Tag Archives: Cerridwen’s Cauldron

Meet Our Sponsors: Cerridwen’s Cauldron

Elicio Ember
Elicio Ember, creator and owner of Cerridwen’s Cauldron, the world builder of OtherWorld. Picture by Alisaundra Andel.

Elicio Ember, the creator and owner of Cerridwen’s Cauldron and the world builder of OtherWorld shares with us the story of OtherWorld, how it became the world for the Literary Festival and Fantasy Faire Radio, what OtherWorld’s theme songs are and what he looks forward the most in the Faire. You can find out more about Elicio from his previous interviews:  2014 | 20132012

You are both sponsoring and building OtherWorld, which hosts the Literary Festival. How did the Festival affect the build, how was it different than building a sim for shopping? How did the collaboration with the Literary Festival begin?

The story of this build is very different to the other sims I have built. I started sketching this project out since last year’s Faire, but I made very little advances on it during some months due to hardware issues. I had said I wanted to do the LitFest sim from the very moment I knew there would be one next year too. Also, I had planned for a great scale remodeling of my own region’s ground. When I was able to upgrade my hardware I launched into a frenzy of building that lasted months and exhausted me. I had not been able to actually enjoy my own builds fully for years due to the old pc. So, after some more months I opened the new landscape at my own sim, though I slowly continued adding to it, with new mesh plants or features like the dragon skull. At that moment I thought I would not be able to do the landscape for the Faire, since the new landscape evolved into something that had not the usual Fantasy Faire requisites or layout, and there was no way that in the time left I would be able to do a new landscape, even if I had the energy for it.

Picture by Alisaundra Andel

So, a couple of months ago Elizabeth contacted me again to ask me if I would do the sim and I told her at first I did not think I could, but then it occurred to me that if the Fantasy Faire accepted, I could have my new landscape (which by now had almost a year of continuous work, but only a couple of months rezzed) adapted to the Literary Festival region and the Fantasy Faire Radio Regions. After visiting the sim, Liz accepted, so then I got to work on making the adaption for the Faire’s requirements and finishing the landscaping. It was very exciting, since my landscape had reached a complexity level which I could not afford to do for the Faire otherwise, and I thought it was a perfect fit for the parties and the Literary Festival with its gorgeous views of the surrounding lands and its many lounges and public and party areas. And so, there is also a very big difference to my other Fantasy Faire region designs; this one will prevail after the Faire at my own region. It will not be exactly the same, of course, but very very similar. That is something strange and somehow wonderful to me; like I get to keep a bit of the Faire at home.

Beyond the romantic reasons, there are also practical ones though, as I mentioned, I have worked on this landscape for over a year and finished it only recently. Projects this large need to prevail somehow for world makers that live from their designs. Otherwise we would need sponsors ourselves. And last, but most important of all, people love this landscape, and enjoy it deeply. And that makes me in turn deeply happy with it.

On how my collaboration started, it was simple. I found out there was a LitFest Sim last year, and as soon as I found out I shouted, as loud as I could, that I wanted to do that, heh.

Picture by Alisaundra Andel

How was OtherWorld born? What is its story?

Otherworld was first imagined as something I was not sure I could pull off, a massively vertical, elaborate plateau with a cave system. Something that would give a huge vertical area to expand the region’s explorable surface and lend the whole landscape an epic feeling and still remain organic and chaotic in its layout but following its own visual rhythms. Like nature does, naturally, heh.

Otherworld is a part of, quite literally, the Other World. It’s inspired in the Keltic Otherworld, the realm of not only Spirits, but of Gods and the Fae. For them the land beyond, though there were several interpretations, was often depicted as an archipelago of Islands. Cerridwen is actually a Welsh Goddess of Magic and Wisdom, and her Cauldron is known as the Cauldron of Wisdom and Poetic Inspiration. So, it was a natural evolution to have the land be part of Cerridwen’s realm in the Otherworld. It’s a place that was anciently volcanic, as we can see on the basaltic cliffs and columns, and we can surmise that either the sea or some other powerful force carved out the the island into the plateau supported on massive basaltic legs, and has a long history after that. The palette is subdued (for my style anyway) and separated according to the “biome”, so are the plants and fungi; so, for the cave area we have a purple and teal palette, for the plateau and beaches a green palette with touches of warm colors, and for the underwater reef purples and oranges.

FF2016 - set A - OtherWorld_011
Picture by Wildstar Beaumont

What are you bringing to the Faire this year? 

For the Relay For Life items I have some very popular Lovecraft inspired plushies in the RFL characteristic colors; a Cthulhu Plushie and a Nightgaunt Plushie. As for now these are for decoration, but I do hope to do more with the idea in the future. Also, the RFL ed. Tinderlings, which are only available during RFL events. As for my store, well, most of what you can see at Otherworld is new and available; the basaltic columns, the structures, four new plants, including the Chalice Flower, the Dryad Pitcher V2, the Tube Sponge, the Eggplant….and then the recent ones, like the popular Ancient One dragon skull, the clovers, the ferns….etc. And, I do plan to continue creating more v2 and new species during the following months, though I am anxiously expecting too the advances on project Bento to get to work on avatars again.

FF2016 - set A - OtherWorld_019
Picture by Wildstar Beaumont

Your creations always come with excerpts, pieces of a story. Where are these quotes from, is there a larger story somewhere just waiting to be turned into plants and environments?

My first contact with creative imagination was through writing. Tolkien, Homer, then anything I could get my hands on. Then I became a role-player, a Dungeon Master, and was so for 20 years. Sharian “The Old”, a character that often appears in my story snippets, was my first AD&D character. A young wizard (then). In a (not so secret now) homage to my storytelling years, he is now my master and teacher (and my implacable quality assurance alt), a grumpy, classic “Gandalf the Grey” wizard that enjoys sharing his admiration for nature and magic with his elven disciple.

I tell stories through my work, either be a painting or a whole SL landscape. I hint at these through the “Apprentice’s Journal” snippets I always add to a products description. The little snippets of story I give are to inspire people to create their own stories. That’s what they are for. And that’s why they always hint too to a larger world or telling. Quoting Ende on his masterful Never Ending Story; “…but that, is another story, and should be told another time”.

OtherWorld Sponsored by Cerridwen's Cauldron-Justen Tyme-017
Picture by Justen Tyme

You mentioned OtherWorld has a theme song. What is it? How does music inspire you and your builds?

Indeed! Music is incredibly important to me while working. I have my favorite genres I listen when creating, Epic (like the fabulous Two Steps From Hell), Lounge and Chill, Electronic (especially Psychadelic Trance), Celtic. I find like, soundscaping, the music is incredibly helpful to convey an atmosphere to SL ambients. I even created some time ago playlists on soundcloud for people to visit the new Otherworld landscape, when you are not listening to the FF Radio of course!

Epic Play | Lounge and Chill

I think that though in the end everyone will choose their own music to make their own “soundtrack”, I find it personally interesting, and think others might too, listening to music the landscaper suggests while visiting her/his work. It deepens the understanding of the atmosphere the author wants to convey. Even if it’s music you do not usually listen to and even if you decide you like your own “soundtrack” better.

And, all that said, heh, these are the “Soundtrack” songs for Otherworld:

Solar Echoes – Nigel Stanford | Icarus- Ivan Torrent

FF16 Otherworld - II
Picture by Caitlin Tobias

Do you have a favourite Faire memory? What are you looking forward to most in this year’s Faire?

I am sure everyone involved with the Faire says or thinks the same; it’s so difficult to choose one, there are so many. The Fantasy Faire has such a special team and ambiance. But, picking up a couple I would say the first time I joined the now classic bus tours. They are always so much fun. As many as the team members as possible start on a now legendary yearly bus going around the regions, stopping at each and playing instruments, or joining the DJ, or just doing whatever tomfoolery we can think of (nothing disruptive or destructive) and celebrating the Faire. Also, as Kae noted, sitting atop a high point with the team and world makers and watch the regions fill up is always exciting and very special.

The Faire is loads of work, even though I had most of the landscape done, I was not really “ready” for the Faire until 10 hours before opening, and that felt like a lot of spare time, because usually everyone is still frantically working well beyond opening date. And even though it’s so much work it’s always so much more than just the work, its the relay, the team, the friends, the idea that always moves us; we can all win, and even have insanely amounts of fun while doing so. For me the Faire is always the highlight of the year and I look forward to it as soon as the current one ends. So thanks to you, to the readers, and everyone attending and involved for making the Faire an example on how things can be done differently, and lovingly.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with us, Elicio! Thank you for the magic, enchantment and life you bring to the Fairelands!

Picture by Alisaundra Andel

The Stories of OtherWorld

Otherworlds Poster Large

There are places beyond the normal realms we see with our waking eyes. They are places of gargantuan trees of life, of gentle waters flowing through glowing caves, of glittering crystal and ancient bronce. They are kingdoms that softly whisper about the eternity we all carry within us. There are lands of song and story, of leyend and wisdom, of peace and gentle growth.

Far beyond the reach of boats and trails, and always just a handspan away, always just beyond a veil, exists a place of islands and Gods, and heros and Fae. Welcome to Otherworld.

OtherWorld by Elicio Ember.

Meet Our Sponsors: Cerridwen’s Cauldron

Blue Me

Elicio Ember, the creator of Cerridwen’s Cauldron and the sponsor and builder of The Faery Court, tells us what it’s like to build a Faireland year after year, what all the Fairelands he’s created have in common and what is the story behind The Faery Court. You can read more about Elicio, his involvement with the Faire and his reasons to relay  from the interviews from 2013 and 2012

You are one of the true Faire veterans, your builds have been a part of the Fairelands for many years. You create a whole sim — a fantasy world — out of nothing in a short span of months and nerves. How do you do it every year? What makes you return and do it all over again?

How do I do it each year? Barely…hehehe. Seriously though, the Fantasy Faire is not only a benefit event. Which I am all for. But its much more than that. It follows the kind of model where everyone wins; we do not only do a fabulous fund raising for Relay for Life, its also a great event for normal retails, and a great opportunity for landscapers like myself to showcase our skills. Its also a great showcase for new content, so everyone wins; we do great fundraising, landscapers get to do unique sims, merchants can display new content, visitors get to sightsee some of the most spectacular sims created during the year, and of course, there is great shopping! So everyone wins! Whats not to like about all that? That what keeps me returning year after year. 

And then, there is the team. We have great fun together and keep each other motivated (because, make no mistake, its lots of fun, but it is exhausting work). I have met some of my best friends during the faire. And then, there is the Tour…when the work is done, organizers, designers, bloggers and friends gather in a tour bus and we tour the sims, playing SL instruments and just fooling around….now that I think about it, that might be why I keep returning 😉

Faery Court_Seelie Gardens

How many Fairelands have you built? Tell us about them, is there something that ties them together as a theme, as a development?

Lets See: 2011 it was Exotic Worlds (an alien jungle) and an emergency extra hand in the Sea of Mer (the mermen sim). 2012 it was two sims (which was utterly insane), the Ruins of Nu Orne (a souther asian ruins style sim in a exotic jungle vegetation) and the Siren’s Secret, a deep water sim with structures stilted on partially flooded walkways. On 2013 it was The Titans Hollow, a canyon inspired sim with hanging structures shaped like Arabian stained glass lanterns. And this year, The Faery Court.

Hm, now that I think about it there is indeed a common streak to them all: Structures created in harmony with nature. But this has not been a conscious effort, its just a reflection of my deep love and admiration of nature. And my belief that humankind will eventually learn to live with nature instead of “from” nature. In harmony with it instead of destroying it where we live.

What are you bringing to the Faire this year? Give us some sneak peeks or teasers!

This year I am landscaping and sponsoring the Faery Court, based on the traditional idea that divides the Faeries in two courts (though some myths divide it in four, one for each season). The two courts are the Seelie, who represent day, growth, spring and summer, and life, and the Unseelie, who represent night, decay, autumn and winter, and death. In the center of the sim you can see a gargantuan tree (one of the largest trees SL has seen so far I think) composed of two intertwining trunks, one mossy and lush, the other dry and fiery leafed. The seelie side is full of mossy and fresh greens, bright hues, and a feeling of freshness. The Unseelie side is all dry and musty, thorny and slightly eerie. 

Its not about good and evil, its about balance, though of course, the Unseelie fae tend to be somber and less…attractive, to mortal perceptions, hehehe. 

Faery Court_The Tree Arch

Do you think the tiny sheriffs will apprehend you for your scandalous waffle-noming plants again?

Not if I can hide my heinous deeds from them or if I can outrun them!!

What are you looking forward to most this year?

To be honest to see what people think of the sim. I have tried lots of new things this year. Most of the sim is mesh, the structures are completely mesh. I also did a lot of complex texture work this year, using the new “materials” options to great effect I think: cool bump-maping, several types of metallic textures, iridescent floors, mosaics and roof tiles, emissive textures…. Also, the giant tree has pretty accurate physics, so you can walk around the giant branches or climb the base.  I love the atmosphere the combination of texture work, mesh, color schemes, light and sound gives to the two halves of the sim, and I am looking forward to see visitor’s impression on it.

How was The Faery Court born? What inspired it, what is its story?

Even though I personally start to work on the sim design around 2 months before the Faire, I start thinking many months before that. Usually around December or January. Sometimes earlier. Its a very intuitive process for me on what to decide to do each year. A couple of years I was given a very general guideline,  a mer sim, or a jungle sim. But the last two years it has been totally up to the designer. In the case of the Faery Court, I had seen a couple of movies that had inspired me, and played a couple of games that gave me great ideas. Also, I had been wanting to do some whimsical buildings inspired in surrealist architect Gaudi. I wanted to try my hand at doing all the mesh and texturing tricks I had learned. And the Faery Court was perfect for all of  that.

The story of the Court itself is that of a place where High Fae reside…the royalty of Fae so to speak, the Sidhe. These are either Seelie or Unseelie, and though with contrasting tastes and objectives, they are not enemies (though they do not have to like each other either). They both are conscious of the essential role their kind represents, and their interdependency with the other court. This is symbolized by the Tree, which represents both growth and decay, spring and autumn, in its trunks that intertwine and swirl around each other.  The stories that are told here, I leave to the fae folk that visit.

Thank you, Elicio, for taking the time to chat with us and for building us new Fairelands every year!

Faery Court_Unseelie Dusk