permission

I may have been tempting fate by getting in touch with someone who uses the word Cephalopod in their company name (I already spelled it wrong just then – thank you spell checker). But I have an affection for Octopuses, so when I saw some of the work coming from CuriousCephalopod (did it again) I had to get in touch and find out more about these wonderful pieces of art.

They can only really be described as art because of the creativity and attention to detail that goes into each one – not to mention the work – means they’re more than just a hobby.

Copyright Kirstie Williams, used with permission
Copyright Kirstie Williams, used with permission

The creator of the Octopus hairpieces is Kirstie Williams. She’s a self proclaimed “geeky girl” who lives in Perth, Australia with her two cats Bingley and Tristan. She spends her time involved in art based past-times such as drawing, photography and painting. She expanded that into plush sewing and wig styling and only recently began selling her wares on Etsy.
Back in 2009 I discovered the world of cosplay and putting together props, costumes and wigs. I’m still rubbish at sewing costumes but I got pretty decent at styling wigs. In fact other local cosplayers would pay me to style their wigs. From there I started experimenting with what could be done with synthetic hair (usually to achieve something a customer wanted) and eventually came up with my own Octopus hairpiece.”

Once she’d made a hairpiece, she got a lot of interest from people with several people saying they’d like to own one for themselves. Realising that her original hairpiece was too uncomfortable and heavy for sale, she developed smaller versions in the shape of the fascinators.

Copyright Kirstie Williams, used with permission
Copyright Kirstie Williams, used with permission

Her interest is clearly in Octopuses and the ocean, but I wondered why that source of inspiration.
I’ve always been inspired by the ocean and the things that live in it. It’s incredibly interesting! One image that stuck though was the old drawings of sea monsters and Krakens attacking sailing ships. In my mind the sense of danger, adventure and exploration portrayed in those old pictures was shared by the steampunk culture (only their ships tended to sail the skies more than the oceans). When a steampunk ball was announced in my city I knew I wouldn’t be able to sew a very interesting outfit so I decided to put my skills into my wig.”

Kirstie currently works from home and uses her dining table as her workshop. However, she is currently moving home and has plans for a dedicated craft room. From there she hopes to be able to create more elaborate fascinators.

Copyright Kirstie Williams, used with permission
Copyright Kirstie Williams, used with permission

I was interested in finding out how Kirstie worked. What was her creative process and it seems it all starts with drawing, just like her interest in cosplay and CuriousCephalopods did.
Usually I start with doodling an idea (it can be inspired by a show or even just a colour. I mean, those sea-green curls were just begging to be made into an ocean-themed wig!). I’ll draw it from various angles and with cross-sections so I can work out how it’ll all attach together. If in doubt how to make something work, I’ll search online for it. There are so many tutorials out there on YouTube! Anyone can learn! Then I’ll go searching for a suitable base wig and all the other materials I’ll need to construct it and get to work.”

The colours used in the wigs and fascinators are gorgeous and I was curious (as a Cephalopod) to know how the colours are researched. Are they real Octopus colours?
Most of them are completely made up or simply what the client wants. If I’m designing one myself I’ll go with stand-out colours with complimentary spots. The only ones based on real colour combinations are the blue-ringed octopuses. Not just because they’re beautiful yet deadly, but because they’re native to where I live.”

Copyright Kirstie Williams, used with permission
Copyright Kirstie Williams, used with permission

That would explain the white wedding version on the Deviant Art page. Although not being an Octopus Connoisseur (are there any?) I can’t fully guarantee the lack of existence of a pure white Octopus.

Currently Kirstie only sells from home. CuriousCephalopods is a new company and her stock levels aren’t at the levels she would need in order to attend events where she could trade. Most of her clients are from the UK and USA. In the future she hopes to would love to see one of her hairpieces worn by Lady Gaga.
If anyone would rock an Octopus on their head it’d be her, right? Next time she’s touring I’ll try sending her one.”

She’s not involved in any particular sub-culture although she feels a particular magnetism to steampunk given our affection for Octopuses. However, she wants everyone to enjoy her hairpieces and thinks that they’ll appeal to anyone looking for something that little bit different.

Copyright Kirstie Williams, used with permission
Copyright Kirstie Williams, used with permission

What kind of reaction can people expect while wearing one of Kirstie’s hairpieces?
Usually a lot of stares or just “Wow”. When I went to a steampunk ball in my outfit I got some very strange looks while getting out of the taxi! But everyone who’s commented has always been complimentary.”

You can visit Kirstie’s Etsy shop and get one of these splendid hairpieces via the link here: CuriousCephalopod Etsy page

There’s also more artwork and examples on her DeviantArt page here: Kirstie Williams DeviantArt page

Copyright Kirstie Williams, used with permission
Copyright Kirstie Williams, used with permission
Copyright Kirstie Williams, used with permission
Copyright Kirstie Williams, used with permission
Copyright Kirstie Williams, used with permission
Copyright Kirstie Williams, used with permission

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