Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Love Letters

Today, I thought I'd share a little of my design process.  Back in November of last year when I was at the Christmas Market at the Harley Gallery they asked if I would like to be part of the showcase that was being planning for the New Year entitled 'Love Letters'.  They were looking for makers who feature text, handwriting and fonts in their work, so I fitted the bill nicely.

It is always a pleasure to be asked to exhibit my work and it usually sends a chain reaction from my brain to my fingers.  The cogs started moving round and the electrodes fired sending idea after idea through my synapses.  I decided, as it was so close to Valentine's Day, it would be ideal to use the Eva Collection as a starting point.  Call it cliche but roses connect nicely to the feminine and will always be the Victorian token of love.

The Eva Collection takes the rose as an observation of  the strong bond between mother and daughter.  As a bud my mother nurtured me to full bloom where I flourished, and now I observe my elderly mother as the faded rose seeing her colour dim as the petals wither and gently but gracefully tumble to the floor.

My idea was to still use the rose structure but perhaps change the paper, introduce additional jewellery items such as a necklet, a wristlet and a different style of brooch, perhaps a brooch bar.

Incorporating more textile elements such as crochet and tatting to embellish the paper and make them appear richer, yet retain their feminine qualities.  It was whilst down at my mother's house doing yet more sorting I came across some old letters that were written by my brother to an old girlfriend.  I loved the idea of using paper with handwriting but I was unsure of the paper quality, it was quite modern and trying to age it purposely would be totally out of the question as it would look contrived.

Once I had the letters in my studio I set to work creating a few roses from the paper.  What did I like about them?  The blue ink stood out as it danced decoratively across the lined paper forming patterns.  If I echoed the colour of the ink by using a very fine tatting thread it might just work to reflect the handwritten patterns.  As you can see in the sketch, I have also added a few ruby red beads, these ended up being swarkowski crystals, a word I can never say the same way twice.

Other ideas that came, went or were developed included a crocheted wristlet embellished with tiny crocheted beads, a brooch bar and a rose brooch with tatting and crystals.  I think I enjoyed creating the brooch bar as I feel it is almost like a medal or an award celebrating beauty.  Now I feel that the brooch bar needs to be developed further........

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