I love supporting other handmade businesses, especially if their products are guaranteed to make me feel totally glamorous– and The Tribal Temptress is one such small business. I’d like you to meet my friend Tania Hudson, the mastermind behind the beautiful bindis and headresses. While Tania makes adornments for dancers, many of her pieces, like her flower hair sticks and “hair bindis” can work with every day outfits. I wear mine every chance I get, and if I’m feeling blue, wearing one of Tania’s pieces always puts me in a good mood, even if I’m not performing. I asked her a few questions about how she started her business and what inspires her.
What inspired you to begin making adornments for tribal dancers?
I’m a total costuming geek! When I got into tribal belly dance, I wanted to make sure I looked the part but it was so difficult to find great costuming accessories at an affordable price, so I started to make my own. I started to make bindis, hair flowers, headdresses and larger costume items such as bellydance bras and belts. People started taking notice, liked what I’d made and it wasn’t such a big leap then to start making some accessories to sell at a local hafla. It just kinda grew from there.
What are your favourite materials?
Flowers are a big part of my designs, but I’m a total magpie too. I get ensnared by the sparkly stuff! I love vintage costume jewellery, especially old diamante which has an elegant lustre all of its own. I love Kuchi jewellery and costume adornments, strings of beads, African and Tibetan jewellery and crystals – oh how I love crystals! If I ever get chance, I’d love to visit the Swarovski factory and be surrounded by all that sparkliness!
You’ve said in the past that everything you make has an owner– and at your stall you always give dancers a lot of personal attention and styling advice. Do your customers and the dance community influence your work?
Very much so. I’ve made several pieces with certain dancers’ face shapes and hairstyles in mind, unbeknown to them of course, and then they’ve actually come along and bought them! It’s a bit uncanny really, but every piece really does have an owner. Sometimes several different people come along and try on the same headdress and it might look good on them all but somehow it just isn’t quite right, then all of a sudden the right person comes along and I know that that headdress is absolutely right for that person. It looks part of that person somehow, sounds bizarre I know, but it’s true! I won’t let anyone buy a headdress if it doesn’t suit them and always try to steer them to the most suitable headdress for their face shape. I want each dancer to wear my creations and feel like a star. When I’m doing a custom order for someone, I spend some time looking at their photos to get a feel for their dance personality and their face shape so that I can make them just the right headdress. It can be tricky when you’ve never met the person, but as far as I know, I’ve not got it wrong yet.
As a dancer yourself, what music and dance disciplines inform what you make?
I’m a Goth girl at heart, old skool Goth and gothic rock floats my boat but I have other quite eclectic tastes in music – I love world music, classical, folk, bollywood… everything except jazz!. As far as dancing is concerned, my first love is tribal fusion but I also love the ATS costume styling. The first bellydance performance I saw was a tribal fusion dancer dancing with Daughters of Gaia at the Goddess Conference in Glastonbury a few years ago. I have no idea who she was, but I was totally blown away by the style of dancing and the costuming. I came home, went on Youtube and discovered Rachel Brice, Zoe Jakes, Sharon Kihara, Mardi Love and a whole host of other fabulous dancers. That’s it, I was hooked. They’ve been my inspiration for dance and costuming ever since. And by the way, if you’re reading this blog and you’re that dancer in Glastonbury, it would be lovely to know who you are!
Are there any new materials or techniques you will be rolling out in the near future? What temptations can we look forward to?
I’m never too sure about revealing what’s likely to be coming up as I tend to change my mind like the weather! I might start to make a design I have in mind and then get sidetracked into a whole new design. I can say that I’m working on a couple of headdresses that will be very special indeed, using Victorian fabrics, Art Deco pieces and, ooo, anything else that takes my fancy. And there’ll be more decorated bras and belts coming along this year too. Hopefully I’ll also get time to make some costuming for myself – a rare treat!
Where can people find your work online?
I’m on Facebook, that’s where I sell most of my work. I’ve got an Etsy shop and a new website – it’s a bit of a work in progress at the moment but once I figure it out properly, it will be a place to showcase my work, especially my commissioned pieces.
I also make eclectic tribal inspired jewellery using vintage and upcycled costume jewellery under the name Magpie Moon: