Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Christmas Ideas - part 2

I'm still trying my best to have as much of a handmade Christmas as possible. As I said before, photos will have to wait until after Christmas so as not to spoil any surprises. However, due to time constraints, it hasn't been possible to make lots all by myself, so I have bought some things from fellow crafters as presents - I don't think this is cheating! Again I can't reveal details, but I will share with you the work of a few people I met over the weekend.

First is Tula Moon. She does wonderful artwork that looks like patchwork. Her paintings range from Liverpool icons like the Liver Buildings and the Superlambanana, to owls and other cute designs. She also makes brooches, pendants and more. Check out her website: http://www.tulamoon.co.uk/

For beautiful vintage jewellery, check out http://www.folksy.com/shops/clairepalmer

Her jewellery is really unusual and has a fabulous vintage charm to it. I bought a georgous pink Eiffel Tower necklace from her for myself. I know that's naughty but it signified my love for all things French so beautifully I couldn't pass it up.

Her sister is a fabulous photographer, I bought some of her Christmas cards. Check out http://www.helenpalmerphotography.co.uk for more info.

There was also a company there who make handmade vegan soaps and lip balms, none of which are tested on animals which I thought was a fantastic idea. Check them out at http://www.etsy.com/shop/mmmmhandmadesoap

I was really pleased to see that Kirsty Allsop has extended her homemade home series to a 3 night special called Kirsty's Homemade Christmas. I really enjoyed her homemade home series and tonight's Christmas edition did not disappoint. It is full of great design and craft ideas for Christmas and continues tomorrow and Thursday night. The only problem is that they should have put the series on slightly earlier to allow for more time to organise and make things before Christmas. I 've often wondered why there aren't any programmes on tv about crafting/sewing etc. Kirsty's Homemade Home and Christmas are a breath of fresh sir amongst the monotony on our screens. There was another brief series on either bbc 3 or 2 earlier this year about swapping clothes and altering things, a kind of "make do and mend" idea, which I enjoyed, and of course there is Project Catwalk and Project Runway (of which I will blog in detail tomorrow after the final show) but apart from those there is nothing else. So sad. Anyway, be sure to check her programme out if you haven't seen it as it is really good.

Monday, 7 December 2009

What a Weekend

This weekend was a mad, crazy one! I attended the New Village Fete again at Heebie Jeebies, and this time I was placed right next to the front door. It was a great event, with lots of different stall holders to last time I was there. Plenty of people turned up which was nice, and I did really well. I completely sold out of Russian Dolls which was a surprise. I didn't sell a single one last time.
It's a great venue I think, with bags of character. The food and live music was great too. What really made my day was that I was approached by somebody who owns a shop. She bought a lot of my earrings and some Russian dolls and is going to sell them on. She also wants to stock my bags which I'm really excited about. Still can't believe my things are for sale in an actual shop!

Some of the other stall holders asked me to participate in another fair they had organised on Sunday. This time it was in the centre of town above a cafe. So on Saturday night I quickly got busy making more Russian dolls for the next day! Big thanks to my mum for all of her help.

This venue was really lovely, a nice spacious, light room and again we did really well. We managed to pull in a lot of shoppers who were passing by. It was nice to see that people appreciate buying handmade things, and are looking for an alternative to the highstreet.
I really enjoyed this weekend because I met some lovely people, but it really tired me out! I've also got a lot more things to make for my shop and for any other fairs I may do, so much for that break I was talking about in my last post! Then again, I do really enjoy what I'm doing at the moment.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Inspiration and Creative Processes

I'm often asked where I get my ideas from, and what inspires me to create. When I tell people that I love Japanese popular culture and fashion, people automatically think of Kimonos, Geshias and green tea. However, there is so much more to Japanese culture than that these days.
First and foremost I am always inspired by my fabric choices. When I see a certain print, I start to visualise it as something else. I always seem to get my main inspiration from the print and colour. Then I begin to experiment with different shapes and curves, and somehow a bag is born! I didn't realise how difficult it actually is to describe your creative process until I actually sat down and tried to write this.

To help illustrate what I am trying to say, I wanted to share with you one of my favourite designers, Akira Minagawa, and his label Mina perhonen. His designs epitomise what I love about fashion; playful use of colour, print and shape.

I love this bird bag, so cute, and the way the feathers are leaves is really clever, like a bird in a tree. I love the print of the dress as well.

I currently love bows. My latest bag design features a large bow on the front and I've been thinking about using them elsewhere in my work. I love how they have created a bow necklace here, a simple and sweet design.

Another great, simple use of embelishments on this dress. A classic fabric rose. They are used frequently throughout the mina collections.

I love the simplicity of this dress, and the bold use of colour. I also like the contrast of this blue with the yellow leather of the bird bag. This colour combination is reflected in my blue bow bag.

Birds are a prominent motif throughout the Mina collections, and I noticed today how almost every fabric I've used lately has a bird motif on it!

I think I love Mina because of the use of patterns and the avant-garde feel to the collections. When making bags, you can put colours and shapes together that you wouldn't necessarily use in clothing and I love to take inspiration from avant-garde designers and experiment with something new.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Busy times...

This week has been a crazy busy one already. I'm doing another craft fair this Saturday, again at Heebie Jeebies, and hopefully it will be just as much fun as the last one. So I've been busy getting things ready for that. I've also spent some time, well, quite a lot of time, making a page for the shop on facebook. I find facebook so difficult to use and so frustrating but I've finally managed it and a link is posted at the side of this blog so please become a fan!

I've also been discovering the delights of flickr, and the wonderful sewing and crochet groups that are on there. There are some really talented people. I'm still in the beginning stages of discovering groups, but so far I'm loving the echino! group and have added some of my photos, and the u-handbag group.
After this weeks craft fair I will be taking a short break over christmas and won't be doing any other fairs until next year. I'm really looking forward to some time off over so that I can get my life in order and to do some more making for myself. I really want to get my blanket finished so I can start other projects. But for now it's time to get back to it and finish off a few more bags for Saturday's sale!