Monday, 22 December 2008

Today I went with Lyssa to Chatsworth House to see the Christmas decorations! Absolutely gorgeous, they are all based around the beautiful paper art of Jan Pienkowski, creating wonderful tableaus of shadow puppet style cut outs at various intervals through the house.

All the trees were in white and gold and many of the rooms had been adorned with fabulous swags of fir and twinkling lights. A truly magical experience. Chatsworth is always spectacular but at Christmas it is even more so.

Before going round the house we wandered through the grounds, admiring the fabulous shapes of branches and contrasts of leafs and statues, then we got lost in the maze... but so did everyone else! hurah!

We had booked online and had a wonderful afternoon tea in the carriage restaurant, led to our reserved table completely by passing the queue. The food was lovely, with tiny sandwiches and scones and cakes. They kept replenishing our pots of tea and refilling the cake stand too!!

Because it got dark early we were able to admire the illuminated trees at the front of the house and the dramatic floodlighting, what a lovely start to Christmas ;0

Thursday, 4 December 2008

The effigy corset

Thought you might like to see my finished version of the Elizabethan "effigy" corset. It was created for Harman Hay for whom I'm also making a lovely Tudor open fronted robe, mmmmmm. They will be used for a living history display I believe.

I used the Reconstructing History pattern as a base, adding my own touches where I felt it needed it.
It has four fabric layers, the top one is silk, and over 90 boned channels...

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Just discovered this extraordinary photographer whose beautiful work focuses on lush lush costumes and exotic models. Vena-Art is the name of her company, based in Belgium. She also organises a fabulous Ball type event which would be well worth a visit.

Every picture looks like a film poster for a fabulous fantasy period drama that I'd be just desparate to see!!!

Hope to see a lot more of her work in the future...

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Just had to share this fantastic site with you all. The costumers guide to movies

It contains encyclopedic information on every costume of note from every "fab-frock" film, with loads of close up photos and details of film costume exhibitions around the world.

Readers of the site are encouraged to send in pictures they have taken from exhibitions, as well as contributing to a wonderful "same frock different film" article where the stars are the dresses who turn up in (often wildly) differing films.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Regency Ball

We had an absolutely glorious time at the Regency ball in Bath.

It was held for the first time at the assembly rooms , Imust admit the sight of 100+ couples dancing away in fabulous costumes was truly magnificent.

We all attended the dancing lesson and cream tea in the afternoon which was great fun and gave us a head start on the dances of the evening!

I went down with "the ladies", looking ever so haughty here and dashing Captain Adam. It was lovely to see some familiar faces and we made some fabulous new friends who had an equal capacity for tea and cake!

Everyone made their own gowns with just a little pattern cutting assistance from yours truly, and Lesleys gloves, all her own work, were truly spectacular!

We stayed at Bath youth hostel which is a lovely regency townhouse, although looking a little shabbier than we remembered. and also visited the fabulous thermae spa for a twighlight relaxation and gossip session. All in all a delightful long weekend!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Ladies Afternoon tea

In the spirit of life as art, My birthday party this year was a delightful tea party in the garden with ten lovely ladies. Poor Hubby was banished for the weekend but i did save him some cheese scones...

I baked many cakes and biscuits and got a bit carried away with the icing! These sweet Bollywood flower biscuits were inspired by Peggy Porschens fabulous book on cake decorating and the main cake was created to reflect the dining room curtains! Which are gorgeous gorgeous fabric from Hyena...

Altogether it was just too beautiful to eat, especially when presented on my grandmothers tea set, but we did anyway. Cheryl gave us taster reflexology massage which was absolutely wonderful, then of course it was cocktail time and we chatted over mai tais and white russians till the early hours!

What an elegant and refined Party!

Friday, 23 May 2008

Wedding Season

Just finished Katie Ffordes new book "Wedding Season" which was partly inspired by, wait for it, Me !

It is a wonderful romantic romp through the world of the wedding planners and designers/florists etc with lots of thwarted passions, mistaken romantic intentions and great descriptions of gorgeous wedding fripperies. Perfect summer garden or honeymoon holiday reading.

I am so proud to be named as an inspiriation in the credits, I was able to give Katie some insight into the design and making process of a couture wedding gown as well as running your own studio.
The details Katie absorbed whilst on the Kindred Spirits corset weekend shine through in the character of Elsa, the wedding gown designer!

Those who were also on the corset course will remember Katie was not as bad at sewing as she claims either, despite keeping us all entertained for the weekend with hysterical stories... hurah for 24 inch waists ;)

Her description of the regency party in the novel also reminded me that tickets for the regency ball in Bath in September are now sold out!!!
I shall be there of course, with my delightful friends for cake and champagne and perhaps a smidgeon of dancing....
Although not in this gorgeous silk gown which was created as last year for Kirsten, who got married in a castle!

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Just put up the new dates on the website for victorian corsets, tiaras and fascinators. I'm already swamped with excited emails and phonecalls! I do intend to run some more- flat fronted corsets and pattern cutting too have been requested, but I need to find a weekend to fit them in! I'm just sooo busy!!!

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

polymer clay cruise

O.K. This is my idea of heaven. A whole cruise dedicated to playing with clay and living in the lap of luxury, who could ask for anything more? Polymer Paradise Clay Cruise.... leaves from New Orleans on April 19th 2008 and sails to the carribean. Without me. Hmmm, maybe I could stow away, sigh.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Just been to see "The other Boelyn girl". Wow what smashing costumes, all designed by Sandy Powell, a favourite of mine.

It was particularly nice to see the mens costumes being really padded and HUGE sleeves all round ;) with Eric Bana looking very regal too.
The Tudor corsets were flattering to all the actresses which surely must be a first for a costume drama. Who can forget poor Kiera knightlys expanse of bony chest bared in "Pride and Prejudice"? Come on designers, if the actresses don't have the cleavage cover it up with something pretty, please!

Monday, 24 March 2008

Easter weekend Polymer clay extravaganza!

Just had a great time playing with clay and creating my entries for the bead and button magazine "bead dreams" competition. I'm really please with the objects d'art but it's the first time i've entered anything for competition so we'll see...

I used kato clay liquid medium on some pieces, which is awsome, by far the most transparent liquid clay on the market, really good viscosity too, no air bubbles and a wonderful smooth finish, as you can see by the piece on the right. I shall definitely be using it again! Donna Kato's new book The art of polymer clay surface awsome as well, very inspirational for those serious about clay!

Thursday, 20 March 2008

New Article in Beads & Beyond

I was pleased to see my latest article looking very pretty in the April edition of Beads & Beyond. It was a commission to promote the "Egyptian Treasures" competition in the magazine, the prize is a trip to the Tutankhamen Exhibition at the O2 center in London.

The gorgeous artifacts are well worth a visit, although I've been told they don't actually have the original king Tut sarcophagus in the exhibition...I was fortunate enough to see it at the Cairo Museum whilst on honeymoon and it was deemed just too priceless to be allowed out of Egypt!

The article is called"Egyptian Treasures: Jewellery set inspired by the scarabs and gems of Egypt", and uses polymer clay as well as some gorgeous beads from my stash! I took molds from some of the smaller sculpty scarabs I made ages ago, and made them up to look like pure burnished gold, adding a bunny in faux-jade as a centre piece. The rabbit, in Egyptian hieroglyphics, means 'no'. Any excuse for bunnies :)

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Black Meringue

Wow! What a super magazine...

Just received a copy of Black Meringue through the post this morning. For those not in the know this is a new "alternative" wedding magazine. It oozes style from every page, beautifully photographed and laid up, while covering everything individual and unusual; from Bollywood style ceremonies to Burlesque, Gothic and Disney. The spring issue even has an article on unusual acts you can hire as entertainment...

Obviously they wanted to use photographs of some of the gorgeous gowns from Bridal Originals which look fabulous in the mix of unusual and extravagant outfits. This bustle gown and opera cape was made for one of my lovely brides last year and is one of the featured outfits in the magazine.

It's so nice to see truly unusual and original wedding ideas being given their own glossy at last!

Monday, 18 February 2008

Polymer Clay at Claires Beautiful Beadshop

What a busy week! I've just finished leading a polymer clay workshop in the newly opened Belper store, Claires Beautiful Beads which was lots of fun. Everyone made wonderful things, it's always great to see how different things look when individuals bring their own taste in color and style to a project... we did millfiori, photocopy transfers and a few faux precious stone effects too. Not bad for an evenings 'play' :)

I'm off tomorrow to Stafford College to teach millinery to the HND students. we're doing "fascinators" loads of feathers and net, perhaps some Dior roses and ribbon manipulation, we need to pull out all the stops for their end of year fashion show! It's a great opportunity for the students to ask all those questions about working as a designer in "the real world".

It's a very tough and competitive world in the creative arts, no matter what area you want to go into. You have to be really focused and extremely hard-working to be successful. More so now than ever...