Chainmail? More Like ChainFEMALE...

This is Chris and Shani Christenson’s Metal Body Art collection, which was featured recently in a show at NorthCoast Artist’s Gallery in Fort Bragg.

Here are the artists putting the finishing touches on their creations at Mantras Salon, where all of the amazing hairstyles for the show were created.

One of the things I really loved about the show was that artists from throughout the community donated their time and considerable skills to make Chris and Shani’s event into the spectacular fantasy extravaganza the two of them had envisioned. The end result speaks for itself.

Melinda is gorgeous all on her own, but for the show she got a little help from Jocelyn, the owner of Mantras, who put some mossy green stripes in her hair.

Backstage at the event, Liz from Mendocino Beauty finishes up some fantasy makeup on Mandela, one of the five volunteer models.

This is the stunning result.

So is this. Samantha is wearing a mint’s worth of real rubies and channeling a Celtic fire goddess. Obviously.

Incidentally, I think this bustier would look good peeking out from underneath my Carhartt overalls. Presuming I had some red Wellies to match…

Outside before the show, the Goddess of Fire cools down with the Goddess of Fire Water. For Chris and Shani’s event, MixMistressM made the successful transformation into MixMistressC - MixMistress of Ceremonies. Here she runs a flashcard app on her phone while she simultaneously rocks the noir-influenced glam.

This is Marianella putting the finishing touches on Jessica’s hair right before she hits the runway. Marianella works with Jocelyn at Mantras, and when she isn’t designing hair for fashion shows, she takes care of my blue locks. Which makes me pretty much the luckiest woman in the world, hair-wise.

Each of the models had a fantastic cape that they threw off right before they took to the runway in their spectacular armor. Jessica - Chris and Shani’s niece - gave it just the right flourish…

…Before doing a fantastic job showing off her aunt and uncle’s art to a packed house.

After the show, the models acted as living easels, visiting with gallery patrons and talking about the amazing works of art they were wearing. I love how even the babies are staring. But I especially love the intense look on the face of the little girl in this picture as she stares at Melinda and Jessica. Her camo pants make me think that she went home that night and dreamed of being a warrior goddess.

Jessica’s armor is named for Amaterasu, a Japanese sun goddess, which is reflected by the beautiful golden gems.

When I saw this piece, all I could think of was how fun it would be to wear it to Lucy’s Laundromat. I don’t know why. Maybe it has something to do with Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds. Or maybe it’s because I figure that the heat generated by this smokin piece of art would save me money on the dryers. Which is a good thing because when you’re wearing an outfit like this, there’s nowhere to keep your quarters.

This is Judy Of The Adorable Whimsical Tiny Little Hats. She consulted on some of the leatherwork for the show, and she makes these chapeaux herself. I love these little hats almost as much as I love her fantastic braids.

Art dog!!

As I mentioned, Samantha is channeling a Celtic fire goddess in her armor, which is called "Kegan's Fire." Here’s the fire goddess cheering on the Fort Bragg Fire Department as they roar past the gallery on their way to a blaze. Look at the face of the person in the car. Priceless.

After the show, it was time to show off the bejeweled armor at a reception at CoBar.

Seeing the women walk around in their body art, drinks in hand, made me think that I want to save up some cash to commission Shani and Chris to do some Metal Body Art for me. I don’t have it entirely planned out yet, but I’m thinking turquoise. And local abalone shells. Mexican silver conchos for sure. Probably feathers. Lots of fringe. Definitely tooled leather. Boots, duh.

Oh! And chaps. Chaps are a MUST.

I think I could pull it off. At the very least, I would love to try. Who wouldn't?

Metal Body Art

Through September 28


NorthCoast Artist’s Gallery

Fort Bragg


  1. Your blog looks great Jennifer! Wow the girls are so hot in the group shot they look like they could melt their silver armor! Love the behind the scenes perspective and the photos. The one of Sam in front of the red firetruck, classic! Would be happy to make you a blue suit to match your hair, I'm sure you could pull it off, turquoise looks like your color! Sincerely, Chris

  2. You've made me rethink the term "art" in this informative post. Seeing what goes into these outfits really helped me understand how art can be anything beautifical.
    You'd never catch me at a fashion show like this, but it sure is nice to get an inside look at everything involved.
    Thanks for the education.

  3. Thank you for the great comment, Dave! It really was wonderful to see the whole community come together and showcase their diverse and impressive talents. I love your observations about art. I, too, believe that art is in the eye of the beholder, and can be anything that comes with some creativity attached. By the way, I think one of these outfits would be a good anniversary present for your wife.

    Chris, you and Shani did a beyond-amazing job. Those women look fantastic on their own, but it was your art, the styling, and the stagecraft that put their hotness right over the top. Wait till I get my blue armor. I'm gonna be a hit at Lucy's!