Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Getting Back on the Horse (or should that be Jackalope?)

After a very prickly period working on my Jackalope act (see the previous post to see how prickly!) I have dusted myself off and got back on the horse and things seem to be progressing forward, finally.

The big problems I had with this act were the antlers and the wig(s). In the antler situation I did not have the heart in the end to request a refund from the chap who made them – he obviously tried his best. So I went to my sister’s and had a chat with her other half who has a degree in product design. I told him about the prop maker’s idea of moulding some sort of cap to go under the wig which the antlers could be bolted onto. He immediately started Googling and came up with this:

It’s called Polymorph and if I remember my secondary school DT classes then it’s a low temperature thermoplastic plastic. Meaning it can be moulded when you heat it up in hot water.
The original plan was to make the cap out of this and mould it around my head (!). However, my sister came up with an even smarter idea – to mould a new pair of antlers out of the Polymorph. She kindly went away and knocked me up a small prototype and I was pleasantly surprised. The Polymorph is strong and durable with a tiny bit of flexibility so it isn’t brittle (although it moulds to itself very easily so if an antler did break it would only need heating up a little to repair). It is also unfeasibly light. Sis brought the antler over wrapped in bubble wrap and when she handed it to me I thought she had had a brainstorm and forgot to put the antler inside the wrap! That’s how light it was.

So Sis is now beavering away with her ‘House of Emerald’ project to produce me antlers version 2 (in reality it’s actually version 5, I think, if you count the attempts I made myself with wire and papier mache etc some months ago) and I am optimistic about the results. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

On the wig front there have been mixed results. The woman who I paid to send me the wigs has still not responded to my emails or sent out the wigs so I requested a refund. As I am sure you are not surprised to hear, I have not received that refund and the wigs still have not been sent. At the end of my tether with the whole thing, I decided to open a dispute with Paypal to reclaim my money. Paypal said that because more that 45 days had passed they wouldn’t help me – I was on my own. This was frustrating. For an international service when the seller is a third party middle man between you and another company 45 days is not always going to be long enough to know there is a problem. So I contacted Barclays to ask them to do a Visa Chargeback. They were quite happy to help me until they found out I had paid via Paypal, at which point they said it was not their problem and that Paypal should help me (ha!) but not until they had passed me around and kept me on hold for 25 minutes. I spoke to Trading Standards who said that it was out of their jurisdiction as the site is US based and finally I contacted the Better Business Bureau which is, apparently, the American equivalent of Trading Standards. They are now chasing her up but they may have no luck as one of the posters on the forum who recommended the wig lady told me that since having the baby she has moved and not given a forwarding business address!

So I am a bit stuck with these wigs – people on the forum keep assuring me that she will get round to sending the wigs/refunding me eventually but either way I would never use this seller again. Slow delivery I can just about deal with but neglecting to respond to any correspondence just shows an absolute lack of regard for the customer and makes me fuming!

On a more positive note though, this whole debacle meant I ended up getting the wigs elsewhere and I have been delighted with the product and the service. Even though I had found a couple of US based sites that sold the same wig and would ship to the UK, I decided not to go with them as time has been ticking on while this woman has fannied around. I thought a UK site might speed up the process so I went with . I was aware of Annabelle’s from Ministry of Burlesque forum as Claire who runs the site is a poster on MoB so I thought I would give them a try. If nothing else I knew she would be contactable if anything went wrong! I ended up calling the shop as I had a few questions before I bought and I ended up having a lovely chat with Claire and bought two wigs and some weft extensions (the idea being I could use the wefts if I needed to bulk out the wig and I also had a spare that I could use if the original went wrong!). I had them sent to my day job address and, after ordering on Friday, when I came in yesterday they had arrived (I think they came on Monday while I was off).

The wigs are gorgeous quality, they feel so silky and full – I may not even need the extra wefts (though it’s good to have them just in case). So last night I cracked on with styling one for my Jackalope. I have a source photograph of what I want it to look like and a few basic tips I have picked up from trawling Google and but apart from that I’m on my own. I have wanted to have a go at wig styling for so long now but when I sat with my wig pinned to the stand and my tail comb in hand I have to admit I felt a certain amount of trepidation. It is possible I could be in the process of ruining a perfectly good wig here! On the other hand; nothing ventured, nothing gained, and since I don’t have the opportunity to go on a wig styling course self-taught will have to be the order of the day. The style I have picked for the wig is not something that involves a great deal of advanced technique and as it is a messy style there is plenty of room for mistakes – pinpoint accuracy is not paramount. However, I have been taking it slowly, working on the wig patiently and in very small sections. So far it is taking shape in roughly the way I want it to but I know that the parts at the front on the brow and the sides will be the hardest bit and also the most visible (I started at the bottom-back so that any mistakes I made whilst finding my stroke would be hidden under the rest of the wig!).

So wish me luck with the wig styling! I am taking pictures as I go and I will post them all into the blog with some step by step notes once the piece is finished. I found wig styling tutorials and advice a little thin on the ground so I want to share my experiences and let people know what worked for me and what didn’t. Also, if anyone has any wig styling advice they would like to share with me I will be all ears!

‘Til next time


  1. Just realised my links don't work in this post. Not sure what I did wrong. Does anyone know? x

  2. I can't wait to see your Jackalope costume!

    I usually use the html to post links in my blog - the first part of this post should tell you how to write them :) xxx

  3. Thanks hun - on both counts! xxx