There is a well kept secret to some in the lands of Second Life. A designer whose talent breathes from her experiences and is brought to our enjoyment here in our virtual world. The shop is The House of Alisha, the designer is Alisha Ultsch. Alisha Ultsch came one day to our world while working with her husband on a project involving the metaverse. After her exploration, she somehow forgot to remove Second Life, much to our benefit. She went back one day and wandered around, and was very exciting to see that she was able to find an outlet for her artistic abilities in this virtual space.
Those who know Alisha will note she is an amazing designer. She first got her start on Second Life by camping to earn lindens for uploading her textures, and then one piece at a time she began making her outfits. Alisha tells us that her creations were meant to be unique and distinctive, born of her knowledge of costume making for the stage and movies.
Others took note of Alisha’s extraordinary talent and one day she was asked to visit a Baroque time period role play sim. Alisha noted there was not much variety in costumes to choose from at the time, so she began creating high quality period pieces. This small business quickly took off to become what it is today, created slowly gown after gown; every piece a true mastery of art and eloquence. Those who have worn a HOA (House Of Alisha) gown will notice the great attention to detail. From the small details on socks or hosiery, to foot wear and headpieces, nothing is overlooked. Some of the gowns she creates even come with built in Animation Overrides (AO’s). This adds to the entire ambience of the gown to help one set the “mood” of the timeline it was created for. There are even gowns that have the ability to curtsey to a guest or royalty, follow behind another avatar, or kneel with a built in HUD.
Not only do her gowns show divine detail, Alisha was the first designer who also created a skirt train that moved like a real skirt would. At first she used many scripts in the train to make it move the way it does in a real life, but now, she makes them so they still have realistic movement, but now use less scripts. Another feature she has to offer those who purchase her gowns is a real working corset. I have searched far and wide for a corset, especially back in the time frame some pieces were made it was customary to thin ones waist, her gown are capable of doing just that as she demonstrated to me in the Hazel gown, a beautiful piece in purple and soft pink.
One day while taking a tour of the beautiful, Harkton Abbey in the North Riding of Yorkshire, I met up with Bleu Topaz. He is the artist behind the creation of Harkton Abbey, a fictional period home that is the house to the Earl and Countess of Tensley, representing the lives of the aristocratic Tensley family and their servants during the reign of King George V, in the year 1912. I had entered and was very surprised to see greeting me was yet another one of the very talented Alisha Ultsch’s creations, servant bots. Alisha had first began with a simple greeter bot, and then moved onto more and more. She has bots both in period and modern attire that are animated and follow a number of commands, some greet guests with a glass of champagne, some are designed to deliver invitations. She has handmaiden bots that will follow you, you can have an entire courtyard of bots if you like, and due to her knowledge they are much lower prim now than when she had first started.
Alisha demonstrated for me at one point a special device she has that creates bots, to give a village a populated look, filling the room with a few, or sprouting as many as you need for a crowded street. The numerous designs she has and uses are so versatile. I has asked Bleu Topaz, the creator of Harkton Abbey how he came to know Alisha’s designs. He informed me his wife had found her creations and had a special gown made for herself, one of Alisha more popular pieces the Russian design in blue and gold called Alexandra.
Bleu Topazalso noted to me, that the way the gowns and the bots are made are imperative to helps the “actors” in a role play setting get more in tuned to their characters. Some gowns are created with pantaloons, several skirt layers, coats and gloves, socks and slippers; all the pieces as if they were being placed and worn in real life. The bots also play an important part in the way a role play area is set up, from butlers, maids, to courtesans, lords and ladies. Every detail is designed to make your experience on your Second Life world more memorable and enchanting.
Bleu Topaz’s creations, Harkton Abbey, from the Abbey itself in North Riding of Yorkshire, to fine period furnishings worthy of a visit, are open to all those who wish to shop, role play, and explore the Abbey. Alisha’s Designs can be found at House of Alisha. One tip is to make sure you have a little time to fully explore all the creations listed it is truly a treat for the eyes and senses!
- Varda Silver, Associated SL Press staff writer