Get special DesignerCon creations and pricing on Cyber Monday only December 2, 2019 00:00

Lumecluster at Designercon

Several new figures and jewelry designs were revealed at DesignerCon last month. Some asked if I was going to sell them online and I decided to offer DesignerCon pricing today (12/2/19 12:00AM EST) on Cyber Monday ONLY (shipping not included).

Special DesignerCon Item pricing ranges from $15 -$100.

After Cyber Monday, the special DesignerCon pricing will no longer be available and the price will increase.

In a recent blog post, I announced that I partnered with Fiona Ng Designs to help me produce and ship small hand sculpted and resin cast sculptures since that’s her specialty. She is helping me translate many of my large designs into a unique variety of smaller creations.

The hand sculpted and resin cast sculptures and jewelry can be found on Fiona Ng Designs while the metal jewelry pieces are found on the Lumecluster Shop.

<3 Melissa

Lumecluster Sovereign Armor Mini
Lumecluster Sovereign Armor Mini

Lumecluster Dreamer Mask Breakthrough mini
Lumecluster Dreamer Mask Breakthrough Mini

Lumecluster Dreamer Pendant
Lumecluster Dreamer Pendant

Lumecluster Resilience Pendant
Lumecluster Resilience Pendant

Lumecluster Phoenix Claw Rings
Lumecluster Phoenix Claw Rings

Modular Phoenix Arm Harness prototype closeup, stress testing & DesignerCon sneak peek! October 28, 2019 15:00

Lumecluster Phoenix Gauntlets arm harness

Subscribers are first to hear about new designs, specials and limited pre-order slots. Armor designs are limited and special order only. Sign up for the free newsletter.

What’s covered in this blog post:

  • Arm harness demonstration video with Adam Savage on Tested at NYCC
  • Armor research and crediting your sources
  • 2018 versus 2019 arm harness comparisons
  • Modular styling options (still a WIP)
  • 3D printing the prototype (and mishaps)
  • NYCC stress testing
  • What else is new? DesignerCon sneak peek! (November 22-24)
  • ICYMI: Oculus and Tested VR App featuring eight makers including me!

I know some of you may remember when I unveiled my first attempt at making an arm harness at NYCC 2018, but I couldn’t just stop there! So, this year, I went in with my first modular Phoenix arm harness prototype.

Lumecluster Phoenix Gauntlets arm harness
The outfit was supposed to have a mini smoke machine too but NYCC didn’t allow it… My latest modular Phoenix Arm Harness prototype with my Dreamer Mask: Breakthrough.

Lumecluster Dreamer Mask Breakthrough
You may or may not have noticed but the mask I’m wearing is a favorite mask design of mine called Dreamer Mask: Breakthrough. It’s also the mask you see on my Lumecluster social media profiles.

NYCC is also a good chance to stress test my early prototypes and to work out all the major issues. You learn a lot about your design’s durability when you put them through massive and tightly packed crowds that have no mercy haha…

While this year’s latest prototype still needs a lot of work, I’m proud to see my improvements. Last year, I was focused on trying to incorporate some of my favorite 15th and 16th century elements and just making it look good enough…but I didn’t get to put much thought into anything beyond how it looked since I did it last minute.

Lumecluster Phoenix Gauntlets arm harness
Photos by Norman Chan of Tested. I am wearing my latest modular Phoenix Arm Harness prototype with my Dreamer Mask: Breakthrough.

This year, I wanted to actually experiment with some modularity or see if I could add some fashionable interpretations to it like I did with my modular Phoenix Gauntlets. So, we did just that by showing a little demonstration at NYCC with Adam Savage on Tested!

I’m still reeling from the first silent pre-order (only email subscribers are notified) and it was thrilling to know so many people were just as interested as me in the possibilities for modular armor. Still hard at work on all those orders.

You’ll get to see a clearer style breakdown (it’s still a work-in-progress) later on in the article!

So, what makes this modular Phoenix Arm Harness prototype different from last year? Let’s start with some thoughts on research and references first.

Lumecluster Phoenix Gauntlets arm harness

While I’m flattered to know so many people think I’m some kind of armor genius, I want to remind everyone that I use a TON of references and worked with educators who opened my eyes to the world of armor. I’ve learned so much and still have a very long way to go! I’m a big fan of crediting and sharing my research and inspirations, which I encourage others to do as well.

I also get countless emails and messages everyday asking about how I designed or assembled my armor. I always list my research and resources in my FAQ and the ones below will be added as well. I have to say this pretty often but I am not a DIY site and I am not a cosplayer. All my time and energy is spent designing and producing my own artwork for clients, but I do my best to share who I have learned from when it comes to armor design, especially when they can explain it better than me.

So, I’d like to start by talking about how amazing armorer Robert MacPherson is and specifically highlight his St. Florian project. Since probably before 2014, he has been documenting AND sharing every little detail behind a 15th century gothic armor reproduction on a massive thread on the Armour Archive. You really have to see this thread to understand this huge undertaking.

When I was getting serious about understanding armor in 2016, arms and armor educator Ian LaSpina (aka Knyght Errant) introduced me to this thread and it was thanks to this that I was even able to start wrapping my head around the inner workings of armor functionality. Ian LaSpina also continues to by one of my favorite people to turn to when learning about armor (and you’ll almost always see one of his videos in my armor posts). Check out the educational medieval armor playlist below:

If you do learn and study from these resources, PLEASE properly credit and thank these amazing fellows. They are both gems for painstakingly sharing their knowledge online!

Museums are always a great way to study armor. Even if you can’t visit them, you can see tons of high resolution photographs online or even see armor in 3D viewers!

Like last year, I drew heavily from my favorite parts in 15th and 16th century arm harnesses.

I also drew inspiration from images of extant 15th Century German Gothic Armour, which you can see in more detail on

Armor references
[LEFT TWO IMAGES] 1484 – Vienna, Austria, Kunsthistorisches Museum, A 62, armour for Archduke Sigismund von Tirol, by Lorenz Helmschmid, AugsburgFront image courtesy of Blaz Berlec, AAF ID, back image from Flickr gallery of Roel Renmans, roelipilami. [RIGHT TWO IMAGES] Philadelphia, USA, Philadelphia Museum of Art, composite armour, parts are from fortress of Chalcis on the island of Euboea, Greece, known as the “Chalcis Hoard” Images courtesy of Todd Hoogerland, AAF ID

I had to completely scrap last year’s design and start all over again to make it consistent with my modular Phoenix Gauntlets. New pauldrons, fluted detail, and multiple looks (of course).

After my first rough prototype in 2018, I was very unhappy with my articulation. Granted, it was a last minute thing, but the design needed a lot of changes.

As I mentioned in the Tested video, real armor offers more space to fit a gambeson and/or maille under the plate armor. But since I’m trying to make armor that is also fashionable with modern day clothing, I wanted to make it much more close fitting, comfortable (don’t want any pinching, right?), and still offer a lot of arm mobility.

Getting fluting detail that I was satisfied with was also more challenging than I thought. I wanted to create fluting that had my own flair but still make sure it made sense. The last thing I wanted was to look like I just took some pretty part I liked and butcher it without understanding its purpose or function…and I hope I achieved that to some degree. I’m still learning! XD I guess you could say my fantasy armor designs are kind of an ode to gothic armor, so it always makes me happy knowing that someone might look at it and go, “Hey, I can see the gothic inspiration in there!”

Lumecluster Phoenix Gauntlets arm harness
Closeup of the vambrace, couter (elbow defence), and rerebrace detailing and fluting. I used small rhinestone rivets on the couter

Just like my modular Phoenix Gauntlets, I wanted an arm harness design that could swing between feeling very fantasy and somewhat historical while offering the freedom to pair with different fashion styles.

Lumecluster Phoenix Gauntlets arm harness
I took a picture next to a pair of gauntlets of Maximillian I South German (Augsburg), ca. 1490 at The Last Knight exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. OF COURSE I had to wear my modular Phoenix Gauntlet too! I scaled back on a lot of engraving and punchwork because I was concerned it could be too overwhelming and prevent people from being able to pair it with a wider range of fashion styles and costumes.

I still have to test it with a variety of outfit styles like I did with the Phoenix Gauntlet photoshoots…but one thing at a time, haha. For now, you can see various ways the Phoenix Arm Harness can be worn. Again, this is still a work-in-progress and may change in the next prototype!

Lumecluster Phoenix Gauntlets arm harness

In the image above, you can see the various ways the full arm harness can be divided to create multiple looks. The Phoenix Diadem is also used on the pauldron and upper cannon (bicep defense) to add some fantasy embellishment.

Lumecluster Phoenix Gauntlets arm harness

You can remove even more of the arm harness for a more simplified look with just the pauldrons and spaulders. Above, you can also see Phoenix Gauntlets tiers 2 and 3 being worn. Tier 2 Phoenix Gauntlets offer a somewhat toned down look.

Unfortunately, when it came to finally 3D printing the arm harness prototypes, one of my 3D printers suddenly had to break down.

I didn’t leave myself much time either. Thankfully, Sean Charlesworth of Tested was able to help me stay on schedule and managed to 3D print half of the arm harness components on his Form 2 in durable resin.

And then I 3D printed the remaining pieces on my Taz 6 in PCTPE. Shortly after that, I had to do some repairs on my Taz 6 too…haha. I was really pushing my luck and kicked myself for not working on everything earlier.

Lumecluster Phoenix Gauntlets arm harness
Raw 3D prints on the left and dyed 3D prints on the right.

I chose durable resin and PCTPE because it was close enough to the shore hardness of the material I might cast in IF I decide to make this available for pre-order in the future.

Once they were all printed and dyed, my sister (Fiona Ng aka Darthasterisk) and I spent a good amount of time sanding, filling, and sanding some more. After that, I primed it, airbrushed it gunmetal using Turbodork’s metallic colors and clear coated it with a highly abrasion resistant and flexible coating.

Then there was the stress testing at NYCC and mentally preparing myself for all the pushing, pulling, and shoving. So, how did everything hold up?

The image below is the version of the modular Phoenix Arm Harness that I wore on the first day of stress testing.

Bags snagged on my arm, people walked straight into me, and there was the endless shuffling/squeezing through the crowd. Fortunately, the arm harnesses held up really well and experienced no major scuffs or damage.

And I’m lucky everything was relatively unscathed because I also got to share my latest design explorations with Adam Savage in another video with Tested.

Looking back, it was nerve wracking because it was the first time my friend, Dellario Designs, and I actually tried out the demonstration together. She flew in from the west coast and we didn’t have any time to try it all out until the day of the interview.

Lumecluster Phoenix Gauntlets arm harness
[LEFT] My outfit at the start of the Tested interview. [RIGHT] My outfit after I removed several armor elements and added them onto Megan Dellario’s (Dellario Designs / Breakers Cosplay) custom Alita-inspired jacket design.

Lumecluster Phoenix Gauntlets arm harness
[LEFT] Megan Dellario (Dellario Designs aka Breakers Cosplay) is wearing her custom made Alita-inspired jacket. [RIGHT] We alter her jacket but adding the pauldrons and spaulders from my arm harness. Click on the image to see more of her work.

Good thing it was pretty smooth sailing! And while it all worked out like how I imagined and I survived all the stress testing, I came up with a number of ways on how I could improve the modularity and design. Let’s just say I want to redo most of it again hahaha.

Time to go back to the drawing board! But with all the Phoenix Gauntlet pre-orders I’m still working on it’ll probably be a while so, until then…

What else is new? I’ll be at DesignerCon in Anaheim, California from November 22-24! Booth #2713

This will be my very first DesignerCon and my first time with a booth, which I’ll be sharing with artist Bryan Lie of IMCMPLX. It’s a huge honor for me especially since I’ve admired his work for years!

My sister, Fiona Ng (aka Darthasterisk), will also be taking on a larger role in helping me create new artwork and products, mostly in the world of handmade art toys / figurines since that’s her specialty. Check out her artwork and the sneak peek below! I’m so lucky to have a sister and a business partner like her in my life. She helps me keep Lumecluster together and she’s the reason I’m still sane.

Lumecluster DesignerCon
Sneak peek of some of the little creations I’ll be bringing to DesignerCon.

If you can’t make it to Designercon, don’t worry! I’ll be writing up a full blog post about my creations. Some designs will remain convention exclusives but many will also move into the Lumecluster shop (minus the DesignerCon special though). As always, newsletter subscribers are the first to know about new designs! Subscribe to the free newsletter here.

<3 Melissa

P.S. In case you missed it, Tested and Adam Savage partnered with Oculus to launch the Tested VR App.

It features the VR stories of eight creators including me! You get to see my little office space in VR and learn about my creative process. Check it out here!

<3 Melissa

Ever struggle to get the attention your business deserves? (quick event announcement) May 7, 2014 14:00

Lumecluster Ilumination Mask
Ever wonder why some businesses get noticed over others? What are they doing right and what can you do?

Ever wish you could just ask them about how they got moving?

Well, you're in luck...

If you're in New York, building a creative business, seeking inspiration or simply curious about 3D printed design, then join me at a panel at the Wix Lounge with Shapeways (the world's largest online 3D Printing Community, Marketplace and Service).

In honor of National Small Business Week, which runs from May 12-19, Shapeways has put together a special event panel:

NYC Meetup: Online Tools to Build Your Maker Business
Monday, May 12th
6:00 - 8:30 PM
Wix Lounge 
(a free co-working and event space for creative professionals by

235 West 23rd Street | 8th floor | New York, NY 10011

(limited seating)

Lumecluster Sweet Dreams pendant
The event will host a panel discussion with me and two other top Shapeways designers and shop owners:

We'll discuss our adventures in the world of 3D printing, share experiences, swap advice, and discuss tools that have helped us build each of our distinct creative businesses.

Oh, and you can also check out and play with some of my most recent 3D printed art and designs. If you're itching to discover new ideas and possibilities, grab your seat and I'll see you there.

Talk again soon :)

<3 Melissa

Believing in yourself when you feel like a fraud. . .plus a special event announcement February 10, 2014 08:00

Lumecluster 3D Printshow

Ever feel like you don't belong or wonder if you're worthy of attention?

Have you questioned whether you deserved or have the right to do what you're doing?

Perhaps you've doubted the reality of when good things actually happen to you?

Or do you ever simply feel like a fraud?

It's no secret that feeling like a fraud, fake, loser, etc. has always been a problem of mine. In some ways, I've overcome these anxieties but they always strike in new forms.

A while ago, I wrote about my struggle with believing in myself as an artist and as an entrepreneur. I always wonder why I can't just believe.

I mean, I survived building a business, built this pretty decent blog along the way, brought art back into my life, and even got to experience my work in a gallery. I always carry out my ambitions and seek new levels even if I'm not entirely certain about my path.

In fact, four months ago (October 2013), I got tired of selling my illustrations in the form of posters, pillows, and the occasional iphone/ipad decal. So, I decided to learn 3D modeling and printing.
Lumecluster Dreamer Mask IlluminationI immediately fell deeply in love with 3D modeling and printing. The learning curve was steep, I crashed my computer more times than I can remember, I occasionally forgot to go to sleep, and I mostly stumbled around blindly.
And I loved every second of it. I knew this was my art's next evolutionary step, which brings me to...

THE AWESOME NEWS: I've been selected to showcase alongside some amazing 3D artists in the prestigious Adobe & Shapeways artist exhibition in the 3D Printshow in NYC from February 12-15 (more details below).

And you know what my first thought was when I was emailed about this news?

They must have made a mistake. Maybe this email was supposed to go to someone else. Maybe they're pitying me.

So, what did I do? Instead of joyfully replying back, I actually waited for this imaginary email that would inform me of their careless error. I waited for nearly three hours...but no amendment email came.

Talk about a serious case of impostor syndrome...

Even worse, I looked up all the other exhibition artists and found architects, designers, sculptors, senior modeler...10 years experience, 20 years experience...fine arts and architecture degrees here and there... My insecurity increasingly chiseled away my confidence.

They're the real artists. They're the pros. I don't belong there. They'll see me as a joke. A wannabe.

Maybe you think I'm ridiculous. Or perhaps you've felt this way too—the constant inadequacy and feeling like you're entering territory you don't belong in. As if at any moment, someone's going to discover you in all your shameful ineptitude.

I've never done anything remotely related to 3D modeling until four months ago and I don't have a fine arts degree (or MBA), and I don't have years or decades of experience in any industry.
Lumecluster Nightmare Mask
All I had/have is the desire to pursue something because I want to. Because I'm hungry to explore something amazing and new.

And that's when it hit me. I'm not drawing and 3D modeling to seek fame and accolades or whatever. I draw and 3D model because I think it's fucking awesome and I can't get enough of it. My work electrifies me when I'm truly focused on myself (and not comparing myself to others).

A good friend and mentor once told me (and I'm paraphrasing):

"Everyone lives in their own movie. Some people spend their whole lives trying to star in someone else's film or role. It's up to you to wake up and decide if you want to star in your own."

I'm choosing to play my part in my own movie. I have every right to call myself an artist, blogger, entrepreneur. This is my journey.

I have every right to be here, to pursue what I want in my own way.

What do you think? I know it's always easier said than done but perhaps these thoughts can help:

Pay attention to when you're feeling like a fraud or coming under your own fire and acknowledge it.

Recognize your own successes (journaling about it seriously helps me lots).

Occasionally reflect on what you've already achieved instead of constantly focusing on what you haven't accomplished.

When your negative self-talk becomes unmanageable, talk to someone you trust and who can offer more than just showerings of empty praise.

Your fears and insecurities are your feelings, not necessarily your reality.

Feeling insecure doesn't make you weak, it makes you human.

You're not the only one who feels this way.

You are who you choose to be.

And if none of the above helps even a little, try this one out:

"Accept that everyone everywhere—no matter how successful—experiences the self-doubt that underlies impostor syndrome. It is part and parcel of becoming accomplished and successful. There is nothing unusual or wrong about feeling these things. Leave no cognitive space for them to grow, and regain control of your life and your future." — Denise Cummins, Ph.D.


AND if you're in NYC and love 3D printing, art, tech and fashion, come check out the NYC 3D Printshow, February 12-15.
Lumecluster 3D Printshow

Maybe we'll bump into each other :) Here are the details:

WHERE: Metropolitan Pavilion
125 West 18th Street New York, NY 10011
WHEN: February 12-15, 2014. See timetable.
TICKETSClick here.
DESCRIPTION: 3D Printshow New York will be our most exciting show to date; a combined business, arts, design, education and consumer event with cutting-edge technology, world exclusive features and some of the sharpest minds in the world of future-tech.

Our NYC show will include some of the most incredible new content that we’ve found around the globe, combined with incredible new exclusives created specifically for our US audience.

Your turn. Have you ever suffered from impostor syndrome? What do you think of the new Lumecluster 3D printed art?

<3 Melissa

In New York? Love art, music, theatre? Join me at the WAT Gallery Show :) July 28, 2013 08:00

Lumecluster WAT Gallery

Experience a vibrant, provocative, and interactive fusion of theatre, art, music, and photography.
Okay, so this is a little different from my usual posts but I just had to share the exciting news (don’t worry, you’ll see my regular posts again next week)! If you missed last week’s doodle-blog, Breathing Room (+ Freedom), you can check it out here.
Working Artists Theatre (WAT) Project has invited me to display a selection of Lumecluster illustrations alongside several other awesome New York based artists in chashama, 210 East 43rd Street in Manhattan.
Any New Yorkers in the house? Love art, music, theatre and all things thoughtful and creative? If so, I would love to meet you on opening night, August 14th @ 7:00 PM. If you can’t make it, no worries! WAT Gallery will be showing through the month of August! :D
So, what is the WAT Gallery?
Working Artists Theatre (WAT) Project proudly presents WAT GALLERY; an immersive theatre environment that will house 10 Artist Exhibitions, music spun by local DJ’s, complimentary beverages, and 2 unique, newly developed shows that will play through the month of August at 210 East 43rd Street.
WAT has drawn inspiration from famed photographer Diane Arbus and the places we have never been, to playwright Eugene O’Neill and American Horror Story, in order to conjure up some really amazing experiences for you.
Visit the WAT Art Gallery. I'll be there opening night, August 14th!
Where: 210 East 43rd Street
When: August 9 – 11 (previews), August 14 (opening night!) – 30
Wednesdays – Saturdays @ 7:00 – 8:00 PM
Sundays @ 2:00 – 3:00 PM
IMPORTANT: Double Feature Benefit Performance on August 19th only – showing Fruits Unheard Of + THE BIG SHOW back-to-back, gallery opens at 5:00 PM (more details below)
Tickets: $10 at the door for the gallery ONLY
Overview: An exciting fusion of current Broadway talent and accomplished visual artists will be presented by Working Artists Theatre Project in the gallery space at 210 East 43rd Street this August. In collaboration with chashama, WAT Project will present two unique immersive theatrical productions (details below) staged in an art gallery exploring the lives and works of Diane Arbus, Eugene O’Neill, and Francis Farmer while featuring a collection of work by New York artists.
Experience the U.S. Premiere of Fruits Unheard Of.
Where: 210 East 43rd Street
When: August 9 – 11 (previews), August 14 (opening night!) – 30
Wednesdays – Saturdays @ 8:00 PM
Sundays @ 3:00 PM
Run time: 70 minutes
IMPORTANT: Double Feature Benefit Performance on August 19th only – showing Fruits Unheard Of + THE BIG SHOW back-to-back starting at 7:00 PM (more details below)
Covers complimentary beverages, gallery experience, and admission to Fruits Unheard Of.
Overview: The U.S. Premiere of Fruits Unheard Of by Caitlin Murphy, will be creatively staged in an art gallery curated with works from a variety of New York based artists. This award-winning biographical play about American photographer Diane Arbus offers a non-linear, impressionistic approach to Arbus as a dramatic subject and features only two actors: one as Diane, and one as every other personality in her life including family members, teachers, contemporaries, and her photographic subjects themselves. A selection of photographs inspired by the play and using the cast of Fruits Unheard Of as subjects will be displayed within the gallery to create the set of the play.
Again, the art gallery (review information above) will be open to audiences one hour prior to show-time with music spun by local DJ’s and complimentary beverages included in the $40 ticket price.
By: Caitlin Murphy
Directed By: Jessica Dermody & Sharone Halevy
Starring: Lil Malinich & Martin Markaj
Featuring Commissioned Photography By: Courtney Lindberg, Dominique Paul, & Dana Serling
Or watch THE BIG SHOW.
Where: 210 East 43rd Street
When: August 18 – 26
Sundays @ 7:30 PM
Mondays @ 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM
Run time: 40 minutes
IMPORTANT: Double Feature Benefit Performance on August 19th only – showing Fruits Unheard of + THE BIG SHOW back-to-back starting at 7:00 PM
Covers complimentary beverages, gallery admission, and admission to Fruits Unheard Of and THE BIG SHOW which will play back-to-back for $50. The gallery will open at 5:00 PM that evening.
Overview: THE BIG SHOW is an immersive re-imagination of the Eugene O’Neill play THIRST told through the life story of Francis Farmer. Audiences will be transported to 1950 where they will experience an evening in the rec room at Sunnyland: a hospital for the mentally insane. Inventively choreographed by Charlie Sutton (Kinky Boots, WICKED) this eerie, imaginative, new piece features dancing and star cast members from the Broadway community.
Directed & Choreographed By: Charlie Sutton
Starring: Rachelle Rak and a cast of Broadway dancers