Ariel’s Thoughts

I asked Ariel to share some of her thoughts on today’s update featuring the work of Drago B, and on 18 years of Restrained Elegance.

This is what she said:

To celebrate Restrained Elegance’s 18 Anniversary, we’re very happy to welcome a new artist to the Restrained Elegance family, and to show you what I hope will be the first of many of his lovely movies to appear here. Welcome, Drago B.

I’ve been working with Drago since 2014, when he first hired me for a stills shoot. His interests include corporal punishment and exploring Dom/sub dynamics, so naturally, I loved working with him, and was delighted when he moved into movie production a couple of years ago. In the intervening years since we first met we’ve become friends, and I’m a huge fan of his work.

Initially, Drago made his films available for free on Vimeo, but like Hywel before him, his account was shut down for being too pornographic. I was offended on his behalf, as I’d been on Hywel’s. Though both of them are, I’m sure, perfectly capable of shooting excellent porn, neither of them had uploaded anything onto Vimeo that’d have been out of place in a Hollywood film. Hywel, of course, has Restrained Elegance to host his work, conveniently behind a paywall, and under his own control where it can’t be censored. Drago had no such place to for his movies. So both Hywel and I were grateful and honoured when he offered his films to Hywel, to appear on Restrained Elegance.

I’ve always been impressed by the way in which Hywel has welcomed contributions from other artists on Restrained Elegance. It reminds me of what a decent, collaborative and community-minded human being he is. And it speaks very highly of Drago, that he offered his work to Restrained Elegance for free, because he wants it to reach an appreciative audience.

And I do hope that you, like me, will be part of that appreciative audience. Drago’s work doesn’t feature a lot of bondage, since it’s more focused on CP, but to my mind, what he does especially beautifully is to make work that conveys how BDSM feels from the inside. The way in which it can feel like the most complete, satisfying form of communication. The sense of connection, warmth and affection between the participants, which is easy to overlook in favour of the more obvious elements of BDSM. I especially like the way Drago concentrates on the enjoyment of the submissive, which is an almost entirely absent theme in traditional CP productions.

Drago’s work is romantic, and sensual, and he’s one of my favourite people to work with. As, of course, is Hywel, who has carefully piloted his little personal project to commercial maturity over the last 18 years, with all the integrity of an artist, and with the bare minimum of business sense (Really. We have a lot of lenses. There’s no possible commercial justification for them. Ditto all the extra cameras. It’s a puzzle). Restrained Elegance was one of the first websites that gave me the feeling that my sexual identity was ok, and over the years, we’ve heard from many people who’ve said the same. That feels valuable, and I hope that we can continue to help people feel this way for many years to come. Censorship and regulation have been an ever-increasing threat to Hywel’s venture over the last few years, as has industrialised video piracy. The support of honest people like you who’ve been prepared to support our shared vision of romantic, beautiful BDSM, is the reason that Restrained Elegance has reached the age of 18. Thank you to you all.

And with Drago joining Hywel, Kate, Steve, Merlin, Sheep, me, and our other friends and colleagues from around the world, we’ll hope to keep bringing you work that will delight you, as it delights us.

Happy Birthday, Restrained Elegance. And congratulations to Hywel, who is braver, and kinder, and more full of integrity than any man I’d ever have dreamed of being able to marry. And who is, I think you’ll agree, a remarkable BDSM producer. May Restrained Elegance enjoy journeying towards middle age, just as its crew are.

Ariel Anderssen

Ariel’s blog

Hi All,

You may notice that Ariel’s blog posts have suddenly appeared here. That’s because Google has just issued an edict on a ridiculously short timescale to anyone who has a “adult” blogger blog that links to commercial websites are suddenly forbidden- presumably on pain of summarily deleting the blog you’ve spent years loving crafting.

Since I’m about to leave to film my exciting mainstream movie project, the quickest way for me to make sure Ariel’s blog doesn’t get nuked is to import it into mine. We’ll sort out the fallout later on, either merge the blogs and have her post here or create a new blog for her, but at least the posts should be safe now.


What I’ve Been Up To

As always my blog post is starting with a tired apology; I’m not a good blogger.  All I can say in my defence is that as a model, I’m rather assiduous and prolific.  I wish those words could be used to describe my blogging, but at least I have insight into my condition and I know that they really, really can’t be.

Nevertheless, I’ve been being busy and useful elsewhere, and this is what I’ve been up to;-

Lots and lots and LOTS of modelling. I’ve been in Scotland, Belgium, Holland, Portugal and all OVER England since I last blogged.  Lots of the work has been of a non-kink sort but in the bondage genre I’ve worked for Chimera PetandPonygirls Bondage Chronicles Bondage Bob Jack Bond Limited Audience and, naturally, Restrained Elegance That’s only the ones I could think of off the top of my head by the way, I’m sure there were lots more than that but my diary’s on another floor of the house so I can’t be bothered to fetch it (bad blogger, you see)

For fans of spanking, I’ve also been busily shooting with all the best producers to make sure that the supply of ghastly Amelia’s wickedness doesn’t dry up.  Check out Spanked in Uniform SpankingSarah (who has the best picture of me ever on her masthead) and Dreams of Spanking for lots of lovely updates with me in them.  Yep.

And whilst I’ve been doing all these shoots, I’ve also been finding my feet as a rigger.  Until last year, I’d only rigged for Restrained Elegance, and hadn’t really regarded myself as a rigger at all – just a model who’d picked up enough knowledge to help out when no one else was around to do the rope work.  But then, a couple of studio owners who were aware of my bondage work asked me to come and do a bit of self bondage for some of the photographers who used their studios regularly and were interested in shooting fetish images.  That led to my actually teaching a couple of interested photographers the basics of western rope bondage, and I’ve gradually found myself adding bundles of rope into my modelling bags on more and more occasions.

Finally, when I was booked by a superb photographer Carl Grim for a full day of bondage rigging/modelling and I decided it was time to actually buy my own rope. This shows just how horrifically spoilt one can become as a model – I’m sure that for most people who want to learn rigging for photography, they have to start by buying their own rope, then pay to get some tuition, then do lots of unpaid practicing and then finally, maybe, get paid for their skill.  Naughty, lucky me, eventually buying some rope of my own made me feel that now I could maybe start calling myself a rigger in my own head.

A note of caution; I know most people reading this won’t jump to conclusions, but please please, to those people who think this is a good opportunity to ask me to be their Domme, I’m still not dominant.  And in all honesty, I do find that repeated requests along these lines feel a bit bullying.  Sort of the same as being gay and being continually pestered by people who know you to ‘just have a go at heterosexuality’, and not to be such a stick-in-the-mud because you ‘can’t know what you’re into until you try it’.  I’m not a Domme, just a rather tall sub with a fantastic new collection of gorgeous un-dyed cotton rope which I cut into lengths myself, all giddy with the freedom of choosing lengths that were convenient for me rather than for someone else’s rigging style.

Anyway, so the Carl Grim shoot was fantastic fun for me; the responsibility of tying up a model who hadn’t done much in the way of fetish work before weighed quite heavily on me but both she and Carl Grim were so energetic, thoughtful and talented that I got happily swept along with the whole thing and these pictures are the result;-

And I love them love them love them.  Thanks to Kayleigh and Carl for such a lovely day, which made me feel brave and hopeful about doing more of this in 2013.

And the very next week, I had the chance to try out my ropes again, this time as a result of the wonderfully experimental Pandora Blake who booked me for a joyous, 2 day shoot for Dreams of Spanking with Caroline Grey (yes, I loved her so much I’ll go all hyperbolic if I try to count the ways) and my own lovely BDM Hywel Phillips .  Pandora had wanted to shoot a male bondage photoset and had booked male model Will Savage (can’t find a link for him, if you have one let me know and I’ll credit him properly).  I was kind of nervous about tying up a man for the first time because the bondage I’m used to doing for Restrained Elegance relies a lot upon the models’ having a fair amount of flexibility, especially in the shoulders.  Indeed, it proved fairly challenging; positions that are sustainable for many female models proved painful for Will and it forced me to tie faster than I normally do.  The results, however, are beautiful and I’ll most certainly hope to tie men up again in the future – I’m sure that if I think it through carefully I can find ties that will be comfortable for even the most musclebound chaps.  Anyway, here’s a picture, courtesy of Dreams of Spanking and shot by Hywel .
I’ve got more rigging in my future and I’m very excited about it; modelling is my first love but I’m hoping that in 2013, ropework will be something I also concentrate at getting better at.  We’ve got a lot more shoots for Restrained Elegance planned over the next few months, and I’m going to see if I can do ropework that improves upon these examples;-
I’ve been so keen on my whole new rigging life, I’ve created a pictures-only blog here;-
I know that I need to be sensible about this venture; as a model its hard to injure people but as a rigger I need to take on responsibility for other peoples’ safety and I want to take that seriously.  Modelling feels like a wonderful giddy, childish pursuit in contrast, which is making me love it even more than usual.
Thanks as always for reading my blog posts, I appreciate it very much.
And OMG, hysterical news flash, I’ve been invited to Fetishcon in Tampa this year! Do get in touch if you’ll be there too; I’m a bit incoherent with excitement about it all and can’t find a normal way to finish this sentence so……
Best wishes and Happy Easter everyone,

Wedded Joy Part Two

Here’s a wedding-themed picture by our friend AP Sheep who made the metal dress!! He is brilliant.

In an unprecedented move, I’m blogging very soon after my last post.  I feel like a proper blogger, but obviously, never in the league of Pandora Blake .  I have hopes that one day I’ll grow up and blog like her.  By the way, thank you so much to everyone who posted comments to my last post (especially Michael – that’s a very interesting subject that you brought up, I’d like to blog about it some time).

Anyway, the reason I’m blogging is because everything was too darned exciting to not talk about over the last couple of weeks for me.  So I’m writing it all down (actually, I wrote this on honeymoon, so I’m just copy typing now, in the manner of a sexy 1950’s secretary.  Except that I’m wearing a massive orange polar fleece and drinking hot Ribena.)

Right, here’s the actual post. It’s about my honeymoon with the BDM, who is now the HDM.  I wanted to drop the ‘M’ for master to give him the same initials as ‘High Definition’, but he wouldn’t let me. Oh well.

‘This is what happened after we got married;-

We went back to work for a couple of days.  I know this sounds odd, but we’re in the middle of creating some new projects as well as improving our work on RE so we needed the time.  A lovely commentary ran through my head as I worked;-  ‘I’m just editing a video for my husband’s website.’  ‘Mrs HDM is stopping work for a cup of tea with her husband.‘  Awfully grandiose of me, but lovely one-off fun.

We held our reception on the Sunday three days after our wedding.  And it was really rather a kinky affair, at least according to the guest list.  A number of the people I think of as the British spanking aristocracy came (less than we’d have liked due to the small space we loved so much we chose it for the party) and the first one we saw that day was the tremendous Lucy the Matron of Northern Spanking along with her brilliant husband Paul Kennedy and lovely child.  Lucy had kindly volunteered to do my hair, and as is her multi-skilled way, she did a beautiful job of making me look all vintage-y and elegant.

Of the lovely kinkies we were able to fit onto the guest list were Amy Hunter of Northern Spanking fame, Stephen Lewis (also of Northern Spanking), my beloved friend Katy Cee from Restrained Elegance, brilliant Temptress Kate, RE’s publicist, model and location photographer, RE photographer Steve and his lovely wife, RE model Sammie B, the wonderful Leigh and Zena from gorgeous boudoir photography service Mighty Aphrodite and my favourite non-gay best friend Ben Davies

In retrospective, it seems silly of me but before our wedding party I’d been a bit worried about how our vanilla and kinky guests would all get on.  Of course, the HDM and I had family members in attendance, and while they all know exactly what we do for a living, I wondered whether anyone would end up in awkward conversations.  But midway through the party, I looked round and saw Stephen Lewis and Paul Kennedy talking to my sister and her family, Lucy-the-Matron sitting with one of the HDM’s university friends, and Temptress Kate and Katy Cee deep in conversation with my super-cool fashion writer friend and her husband.  I felt so happy, and so proud of our friends, the vanilla ones who are liberal enough to cope with people making unconventional career choices and having varied sexual identities, and the kinky friends who were able to understand that you don’t need to dress in PVC and wield canes around at all times. All this seems very obvious now, but it was a lovely discovery nevertheless.

Since the HDM’s not over-keen on public speaking, having possibly burnt out from his previous life as a lecturer, we decided the main speech would be my responsibility.  I’d been worried about it, but on the advice of a friend I decided to be honest rather than trying to be clever, so I mostly just thanked people.  My (our!) niece who’d decorated our wedding cake with a cascade of autumn leaves, Lucy for my lovely hair, the HDM’s parents’ for bringing up to have the confidence to abandon one career in favour of being a bondage photographer.  And Hywel himself, for everything, really.

Then we struggled home under the weight of all the cookbooks we’d asked for as wedding presents, stumbled to bed, and were awoken at 3.45am in order to go off on honeymoon.

I’d kept my beautiful wedding hair-style overnight – since it was a gift from Lucy, destroying it prematurely felt vile and wrong.  It wasn’t until we were sitting in a lakeside cafe in Italy that afternoon that I realised the silver star-shaped hair ornament was still in my hair too.  It felt like a good omen or something (I’ve become very sentimental temporarily, do forgive me).

Our honeymoon (on Lake Maggiore – its beautiful in the extreme) has been mainly spent sleeping, eating enormous ice-creams, going on cable-cars, sharing pasta dishes (Like in Lady and the Tramp) and attempting to speak Italian.  And of course, there’s been plenty of time for all sorts of splendid kinkiness.

Now we’re about to go home again (I’m writing this from our hotel’s lounge while Hywel sleeps next door) and launch into our lives as a married bondage producer couple.  I expect it’ll be similar to before in lots of ways – I find myself reaching for something profound to say, but can come up with nothing.  Except that, as always, when I think about my life with Hywel, the chances we have to engage in activities we both thought we’d never get to do, and the way we don’t have to sacrifice ‘normal’ romantic love in order to do so; I want to send a postcard back in time and tell my younger self that in 2012 everything turned out ok for me.’

We’re back home now (sorry for the jumping around in time through this blogpost) and we just went out and shot a two part photo-set for Restrained Elegance as a thank you to our Members for joining the site, which allowed us to meet in the first place.  The first part of the set is in my wedding dress, the second part is at home without it on 🙂  Here’s a sample shot – we’re editing the second half now and it’ll be live on Restrained Elegance tomorrow!

Thanks to you all as always for visiting, I’m very happy and hoping things are well with you all too.

You May Kiss The Bride!

Oh my goodness, I need to be a better writer than I am to tell you all the things I’m thinking and feeling today.  I’m writing this in the brief, 2 day gap between getting married to Hywel (the BDM is the HDM now) and holding our reception, which is a tea party for our family and closest friends.
Our wedding day was absolutely perfect for me (I don’t want to speak for Hywel, who I’m sure will blog about it himself, but he certainly seemed very happy too).  We just had our two witnesses there, since we really wanted the smallest wedding possible.  I’ve done a fair number of bridal shoots in my career as a model (and plenty of bridle ones, of course) and I didn’t want our wedding day to feel like a performance, or like a modelling job.  Hywel was in agreement, so we just had my lovely sister, and our wonderful friend Steve, who shoots for Restrained Elegance as well.
The wedding itself was extraordinarily lovely to me, but possibly a bit boring to read about so I’ll be brief.  I was barefoot at Hywel’s request (brilliant, I thought I’d be horrifically embarrassed but actually it felt perfectly natural), I wore a dress I’d made myself, and the vows were beautiful.  I cried a bit, but not in a horrific embarrassing manner, as far as I know.  Here’s a picture Steve took right after we signed the register. 
And once it was over, we headed to a gorgeous hotel that we eat at a lot but have never stayed in.  We’d booked a suite with a four poster bed and some fabulous, usefully shaped furniture in it.  And that’s all I have to say about that 😉
So now, I’m Mrs Phillips, and I’m stupidly, impossibly happy about it.  And it’s made me think back about how we first met, so I’m going to give you a brief history in pictures;-
Here’s a shot from our first set, at my first Restrained Elegance shoot.  I’d had to pester a bit in order to shoot for RE at all, and I was determined that Hywel would like me.  At the time, I’d only done a couple of bondage shoots, and had been modelling for less than a year; hence the schoolgirl hair and the minimal approach to makeup.  I was so sorry when the shoot was over (it had passed with me in a lather of excitement, trying not to show that the whole thing was hopelessly erotic for me) and so glad when Hywel re-booked me almost immediately…
After a year or so of working together, in which we got to know each other well enough for me to confess that I really was into BDSM (I don’t think it was a great surprise to Hywel) Hywel took me, Hannah, Sabrina and Temptress Kate to France for a week’s shoot.  The pleasure of modelling for Hywel every day for an extended period was absolute heaven for me; I remember rushing my hair and makeup dreadfully, in order to be the next model in line whenever Hywel was ready for one.  Consequently, he ended up with more sets of me than anyone else, which was a bad business move for me, since in theory it meant that he wouldn’t have to re-book me for ages.  But I couldn’t help it, just as I couldn’t help fantasising about him coming to my bedroom to tie me up and spank me at night.  He didn’t, he behaved like a consummate professional.  But by now, he’d become my absolute favourite person to work with.
Later that year, Hywel booked me to work with Chanta Rose as the rigger.

Which was interesting in many ways.  Chanta is very experienced, both as a professional and as a lifestyle player.  And she’s totally comfortable with talking frankly about BDSM.  Which meant that the shoot with her made me feel more relaxed talking about my fantasies in front of other people.  I think this is what led to Hywel and me deciding to do a series called ‘Restrained Elegance Nights’ in which we explored the harder side of BDSM, which I’d not actually experienced, but was desperate to try.  We shot our ‘Long Term Bondage’ project as a result, followed by ‘Bondage Driving Test’ by which point I was struggling to keep our relationship fully professional – basically I’d begun to tell Hywel all my fantasies, and we’d play them out in front of the cameras as a way to justify what we were doing since we hadn’t negotiated an actual relationship yet.  As a result, parts of those videos make me pretty embarrassed – they’re still available to watch on Restrained Elegance but I’m uncomfortable watching something that exposes my feelings so clearly.
And then Hywel invited me to be the model for his first bondage photography tutorial.  I flew back from New York and took a taxi straight to his studio (my flight had been delayed) but once I got there, the lack of sleep made no difference whatsoever to my excitement.  Here’s a shot from a set that Merlin (who we met that day for the first time, and who’s since become a very valued member of the RE crew) directed;-
And which Steve, who we also met for the first time that day shot.  I’m afraid I behaved in a rather sluttish manner that day; being tied up and photographed by 4 people while Hywel told me what to do, stepped in to gag me, and generally took control of the whole thing, was very sexy for me indeed!
And finally, after at least 3 years of shooting together (and probably more, my maths is hideous) we made the decision to play together as well as work together.  This picture’s from the first time we shot together after we’d made that decision.
Hmmm, I don’t think my facial expression was put on for the camera.  I’m rather ashamed to say that our new arrangement made for some rather excessively sexual photo sets…
And after playing together for a few months, neither of us were happy with the parameters we’d set for ourselves, and we became a proper, real-life couple.  
And photosets of me from around that time seem to me to have a pervasive sense of happiness!
We moved out of the studio, and into a house we bought together…
And things got better and better.  Of course, our lives aren’t magically charmed, and we’re as effected by ill health, work stress, and all the real life problems as any other couple.  But I’m so happy with Hywel, and being married to him feels so perfectly right.  
And of course, being married won’t stop me also being Hywel’s slavegirl.  That’s too important to lose – we’re in the middle of working out what our new rules will be and we’ll be figuring it all out properly on honeymoon.  I’m very excited about that – the rule Hywel’s already put in place for the new married me is perfect 🙂
Here’s a picture to finish with, of the dress I made as a practice wedding dress earlier this year, just in time for our shoot in Scotland.  We’ll be shooting a set for Restrained Elegance in my real wedding dress as soon as we’re properly back at work.
So for now, thank you to our friends and supporters, who joined RE and made it possible for us to meet in the first place.  I’m sorry this wasn’t a very edgy post, I’m just full of happiness and wanted to talk about it.  Thank you for reading!