Monday, 2 January 2012

The last few months (Part Two)

So to continue my review of the last few months...

The later part of 2011 saw me journey over 2 days to get to the fantastic Bridport Hat Festival. The journey started at 10pm on a Thursday night with an overnight coach to London. The next day saw two further coach trips, one from London to Bournemouth and then finally on to Bridport a small town in Dorset that hosts the annual Hat Festival. Now in its second year, the festival sees the town come alive sharing a love of hats all thanks to resident Mad-hatter Mr Snook who runs his hat business from the town.  I wasn't alone in my journey with other milliners coming from Ireland and visitors from as far as Australia. I sat up my little stall on the Saturday in the Art Centre to a great reception. It is always so nice to get feedback from people and those I met seemed to really love what I'd produced. I showed of the newly finished Tattooed Heart range for the first time too, and was really happy with the comments I got!

On the Sunday before the mammoth trip home began I got the chance to have a look at some of the other designers showing their pieces. I met an amazing group of young women all having just finished at college including the very talented Holly Gaimen (yes, they have talent in spades in that family) who's caligraphy inspired piece I'd much admired in the Stephen Jones/Talenthouse competition we'd both entered earlier in they year. In fact it was Holly who one the public voting portion of the competition!

A little closer to home, in Glasgow, I met up with the University Steampunk Society for Glasgow by Gaslight II. The cabaret section of the day saw jugglers, magicians, belly-dancing and a guy playing classic game themes on a laser harp. I thoroughly enjoyed having a stall at this event and it gave me the change to dress up in my best Victoriana too!

Then came our bi-annual trip to the Yorkshire Coast and the little town of Whitby for Halloween. We had our usual stall at Alt Fest, but after a little accident and a trip to the towns hospital to determine if I'd broken my wrist we decided to call it a day on the Sunday and headed home instead, getting back just before midnight.

Its been a rather eventful year and my little girl is growing ever bigger an learning new things every day! We're still no closer to getting her to sleep a full 10 hours at night but we wouldn't change her for the world. 2012 promises to be an interesting year with lots of plans already taking shape. We're looking forward to a proper family holiday abroad this spring and time spent with friends, some who have just become parents for the first time too!

So its time to wish you all a Happy New Year! I'd like to end this post by sharing one of my favourite New Years Blessings by author Neil Gaimen!

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."

Have a fantastic 2012!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

The last few months (Part One)

So it seems I've been a little remiss with the blog for the past few months... oops! Since having gone back to work in March I've been getting used to juggling work, millinery, motherhood and just life and it seems to have all gotten away from me... I had plans for lots of blog posts for the remainder of last year that I just never got round to. So here I present a quick round up of how the later past of 2011 went for me and my little family... Part One!

August saw us visit Edinburgh on two separate occasions for the Edinburgh Book Festival. Firstly to see the fantastic Neil Gaimen, my favourite author, and listen to him speak about the amazing American Gods. It has always been on of my favourite books as I am drawn to the mythology used by Gaimen in this particular novel. I've always loved world mythology, especially from the Norse pantheon! Listening to Gaimen talk was wonderful I especially loved the part where the interviewer asked him whether it was all to much to expect the reader to believe that Shadow's wife Laura had risen from the dead and was there in the novel providing help and guidance along the way. Gaimen's response was simply... but there are millions of people all over the world who believe in Jesus and that he was resurrected so why would this be such a hard concept to understand??

I did treat myself to a new copy of American Gods (which I have to confess as to still reading as we enter the New Year... I just don't seem to have as much time to sit and read any more!) and was lucky enough to meet Neil Gaimen and have him sign my copy of Angels and Visitations. I also made myself a little fascinator to wear on the day... made from literary print fabric with Suffolk puff flowers, vintage buttons and a miniature copy of American Gods atop!

Our second trip to the Edinburgh Book Festival was to see Kaylee's favourite author Julia Donaldson (Author of The Gruffalo - Kaylee's favourite book!!) along side illustrator Lydia Monks. This was a storytelling session in which we heard the author read, among others, Sharing a Shell, The Princess and the Wizard and the new book Rhyming Rabbit. Julia Donaldson has such a talent for storytelling and the kids were all entranced by her! Kaylee even sat still for the full hour!! At the end we had the chance to meet both Lydia and Julia who signed a couple of items for us including Kaylee's giant Gruffalo poster which is not up on her bedroom wall!!

I've also had the chance to produce some fantastic custom pieces in the past few months. As much as I love making my stock pieces, I love the challenge that comes from creating custom pieces. This year I've had two very challenging pieces to work on. The first for Laura, who came to me with the idea to recreate the look of Sharpe (played by Sean Bean in the TV adaptation of the novels by Bernard Cornwell) for an event she was attending. The costume was being made by Marie from Forever in Black Designs, but Laura a previous customer of mine, knew to come to me for the hat. She wanted a miniature Shako Hat in the style worn by Sean, so after much research I set to work to create this piece! It was not a style I'd tackled before and I was very pleased with the result!!

The second piece was for the Pin-up for Heroes Calendar 2012. I was heavily involved in last years calendar and this year the organisers came to me looking for a very special piece. I was told that one of the shoots was to recreate this piece of artwork by Gil Elvgren and that they needed the hat! 

What a challenge that proved to be. With a deadline of little over 2 weeks to complete and ship the piece I set to work. The first version proved disastrous as I have miscalculated one of my measurements, but after some careful planning and mathematics I was able to finish the project on time... and look at the resulting image from Egner Photography... stunning! The calendar is available to purchase at  Pin-up For Heroes
and as always proceeds from the sales go to the Help for Heroes Charity!

 Well that's it for part one of the round-up of the last 6 months... more to follow soon!