Tuesday, 11 June 2013

New work and a sneak peek

Well I thought it was time I peeked my head around the corner and mentioned I am still here and I am still stitching away.In fact if you laid your curious ear against my front door you would be greeted with that soothing familiar echo created by thread being pulled through my embroidery hoop/drum.I like my fabric tight so my hoop becomes almost drum like when in use.

I have quite a few pieces in progress at the moment and a lot of my time has been dedicated to my new pattern business which will be up and running early next year.I obviously design my own embroidery patterns but designing them for fellow embroiderers to use is a completely different experience. I'm in awe of those who have made a success of this chosen path.The talented LILIPOPO and SEWJENAISSANCE spring to mind. I'm persevering though and it's very exciting because it is a slightly younger aesthetic and I'm getting to explore ideas that I've tucked away over the past few years which wouldn't really fit in with GGB. I've had the new business name registered for a while now so it's great to actually be working on logos,etc.

Back to GGB though and I wanted to show you my new Custom Name Embroideries now available to order in my Etay shop.I adapted my Summer Wanderings Designs to incorporate a banner which can contain a name or words.I was thinking about this for a while because I had been told by a lot of my customers that they were ordering the pieces for their daughters,granddaughters,etc and chose the hair and eye colour accordingly.So now you can choose the hair and eye colour,the fabric for the dress and your chosen name so it will be truly custom made and hopefully more special for that reason.I have been asked several times if I'm going to create a boy design but I've always thought my style is too feminine but I harbour a wish to overcome this especially as I'd like to design one for my son.I do a love a challenge so fingers crossed.

Well I'll say cheery bye for now and thank you for visiting,it's lovely to have you here,
Cassandra xxx

Monday, 29 April 2013

The seamstress

It's been a while since Gracie told you about any of her visitors to her bazaar so here we are;this is 'the seamstress' She's no ordinary seamstress though- young maidens have been known to sell all they treasure just to have the seamstress make them a gown.You see the seamstress gives her young customer a silver thimble which they must place under their pillow as they sleep.The next day the seamstress will wear the same thimble as she sews the gown,all the whilst muttering strange words and working so quickly it would make one's head spin to watch.At twilight,the young maiden will find their new gown in a cedarwood box on their doorstep along with a delicate fine silver thimble necklace.
Gracie has met a few maiden's wearing the tell tale thimble necklaces and has to admit she has never met happier ladies.They love to tell of how the day they first slipped on their new gowns;their dreams have come true and joy has followed them since.
Gracie pondered whether the seamstress had stitched herself one of these bewitching gowns but maybe she had as she guessed stitching with hope and dreams everyday must be a joyful thing indeed.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Sleeping Beauties

I finished these 'Sleeping Beauty' embroideries a while ago now but thought I'd show you them in more detail and shed some light on my intentions when creating them.

If you've visited my little blog before you would be aware of my love of fairy tales so it would be fair to assume the pieces are simply my illustrations of Charles Perrault's famous Sleeping Beauty.However each piece contains it's own fairy tale narrative which are suggested by the details in the hair such as the running horse,the tower,the butterflies  ,etc.

I wanted the sleeping maidens to look as serene as possible,lost in their dream worlds. I've always been interested in the exploration of the meaning of dreams and find the concept of being able to 'unlock' layers of your subconscious when dreaming an enticing thought.If you look carefully in the first piece you will see a key nestled amongst the flowers on the bed and a heart shaped lock deep in the tree roots of her hair.I hope this prompts the viewer to ponder over why the key is in the 'real' world and the lock is in the dream world...and would the meaning change if they were swapped?

In the second piece the maiden is also lost in her own dream adventure but it is definitely a seafaring voyage.I have tried to create a flowing feeling throughout and was very pleased when my little son asked 'why is the lady asleep in the water?'Children are the best critics:)

This maiden has fallen asleep reading and the title of her book 'Tales of the Bazaar' are a cheeky reference to my own Gracie's night time bazaar.
Is the red headed beauty reading her own tale which she swapped for a Gracie Make or is she reading of another's adventures?you can decide.

I think it's quite obvious I enjoy stitching hair and these pieces were a joy to work on.I love using a combination of backstitch,split stitch,satin stitch and whip stitch and usually decide as I go along deciding what will look best.I hope you enjoy looking at these pieces and  I have postcards and prints of them available in my Etsy and Folksy shops.

I have been working on lots of new pieces lately so I will show you them next time.Hope you're all well? and thanks for popping by,

Cassandra xx

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Hello again!

Happy New Year!It's been much too long,too long even to try to explain reasons for my absence so I thought I'd start the year in a joyful way and look back at my stitchy journey in 2012.

It's really lovely to create these mosaics of your finished work and I recommend it as quite a good motivator and a nice way to take stock and identify any patterns or running themes that you may have unintentionally used.I chose a selection of my work from this past year and split them in two and it's strange comparing them to last years' mosaic.The difference that struck me most was that I've used less vintage materials and some brighter shades of the pinks,purples and blues I so love.I also have started painting the fabric as well as embroidering it which I really love because I'm finding I can achieve what I envision more easily.So I got a load more fabric paints for Christmas and will be using them lots more.

Last year was a year of change in our household and my work time was sparse and virtually non existent some weeks so my work had to slow down a bit and I only took on what I could realistically achieve.However my son did start school full time in October and not counting a couple of weeks of sickness I managed to experience some glorious uninterrupted working days.I don't think I realised how much of a difference it made to be able to complete  tasks in one sitting.I was actually shocked how much I did create in 2012 when I was going through my images.

I did also start selling postcards of my some of my embroideries and I'm so delighted that has gone well and has mean't I can go ahead with my plans for 2013 which are to dedicate my time to my embroidered illustrations and sell reproductions of them.This means not making any more textile jewellery for the time being(but I find that I always make more for the Christmas season so I'll see how that goes)I have two planned collections at the moment.One is called The Collectors which as the name suggests is about people and they're collections.It was my piece 'She was a sewing machine'that prompted this idea and as a collector myself(Russian dolls and Cornishware)I love finding out what people collect and how they display their collections.I had great feedback on my facebook page about this and have some great ideas for possible pieces now.This the first piece at the sketching stage and thought I'd use russian dolls as I have plenty of them to use as reference.

And this is a rare picture of me at my drawing board.Using my favourite micron pens.Love them!

I'll leave you with a sneak peek of the first embroidery from the second collection called Sleeping Beauties.I finished the sketch for it quite a while ago and have finally started bringing it to life with paint and stitch.

Well it's lovely being back in blogland and I promise I won't leave it so long next time. I'm actually working on sorting out my website at the moment so hopefully I'll be back to show you that soon but before I say toodle-oo I thought I'd point you in the direction of the most gorgeous website/blog I discovered at the end of last year. Fleuropean is the home of the Lonely Bouquet project and follows the lovely Emily on her journey leaving floral beauty everywhere she goes.Emily create's stunning bouquets and leaves them with a lovely note attached in public places so people can take them home.Her photos are stunning too.She has a facebook page also.Hope you check it out.
Take care

Cassandra xx

Friday, 6 July 2012

She was a sewing machine...

I have actually stuck to my word and haven't left another five week gap between posts!I really wanted to show you this latest piece in a separate post as I'm quite pleased with how she turned out and she took a long time to complete.As much as tales of the past make my soul sing,imagined tales of the future captivate me equally.I've always had quite a soft spot for science fiction and the idea of androids in particular.So an image of a pretty stitched robot lady flitted around my mind for a fair time before I thought I'd see if make it work as a textile piece.

Her gold hair was a real labour of love and took around twelve hours to complete.Her dress is made from a vintage tablecloth that I dyed and some vintage lace doilies and buttons adorn the piece too.I also used paint and coloured pencils and the piece is completely hand stitched which is apt as the title is 'She was a sewing machine..'

I hope that people can see many different possible ideas in the piece as that was my intention.So I would like to leave it up to you to draw what you want from the piece but one thing I would add is that I have been pondering more and more over the perceived 'value' of traditional craft skills such as embroidery in our present time.I know a lot of my lovely blog readers (like myself)have a fondness for all things old and cherished because their flaws tell tales and they also carry remnants of past attitudes.My family have always fondly teased me for my 'granny like' tendencies and I have always taken it as a great compliment because I always felt out of sync in my generation(I was a child of the eighties)As I grew up I did meet other vintage lovers(my husband included)and obviously through the internet have discovered there are a lot of us!

I feel saddened that so many traditional crafts have been undervalued and lost throughout my lifetime but have real hope that in the future it will all come full circle and technology ironically will be the saviour of handmade.I feel like now is quite an exciting time to be an independent maker as we are using technology to allow us practice the traditions of the past instead of allowing progress to replace our past.Imagine if Etsy existed in the eighties..I'm not sure I can.

I'd love to hear your opinions or just to hear how you all are? 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Embroidery catch up

This is going to be one of those catch up posts so I hope you don't mind if it is slightly disjointed.I've been doing a lot of drawing and stitching as of late as I'm trying to build up my illustration portfolio again and also I'm planning to start offering postcards for sale and fingers crossed eventually prints.I've been considering this for quite a long time now as the embroidered artworks are extremely labour intensive and from a 'business' point of view it makes much more sense to be able offer reproductions which will be less expensive.Well that's the theory.So I have posted some of these pictures on facebook and flickr but thought I'd like to elaborate more on them.

This first one is The Parsley Girl and any early followers of my blog might remember that I illustrated this tale previously but in paint.Click here for original post It may seem a bit odd to use the same fairytale again but since discovering embroidery I feel like I have a whole new way of working and I can't help wanting to illustrate stories I have always loved.I'd love hear how you feel about returning to previous themes and reworking them?I remember being told at university to forge forward always and not go back but I can't help returning to my favourite fairytales and my strange obsession with drawing hair...might just go with it for the time being!

This was my first piece that I have mounted on stretchers instead of a hoop and it was quite refreshing to not be constrained by the circular shape.I embroidered her hair freestyle and sneaked in some parsley and had great fun choosing fabrics for the birds and her dress.I'm tempted to  make myself a dress using the purple repro feedsack's so pretty!I've included the original sketch below as personally I love seeing people's sketches(I'm quite nosey really)

I also stitched a Summer Wandering piece as a gift for someone special who requested a hair and eye colour.This was lovely to do and I really liked the piece in these colours.

A little brooch..

I have got one more piece to show you but I think I'll do another post about that(dare I say later in the week!yikes,a five week gap and two in one week!)I also wanted to say a big hello to my new followers...nice to meet you and hope enjoy your little visits.
Take care

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Potter Post

I have a confession,as well as being a lazy blogger;I am a very big Harry Potter fan.I devoured the books and love the films (which is unusual as I normally struggle watching film's adapted from beloved books)so was super excited to visit the Making of Harry Potter Warner Bros London studio tour last weekend.I wasn't sure what to expect and didn't read too much about it so was blown away with everything we saw.We walked through Hogwarts Great Hall,saw the Gryffindor common room,Dumbledore's office,walked through Diagon Alley!I could go on but I've picked out some of the finer details which interested me,so hopefully might interest you too.

This pile of Daily Prophet's was in an amazing cabinet full of graphics and paper goods created to feature in the films.I was stood gazing at that cabinet a very long time!the detail was exquisite and there was so much to look at.It was lovely to see props used in the film at such close range such as the copy of 'The Tales of the Beedle the Bard' which Dumbledore bequeathed to Hermione and the handwritten letter penned by Lily Potter.

I adored the graphics and illustrations on the Quibbler covers which I feel really represents the 'look' of the contemporary wizarding world featured in the films.I always feel there is a strong vintage style running through the later films which seems so fresh and attractive and so perfectly believable for Rowling's created world.I guess it is this added positive dimension created by the film makers which stops me from dwelling on which details are removed or altered from the books.

I had to show you Fleur Delacour's costume as it's so beautiful especially the hat. Can you imagine wearing such a graceful school uniform?!I never even noticed her shoes in the film but fell in love with them too. 

Also from the The Goblet of Fire film was this amazing chocolate phoenix cake..I don't need to say anything.

Also this stunning 'ice' sculpture was dazzling and was surrounded by glasses and bottles for the Yule Tide Ball.

Although I loved strolling through Diagon Alley(as you do)the light was not great for taking photos so I'm afraid I haven't got many to show you.Here are the window displays of Flourish and Blotts(the bookshop)and Scribbulus(a kind of stationers)

The gigantic pendulum... 

And finally we sat in the Weasley's blue magic car but stayed on the ground unlike Harry and Ron!I'd really recommend visiting the  tour if you're a Harry Potter fan but I have to say my four year old came with us and it was definitely a bit too old for him.I'd say children over seven or eight would get more out of it.He did love the potions lab as the cauldrons were stirring themselves and Molly Weasley's kitchen was amusing too.

I have been drawing and stitching lately but I have to admit I'm finding it difficult to photograph anything lately as we have had some changes in our circumstances over the past couple of months which means I will have to wait until September when my son starts school to regain some proper work time for myself.I have quite a few pictures ready to edit so will get on with that soon so you can see what I've been up to.
Take care and hope you are enjoying the good weather!
PS.I can't fathom my blogger settings so I can't seem to reply on each comment or vice versa on other blogs.Sorry about that,
Cassandra xx