Happy Christmas and thanks :)


My last post this side of Chrimbo !

Time to wind down and hang up my stocking…. are you all set ? Is anyone ever ?

In the meantime, I want to say a big thanks to my sponsors, all the wonderful people and companies that I have collaborated with and interviewed this year including:

Rocket Dog, Kitty Finegan, Janome, Fabric Rehab, Horrockses Fashions, Ditto Fabrics, Fabric Yard, Curtains Made Simple, ZPM Trolley Dolly, Seamstar, MiaFleur, Lekue, Irregular Choice, Beauvamp, Horace Panter, Zakee Shariff, This is Rude, Tatty Devine, Chie Mihara, welovekaoru, Jennie Maizels, Steve Neaves, Wilbur and Gussie, Retrosun, Romero Bryan, Paris ( Coldplays artist in residence ), Anna Lou of London, KissmeZombie, Melody Miller, Dolly Dagger, Serendipity Studio, Loaf, 2d Scrumptious, Bombus and Vowed and Amazed.

It’s been a busy one and I have enjoyed every minute of it ! The prizes have been top notch and very generous. The inspirational advice given by such amazing designers has been invaluable. I’ve got lots more lined up for early next year – and have some exciting news too :)

I hope you have enjoyed my own designs and projects this year ?

If you think you think we are a match made in heaven and are interested in sponsoring LucyLovesYa, running a product giveaway or requesting a product review in 2013 do get in touch. Would love to hear from you.

Wishing you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS…. and will update soon.

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

Image courtesy and copyright of Mike Stimpson 2012

Beehives and Spangly balls !

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was using a vintage Christmas crafts sewing pattern to make some decorations. Well, I used one of them ! and discarded the lace look – I just couldn’t do it :)

This Fairy / Bet Lynch / pink beehive lady is called Ethel, and she now lives on top of our tree. She’s pretty mahoosive, actually… 13 inches tall including the beehive !  The hair do took one whole episode of Holby City and a couple of retro liquors to create ( hence the wonky eyebrows… ). and I finished it off with a pink rose. Of course, it had to be a leopard print frock and she is indulged with a layer of pink netting under the skirt. She has big red earrings à la Pat Butcher – and the gold wings, I felt, finished off her crazy lady outfit.

I deliberated for a while; should I add this wonky eyebrowed lady to my blog ? Initially, I asked my fella to draw the face on but he was in a rush and it all went wrong, hence it all sewn on now, to cover up the calamity !  She still has a slightly wild look in her eye and is definitely remensecent of an 70’s toilet roll cover, but, In the end, I decided – yep !.. and long may she reign…

I also bought some big polystyrene baubles and covered them with gold spray, waited a night for them to dry and then just glued shiny crystals, beads and other random offerings onto them. I then pinned the ribbons on through a button at the top.

There were plans to make some more bits and bobs but have been caught up with sorting out this new sewing room, so we’ve also used some of these kitsch Paperchase decorations and a few obligatory baubles and tinsel, they are really gorgeous though some surprisingly heavy and very delicate.. so it’s just a matter of time really :) … we did have a big box full of things we usually put on the tree, but they are no longer in working order.. long story !

What have you put on your tree this year ? Are you all set for the madness of this coming week ? :)

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

Feel free to use my images, just please ping a link back to me here at LucyLovesYa x

INSPIRE ME – with Horace Panter

Today, ‘Inspire Me’ is with Artist Horace Panter – whom you may well also know as Sir Horace Gentleman, bass player with Iconic Ska band The Specials.

Horace already had a Fine Art degree under his belt when he joined The band in 1977 and so it was just a matter of music, tours and an interesting teaching role, before he would produce his own icon inspired artwork. The first public exhibition of many took place in November 2011 with great response and there are plenty more to come.

News of a 2013 tour with The Specials is out, so all in all, next year is sounding good too.

I could’ve asked many questions to someone with such an interesting and varied life to date – but I managed to narrow them down and hope you enjoy …

You studied art before even joining the Specials – you had your first exhibition at the Strand in London only last year – what has the reaction to your work been so far ?

I think it has surprised people. There have been a lot of positive responses and Iʼve been taken a lot more seriously than I was expecting, you know, the ʻsemi – retired rock star with too much time on his handsʼ reaction, but itʼs been more like ʻwow, this guy can actually paint !ʼ

Do you think it’s important to study your craft at college or university, be it fine art or whatever you choose in life ?
If youʼre going to be a doctor or an architect, then yes ! I suppose it depends on what sort of artist/musician you would like to be. Francis Bacon, for example, never went to art school. It has helped me, I know that, by giving me a credibility I would not otherwise have had. Also, a grounding in Modern Art History has helped but you donʼt need to go to university to study that.

Has working as a musician developed you as an artist – and vice versa ?

Only in as much as it has enabled me to travel and visit art galleries and find inspiration from around the world. No, thatʼs not all, if I wasnʼt a professional musician with lots of ʻdown timeʼ I wouldnʼt have the excess of free time to paint. When Iʼm rehearsing in the studio or doing a gig, I have to fit into a team and concentrate on what works best for the group; when Iʼm painting, Iʼm solo, making all the decisions.

When you are painting do you like to surround yourself with solitude or paintings and music ?

Preparing boards and preliminary stuff I can listen to music, but I canʼt multitask very well; I could never do my homework in front of the TV so, when Iʼm painting, I like solitude.

Did you design The Specials logo ?

Not entirely. Jerry did the two-tone man and I did the 2 -Tone Records bit.

You were Head of Art at a school for autistic children for ten years – how did this come about and did any of the students work inspire you ?

I went into the special needs school as support for one specific pupil. As he settled back into the school, I was ʻabsorbedʼ into the staff and once it was discovered that I had an art degree  (the art teacher was really a PE teacher who took the job because no-one else wanted it … yes, school is like that! ), I was offered the job so a bit ʻunder the radarʼ really. It was a fantastic experience, especially dealing with children on the autistic spectrum. It made me change the way I viewed art – to make it more immediate.

Who and what are your biggest influences ? Is this ever evolving ?

Musically, most stuff on Tamla/Motown and Stax/Atlantic, Chicago Blues and Dub Reggae. Artwise, the list is longer – Henri Rousseau, (Sir) Peter Blake, Wayne Thiebaud, Mark Rothko, Kenneth Noland, Robyn Denny, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichenstein, James Rosenquist – mainly American 1960s artists, but they, the 60sʼ, were my formative years. Lately, I think Iʼm like the Borg out of Star Trek inasmuch as I accumulate everything and it becomes a source for work. I like the phrase ʻappropriation and subversionʼ!!

As a bass player and teacher you are in a supporting role – how does it feel to be the front man ?

The art career is my ʻsolo albumʼ. It is a different kind of creativity.

Are there certain galleries that you look forward to visiting when you’re on tour ?

Oh yes ! There is a probability we will be in New York towards the end of summer. I have never been to the new MOMART. The year before last, we were in Europe and the Ludwig Museum in Cologne was fantastic, as was The Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin.

Is you work influenced by pop art ?  What do you love about it ?
To my way of thinking, Pop Art was to Art History what Punk Rock was to Rock and Roll. You had Abstract Expressionism, which was very elitist and metaphysical ( I love Rothko by the way ) and then along comes a guy with a soup can ! My work is heavily influences by traditional iconography and the word ʻmundaneʼ is used a lot in iconography as it is in Pop Art. ʻElevating the Mundaneʼ is one of the tropes of Pop Art and a lot of my work looks like Pop Art. Peter Blakeʼs technique and his use of colour are also big influences.

I love your cassette paintings, they really remind me of my treasured mix tapes  – if you were making up your ultimate mix tape of 30 minutes / 10 songs.. what would they be and why ?

1. Road Runner, Junior Walker and the All Stars

2. All Down the Line, Rolling Stones ( off Exile on Main Street ) !

3. Too Much Alcohol, J.B. Hutto and the Hawks

4. A Little Bit of Love, Free

5. Outta Space, Billy Preston

6. Dub Tree, Joe Gibbs ( from African Dub Chapter 3 )

7. Trampolene, The Spencer Davies Group ( worldʼs greatest B-Side )

8. PCH, ZZ Top ( great driving music )

9. China Girl, David Bowie ( with Stevie Ray Vaughan channelling Albert King )

10. Pour Me One More Drink, Robert Ward ( the Blues – for real )

What inspired you to write your book  – Ska’d for life ?

I had these two diaries from our US and Japanese tours and my parents had collected 11 scrap books full of Specials and Two-Tone related press. I was always the one that people were being directed to: ʻAsk Horace, he remembers stuff like thatʼ. There had been a couple of ʻfan-relatedʼ attempts at writing about the band but I thought they were far from accurate and no-one in the band had done it … so I did. Also, I twisted my ankle during the summer holidays and had fuck all else to do !!

Could you offer some words of advice for any aspiring artists and musicians reading this on how to fulfill their dreams ?

Self belief and persistence. Oh, and a good manager. Thatʼs A GOOD MANAGER!!

Do you have any exhibitions coming up ? .. and will The Specials be touring next year ? I will look forward to both..

By the time you publish this, The Specials May 2013 UK Tour Dates will have been announced. In 2012 I had 14 exhibitions – great fun but too much! In 2013 I am discussing exhibition dates in Liverpool and Glasgow in the early months and have one pencilled in for Number 9 Gallery in Birmingham for the summer. As soon as I have confirmation of any exhibitions the dates are published on Twitter and Facebook and also in the ʻHoracePanterArtʼ quarterly newsletter … all the logistics are handled by Clare, the woman I love !

A massive thanks to Horace ( and Clare ! ) …it is an honour to interview someone whom I have grown up listening to and loving their music, and now am very inspired by Horace’s artwork too.

You can see more of Horace’s work on his website – www.horacepanterart.com Follow him on Twitter @horacepanterart and you can become a fan facebook for info on upcoming exhibitions and shows.

All images copyright Horace Panter 2012.

Leave me a comment here to say hi or tweet me – @lucylovesyablog I’d love to hear from you :)

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx 

 

Giveaway ! WIN this MiaFleur silk Floriography cushion worth £65 – CLOSED

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new day and a super giveaway !

I’m rather taken with new online homes and interiors Boutique MiaFleur who are very generously offering up this 16″ x 16″ Floriography 100% silk cushion worth £65 as the prize. A very opulent treat for yourself – or a really thoughtful gift for someone lucky in your life, eh ?

The centre panel is machine embroidered with the words “Happiness is to hold flowers with both hands” … hence the name “Floriography” meaning the language of flowers ( I didn’t know that, did you ? ). MiaFleur love that flowers have their own language and can represent so many different things. The cushion has a beautiful raspberry red border with a cream centre panel. The filling is feathers, and it has a button back fastening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.miafleur.com launched recently to fill a gap in the market for truly indivdual homewares with a strong emphasis for items made in Britain. You can expect a quirky mix of handmade textiles, decorative mirrors and pictures, home accessories and gifts, reclaimed and vintage furniture and some incredibly weird and wonderful handmade ceramics.

Scouring the countries craft and design shows, hand selecting the very best in quirky interiors from British designer makers – MiaFleur have a penchant for eclectic styling and a desire to stand out from the crowd.

By the way.. this Tuesday 11th – MiaFleur have a pre – Christmas sale starting with some items marked down by up to 25 % ensuring everyone gets some great gifts at brilliant prices…

To get yourself entered for this giveaway there are just a few things to do.. and they are:

1. Make sure you are following @lucylovesyablog and @MiaFleur_home on Twitter

2. Sign up to the MiaFleur newsletter for special offers, latest products and a free gift with your next order. To do this – click here 

3. Tweet or facebook this quote:

I’ve entered the @lucylovesyablog giveaway to win a gorgeous @MiaFleur_home silk cushion worth £65 check it out ! www.lucylovesya.com 

4. Leave me a comment under this post to let me know you have done the above – and to validate your entry.

You’re done, dusted.. and entered !

T’s and C’s

The winner will be picked at random on Friday 14th December at 6pm – and notified by email.

This giveaway is open to UK residents only – more overseas giveaways coming soon !

Prize not redeemable for cash and no alternative prize offered.

P and P supplied by MiaFleur

One entry per person

Thanks for your entry… and good luck !

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

INSPIRE ME – with Zakee Shariff

Zakee-portrait-by-AL-Newman-copyThere’s nothing like artwork that makes you feel happy.

Having luckily discovered the artist and designer Zakee Shariff a little while ago during her collaboration with fashion website ASOS – I fell in love with her work. Vibrant art, cool designs – and always with a positive message.

With her cult following – Zakee’s clothing collections have sold globally and she has worked with many fashion brands including People Tree and Urban Outfitters.

She has had a versatile career so far having also worked as a stylist, in publishing, as an art director and interior design – amongst other avenues.

I am ever so slightly in awe and hope you enjoy Inspire Me today with Zakee Shariff !…. a-to-zHighRes

You started out with your own clothing label as well as doing your art work – How did you get into fashion design ?

I had never thought of starting a clothing label and a dear friend who is one of the owners of a mens and women’s clothing label called YMC You Must Create, convinced me to start my own label and very kindly introduced me to various contacts to enable me to make it happen. It all just kinda unfolded.

I always knew I wanted to work both as an artist and a designer. My training was in printed textiles but it was very much rooted in painting and drawing and abstracting from that into design.  So it was a great way to explore that process, and learn about the business side too. Youth_0510

You’ve worked with textiles, fine art, illustration, styling, interior and product design.. and you’ve also been an art director – has this worked out as a natural progression ?

Definitely. One led to another and another and back again, like a creative dance.

 

Is there one particular field of design that you enjoy the most ?

I enjoy all the different design projects I have been blessed with doingI love designing textiles. Peace-heart-cushion-small

 

There are very positive messages within your designs – is this something that is important to you ?

Yes it is, I hope my work can give people joy and maybe help them to think more about the world from a different perspective.

 

Your collaboration with People Tree is going really well – how did this originally come about ?

 A lovely friend if mine Vickie Snow from Snow PR introduced me, as she thought we were a match, and we all just clicked. They are lovely to work with and very inspiring in the the way they are able to create everything they do ethically correct.

Safia the owner tends to sit with me and we go through old prints of mine and we brainstorm and I then recreate the prints and make some new ones and then her team and i work together to get them right. I don’t get involved in the garment shapes and styling….its purely a focused and joyous experience of drawing, making patterns and colouring them. And  I create the prints and we work on colours together.

 

Having worked with ASOS, Urban Outfitters, Japanese store MAYZ, Roxy Heart.. to name just a few – what do you enjoy the most about collaborations ?

I have such a love of collaborating. I thrive when I work with another creative or a team of people and make a vision come alive. That is very fulfilling and inspiring to me.

 

Describe a perfect working day for you ?

Drawing, painting or screen printing listening to some great music in my studio – loud ! main_8bd11_MOVEMENTANDCHANGEOFTHEj

 

What kind of music do you listen to ?

I love listening to all different types of music when I work,  it depends on the mood I’m in.
I’d say when I’m printing however,  I like to listen to loud Hip Hop, Soul, R n B, Dancehall and reggae.. a bit of a soul girl then, eh ?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                                        Can you offer some inspirational advice on how to get into fashion design and textiles ? 
Be honest to your creative vision, ask questions, ask for support there are amazing beings out there that do want to help. Work hard, research and give your self permission to have fun and make mistakes. Do choose to do work experience, it’s the best way to learn. Knock on doors, as you find your path and follow your instinct. Have a clear vision of what you would like to achieve, even if its a really basic feeling and the rest is unsure, get in touch with the ultimate desire. That sets you on your way for sure. main_758bc_PEACE2j

What are you working on at the moment and when will we get to see it ? :)

daydream-freedom-bigger-2

I’ve just created a few prints for a great new kids collection called Ruff and Huddle. www.ruffandhuddle.co.uk The collaboration is for AW13. I love making prints for kids.

I’m creating a new print for my lovely friend Nick who has a beautiful womenswear brand. Studio Nicholson. www.studionicholson.com. It’s a very chic minimal collection.

I’m working on two personal projects. One is product based and the other is a group of new fine art screen prints.

The rest is pending research that I am doing.
Thanks Zakee :) Full of talent – and what a lovely person ! If you’d like to see more of her work online – go to www.zakeeshariff.com, become a fan on Facebook for updates and/or follow her on Twitter !

Please do leave me a lovely comment and share the love by clicking on the links below xx

INSPIRE ME – with Tatty Devine

Rosie_Harriet_TattyDevieToday is a good day. A really good day and I’m a little bit excited… because I am sharing my recent interview with the creators of a brand that I LOVE more than all the tea in China…

Rosie Wolfenden and Harriet Vine have made a big name for themselves over the last thirteen years as Co Founders and designers of cult jewellery brand Tatty Devine, creating the most unique, fun and clever pieces made from often from perspex, but also wood, veneer, leather and enamel.

Their designs are featured around the clock in magazines such as Vogue, Grazia, Elle, Cosmopolitan… and stand firm as one of United Kingdoms most original and exciting brands.

As it’s coming up to Christmas, I thought I might also mention their fab  “How to make jewellery with Tatty Devine” book – a really good idea for any crafty, jewellery loving people in your life. It’s 125 pages of creative inspiration and shows you how to transform any object into a new accessory and, what you will need to get started. At £12.99 I think it’s a very good price ! It’s on my list ! You will also find on their website that they sell stitching patterns and run jewellery making workshops too.

When you met at College, did you hit it off straight away ?

At Chelsea the year was split into 4 groups over 2 floors, Harriet and I were in different groups on different floors, so it look a while for us to become friends. In the second year the roof fell in on where I was living, I’d heard that Harriet had a spare room so I rang her up. Once I’d moved in we hit it of straight away.

 

 

 

 

 

You opened your first boutique on Brick Lane, thirteen years ago – did you know even then how loved and popular your brand would become ?

We had no idea ! We were just having so much fun and our criteria was to have a good time, make original things ( we just didn’t want to look like everyone else ) and not get ‘proper jobs’. We’ve stuck to all these things, although it could be argued that we now have proper jobs !

I can spot a ‘Tatty Devine’ piece a mile off.. what would you say makes your jewellery so unique and distinctive ?

I think its a few things, the first being that our techniques are unique to us as we have created and developed them, that we never want to go for the obvious – so I think there is always an unusualness to our jewellery and we like to think our jewellery is of the highest quality – which makes it stand out.

Do you have a current best seller ?

Other than the perennial name necklace we have been selling out of fox brooches and the Arrgh Necklace has been doing very well.


You have collaborated with lots of creative people so far, who would you love to work with next ? 

We’d love to work with Grayson Perry.

 

Where do you get your inspiration for new designs and how far ahead do you work on new seasonal pieces ?

We’re currently finishing off AW13, so for the non seasonal collections we tend to work3-6 months ahead.

Are you music fans ? If so, what do you like to listen to when designing ?

We love music, it’s always been central to what we do. When we’re designing we listen to whatever we are currently into, although there are always old favourites like Belle and Sebastian, Electrelane or ESG.

As well as making your products, you also run jewellery making workshops and sell a “How to make jewellery” book – what inspired this ?

We’ve always done events to celebrate Tatty Devine and get involved with the customer. Our customers just love anything experiential and at heart we are all about DIY so we thought it would be fantastic to do a book with making ideas and to support this with workshops to give people the chance to make some of the pieces with the Tatty team.

With your jewellery stocking in over 300 stores worldwide as well as your own, how do you make it all happen ?

We’ve got a team of 30 people that make it all happen. Harriet and I design and oversee everything, but then we have people making, packing, doing the admin, working in the shop and workshops, doing the press and marketing, the accounts, the customer care and someone to look after our wholesale customers and attend trade shows.

What do you love most about  being designers and having your own business ?

The freedom to do what we want to do and the joy of making people happy with our jewellery.

 

What are your career highlights to date ?

Opening our shop in Covent Garden, the pop up in Selfridges and working with people like Rob Ryan, Gilbert and George and Tate.

 

Can you offer advice to anyone reading this who has a unique brand idea but doesn’t know where to start ?

Start small, let it develop organically and put all your energy and enthusiasm into it. Most importantly have faith in your idea and in yourself.

What can we expect next from Tatty Devine? Personally, I can’t wait…. :)

So much, 2013 is going to be a very exciting year.

Highly inspirational stuff and thanks so much to them both for taking the time out for a little chat. Here’s hoping for a Grayson Perry collaboration soon !

Do you have a favourite Tatty Devine design ? Please do leave me a comment below and spill the beans… ? :)

Follow Tatty Devine on Twitter, Become a fan on Facebook and you can see an abundance of cool jewellery, learn more about their workshops.. oh, and check out the brill book on their website.

All images copyright Tatty Devine 2012.

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

 

Tutorial – making a bag with bamboo handles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As promised, after the recent bag that I made – here is my tutorial on how to make yourself ( or a friend ! ) a lined bag like this with bamboo handles. Some of you mentioned that you were thinking of making one as a Christmas present – a nice idea and it won’t cost the earth to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will need:

2 pieces of your chosen fabric for the outer bag ( this is a pretty heart needlecord from Fabric Rehab ) sized 40cm ( 15 7/8″.. ish x 20″ plus seam allowances all around each piece of 1.5cm ( 5/8″ )

2 pieces of fabric for your lining, 40  x 50 cm ( 20″ ), again not forgetting the 1.5cm seam allowance.

Sewing machine ( is it also possible to sew all by hand – will just take longer )

thread colour of your choice

sewing needle

pins

fabric scissors

bamboo handles – mine are from Fabric Yard and size 13.8cm ( 5 4/8″ ) in diameter.

Assuming you have already cut your fabric ready, pin the two outer pieces of fabric together so that right sides are facing each other ( and if you have a pattern on it, that it’s all facing the right way ! ) and stitch them together with a 1.5cm seam allowance, all along what will be the ( 50cm ) bottom of the bag and also stitch together 20cm up the edges –  I have marked the fabric on this rectangle piece to show you exactly what I mean. Nip the bottom corners off with some scissors, be careful not too cut through the stitching. Press the seams flat.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Repeat this process with the lining fabric, right sides facing.

Next, it’s time to sew the lining to the outer bag pieces. This sounds a little fiddly but when you’ve done it once, it will make sense.. hopefully !..

Turn the outer bag inside out and pop it inside the lining of the bag .. working on the left hand side of the bag first, place the unstitched side seams together with right sides facing making sure that both the lining and the outer bag meet at the 20cm stitch you made earlier ( see pic below ) and then pin it ( see second pic below )…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then stitch them together with a 1.5cm seam from the top of one side down to the middle where you meet the top of the 20cm stitch. Stop here. Then repeat this from the top of the other side ( we are still on the left hand of bag, don’t sew the right hand side yet ) so that you meet the top of the 20cm stitch poin again. Stop. Turn the bag the right way out and check it –  ultimately, when you turn the bag the right side out, you want it to look like this pic. If you still have a little gap then the stitches haven’t met each other yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Repeat with the right hand side of the bag.

Now, turn the bag all the right way out, to double check that the right side of your outer bag is on the outside and the lining is inside and all seams should be hidden away in the wrong sides of the bag. Give inside and outside a press as this is the last chance you’ll have to do this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turn back out to the right way again. Fold and press both the the lining and outer bag inwards by 1.5cm ( as above ) and press – and then turn it on once more by 3cm ( like the pic below ) and press again. If you have thinner or thicker bamboo handle, you may need to adjust how much you turn the fabric over by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using your first bamboo handle, fold the 3cm pressed fabric around this handle and pin it as you go. Don’t do it too tight, mind… or you won’t be able to gather the bag around the handle once you’ve sewn it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you’ve pinned it all, sew the folded fabric by hand along the edge to only the lining inside ( so that you can’t see the stitches on the outer side ) and repeat with the other side and bamboo handle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re done :)

Does this all make sense ? I hope so :)

I think in total, I spent about £11 on materials, so a not too bad priced pressie that just requires the time to make it.

Please let me know if and when you make this – and how you get on.. any questions just leave me a comment under here and I will get back to you in no time !

I love to hear your thoughts so please do leave me a comment…

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

INSPIRE ME – with Chie Mihara

91There are certain shoe designers who radiate individuality within their work. To be able to do this – and mix it up with beauty and vintage inspiration is my idea of heaven !

Chie Mihara started out in 2002 and now ten years on, stocks her shoes, boots and sandals with over one thousand clients worldwide, including Selfridges in the United Kingdom and Neiman Marcus in the United States. She even has a really pretty and distinctive bridal range.

I have been a bit of a fan of Chie Mihara for some time, so am pleased to be sharing some of her inspirations with you today…

How did you originally get into shoe design ? Was it always a dream of yours ?

I was always into fashion. For me, shoes was a big unhappy story because I could never find a shoe that I liked for my 40 feet… but never thought I would be a shoe designer !!

Being into fashion takes you to all it’s areas.

Can you tell me the process from design to actual fruition ?

The longest process is the searching. I go to the shoe museum and look for images from different decades, also look for my fashion and accessories book archive I hold in my studio, do trips to Paris, Milan and look around what´s cooking…shops, movies, music, everything is feeding your mind with information.

Later I start defining last shapes, heel shapes, soles, platforms…go to leather fairs in Milan and Paris to see and buy from the tanneries. Once you get all these information you can start drawing…that can take three to four weeks…

Then you pass the catalogue finished with all details to the factory, once the patterns are made. The factory makes the samples and now we are ready to show to our customers from all around the world. we do fifteen to eighteen fairs per season and from the selling season we go to production time, that could take another three to four months until the stores would receive the goods to sell.. shoes

How many seasons ahead are you with your designing ? 

I finished summer 2013 a few months ago.  Right now for example, I am working on the fall 2013 /14 wich will be shown in fairs of early december through march and the shops will have it delivered by July / August.

Are all of your shoes handmade ? 

Yes. All shoes are hand made. even in China ! but of course the process we use here in Europe is more hands on and little details are watched carefully.

Which era’s do you draw inspiration from ?

I love the 30´s and 40´s because it was a very down to earth times and fashion was very utilitarian. Also enjoy the late 70´s and early 80´s for the fun and funky of disco and the explosion of youth. MG_06092

What would you say sets your style aside from other shoe brands ?

Comfort and the very personal style. I never look to what other brands are doing, I dont care. I only look and work for my never ending joy of  creating ! can´t allow myself being too comfortable or relaxed, I have to be hungry at all times !

Do you like to listen to music when working and if so what inspires you ?

Always ! music carries you to another state of mind…sometimes when I´m creating, I repeat the same cd over and over again…

With your shoes stocking in over a thousand stores worldwide now, this must keep you super busy! How do you relax when you get the time ?

I have three children (15, 13 and 11) and my husband, we do lots of things together. I have a very balanced life. I don´t live in a big city, we are sorrounded by mountains and the beach …we are in the mediterranean, its really nice.

But, I´m a very active person, I don´t know what´s relaxing and watching tv…never do that.

I take work on weekends and thats relaxing for me !

How long have you been designing wedding shoes as well ? They are stunning :)

Thanks ! I started wedding shoes four or five years ago…it was an easy choice, because my shoes are already romantic. Some clients would do the white combination and i decided to do it myself.

Could you give a bit of advice to new designers out there ?

You have to work hard on exploring your creativity. Develop techniques to get more original ideas and concepts. Don´t copy other designers! keep your personal integrity ! be original !

tomillo-tanasha-tamaia1

Good looking shoes designed by a very inspiring woman ! Thanks so much, Chie.

I love the fact that Chie focuses on her own idea’s and remains unique !   

You can follow Chie Mihara on Twitter – @ChieMiharaStore, become a fan on Facebook and see more designs right here.

All images copyright Chie Mihara 2012.

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

 

Kitsch fabric, 50s dress… I’m in heaven…

dress1I just wanted to show you this simple little vintage style dress that I’ve just finished. The fabric has been sitting in my cupboard for over a year.. maybe slightly because I like it alot, I didn’t want to use it up on something that didn’t get plenty of airings ! Luckily there’s enough left to make something else with it too.  It’s a nice feeling, making things that I can keep and pass onto my little daughters ( they already have their eyes on half of my wardrobe ! ) and this fabric is great quality so it should last the test of time… I just wish I could remember where I bought it from, incase anyone likes it.. but I can’t, sorry !

The bodice is from a pattern, in fact the same one I used for the polka dot dress for my friend, Lou ( I’ve added a detachable bow too, similar to her dress ) But, the skirt, I had to cut out a rectangle of fabric for front and back and gather it as it just wasn’t wide enough for full circle. I really wish there were more fabrics with wider widths, because it would make dressmaking sooo much easier. I guess there is always the option of having a seam down the skirt front as well as the sides, but personally, I prefer a simpler look. The dress has a cream lining and I popped some netting left over from my wedding dress, onto the skirt to add some fullness. I really recommend chalk marking the lining of the skirt where you are about to sew the netting in before doing it, it can end up wonky otherwise and it’s a right old pavlova palaver !

Now, accessorizing this… hmmm….Dolly Dagger have a very pretty Tarina Tarantino lucite bead bracelet that would work really well with the dress ( hint hint Father Cwistmas ! )…

… and I love these Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Patchuli III wedge heels, also from Dolly Dagger

What do you think, bow or no bow ? Are you making anything 50s at the moment ?  Do you have a favourite dress that you’ll keep forever more ? Leave me a comment and tell me, tell me !! :)

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

INSPIRE ME – with welovekaoru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a firm believer that a cup of tea tastes so much nicer in a cup and saucer – and perfect if it’s vintage inspired, beautiful, fine bone china. Like all of these pretty welovekaoru pieces, right before your eyes :)

Kaoru Parry established welovekaoru after graduating from Central St Martins College in London. She owns Shoreditch collective boutique  Luna and Curious “offering a cornucopia of finely rendered objects and clothing” as well as stocking her own full collection of tableware.

The ethos of welovekaoru is to preserve the traditional values of real craftsmanship and work closely with small independent family run potteries to produce their pieces exclusively in the United Kingdom.

I had a little chat with Kaoru recently….

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                   What did you study at Central St Martins and would you recommend college if you want to become a designer ?

I studied BA Ceramic Design at Central St Martins. The course has great contacts with the industry and puts a lot of energy into preparing you for the real world. It also houses a great team of technicians and facilities to assist in the practical aspects of design and manufacture. Now that you have to pay so much for further education, I would make sure that the course is definitely right for you. Even look to other European countries as their fees are often lower.

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Where do you get your inspiration from for your designs ?

Anything old inspire my designs. I like the way beautifully crafted objects were often made to an industrial scale yet each one by hand and by highly skilled artisans.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                   I first spotted your teacups in Liberty London – did it take long before you were asked to stock in lots of prestigious stores ?

I was discovered by Liberty at my first trade show in 2009. They have been stocking my designs since.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                     Would you say your work is influenced by Japan ….. having been born there ? 

Sometimes. The Take range ( green bamboo design ) was a direct influence from a beautiful antique kimono. But it’s probably more our company philosophy that’s been influenced most by Japan. Our values of excellent craftsmanship and quality.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                      Can you talk me through your process from your initial ideas to production ?

Lots of research and development followed by sketches and maquettes. I have great relationships with the small family run potteries in Stoke where we develop new products together. It may take years to finally get a new product into the market.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                       Do you have a signature design ?

Not really but my ABC tea cups and mugs continue to be one of my best sellers.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                     Can you offer some advice for anyone reading this wanting to start a new brand ?

Work hard, do your research, understand business especially pricing, production and marketing.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                            What are your welovekaoru’s plans for 2013 and beyond ?

I’m really excited about 2013 as I’m going to launch a new range of products that are not strictly tableware. I’m also looking forward to interesting collaborations and projects.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                         Thanks Kaoru ! Really elegant pieces, don’t you think ?..You can follow Kaoru’s store Luna and Curious on Twitter – @lunaandcurious or become a fan on Facebook.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway.. win a Janome Mega Tote Bag – it’s perfect for all of your sewing accessories !

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx