Saturday, 31 March 2012

Tulle Corsage: Less is More

Less is more, except in the case of sequins and feathers. This corsage is one of my favourites, so I've kept it. I created it from a piece of paisley-patterned black tulle remnant that I bought about ten years ago from a very swish fabric store in Melbourne. I've interlaced some white silk organza through the petals to finish the effect.

Last night I checked out Forever 21, good grief, how depressing to see so many outrageously cheap sweat-shopped 'fast fashion' knock-offs coming at us from every angle. I am seriously trying not to buy any more clothes when I don't really 'need' to. Time to separate the needs from the wants.

What made me feel better was reading the well-reasoned anti-sentiments on sites about the impact of this technology and lack of any business ethisc .

To cheer up, I got onto my favourite Fairtrade site, 'Free People' and was chuffed to find that one of my readers also 'likes' the site, that's you, lovely Julie! Oh, and I didn't order anything, the dress I tried to find wasn't there!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Everything for a Reason

I don't really agree with the maxim, 'everything happens for a reason', but in the case of Upittee, the little treasure of a boutique at Wilston on Kedron Brook Road, in Brisbane, it's true, all the garments stocked are there 'because of a very good reason'. I enjoyed taking these photographs in the boutique, a couple of days' ago (and visiting the lovely Kathryn).

Upittee retail a collection of the most stunning and unique pieces. There's an amazing accessory range, all brand new, but 'upcycled' like the luxurious handbag and coin purses from the label: Dialog London, that use traditional batik print and origami style fabric trims against the leather sourced from business throughout Asia.

There's also pieces using local labels (Foxton Danger) or that are sourced from Fairtrade supportive industry, for example using eco-colouring and dyeing techniques on natural fabrics (Uttam London).

There's a couple of Flora's lurking amongst the stunning tran-seasonal stock, too. Have a go at those colours! I'm about to start working on a range for a Winter look Flora racewear story, it'll be at Upittee in two weeks or so.

Thursday, 29 March 2012


Sorry, for a minute there, I forgot what I was all about! I hope you enjoy looking at some of my work and  thank you to the lovelies who bought this fine frippery!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Fashionable Quotes

I love doing things that inspire creativity and make me appreciate how talented the workers are at the daily grind. Today, we armed ourselves with jet black ink, a lap-top for research and generous sheets of paper, and set about to seek an inspiring quote about fashion and make it to a poster.

For a bit of creative fodder we talked about Perth's Pippa McManus and her 2008 challenge of illustrating a whole Vogue edition, a day to a page or two (depending if it's a centrespread). It's amazing, go check it out.

We've shown off by sticking these all over the room and they look, if I do say so, 'inspiring!'. Later today, I really enjoyed walking into the space and admiring the artistic expressions.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Azo-free and Eco

For ages, I have had a thing for eco-textiles warrior, renowned dyer and textile artist India Flint's work. I think it's the mark-making that gets me in. I'll be straight up, I for one don't have a wardrobe full of linens, silks and organic cottons, dyed using natural dyes, although I have undertaken this natural dye process a few times with silk and cotton scarf strips, and I think it is quite gorgeous. India's first book is Eco Colour: Environmentally Sustainable Dyes. The process needs a bit of planning, because you need to soak and extract pigments and 'mordant' the natural fabrics, by soaking in something like a copper or aluminium pot, or adding an aluminium or potassium derivative. The mordant sets the dye on the fabric. Forget trying to dye synthetics, there's no way the natural hues will penetrate.

I love the bugle bead detail on this scarf! It was done by one of the 'workers' free-hand, and I was astounded by the talent!

India uses pigments derived from all sorts of processes, from organic to leaving metals in fabrics to corrode and leave an intriguing mark. Have a look at these eco-friendly pieces, carefully and patiently crafted by the workers under my tutelage! The colours are wonderful, and the painstaking beading treatment is to be admired. I am proud of them!

Monday, 26 March 2012

These People Need Applauding!

Look, let's face it, everyone is knocking themselves out these days and growing their own food; well it's one thing to have a quiet vege patch at home and another thing to engage others in a larger project in a workplace. At the daily grind, we initially had the good people at Growing Communities in to show us how to do a 'user-friendly no-dig' garden, a.k.a. lasagne style: work smart - not hard people. I love the concept, it's about layering with recyled paper and mulching and placing little pods of dirt down and putting seedlings in. You could go crazy with it, and turn your whole yard into a 'layered lasagne garden' for next to no real effort!

Well, today was the day that the community garden at my workplace got a major over-haul. I have to admit for a while it wasn't on my 'to-do' list, despite being the bod chiefly responsible for getting the garden going in the first place.

With the help of five wonderful volunteers, we got stuck into mulching and pruning. We went flat strap for two hours. The garden's now ready to go for new plantings of tomatoes, herbs and a passionfruit vine. Later I'll include a few photos of the project in its various guises. For now, you'll just have to put up with me showing off a pale pink rose bloom I grew, I've had floating around in a glass compote bowl.

Thank you, I couldn't have done it without you people, and I look forward to starting my day with others, with a little time in the 'patch', pruning, watering and harvesting some time soon! This working bee has made my day!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Rubbish equals Food

Tomorrow, I am really looking forward to working in the community garden where I earn my daily bread. I've got a group of eager helpers at the ready to weed barrier and mulch the kitchen garden that's gone to wrack and ruin in the last few months' of continual rain squalls. We are getting out there tomorrow, no matter what! I've kept my promise and made the workers chocolate cakes and got the lemonade chilling.

 The garden's funded by a prize money we won in a wearable art competion that the Cubberla Creek Community Catchment Network ran a while back. Our entries were made of garbage, hence the waste equals food vibe. Here's some pictures of the efforts in 'rubbish fashion'. The entry for Cubberla Creek Enviro Festival was an extension of this fashion story. The money we received has let us keep this rewarding little project going.

Labor down the Gurgler and a Budget Deficit

I am not going to lie to you, people. I do have to join the daily grind and work hard to earn money, just like you. My life's not all about puppies and lace. That's why I love the Salvos ! My local is at Lutwyche in Brisbane. I went in recently when I became spooked about everyone saying how much money Anna Bligh had wasted in Queensland. I poked through the racks and bought this little hand-made sheer polyester ruffled blouse, set off with careful black zig-zag stitch. I love it. I took it to the counter and the very helpful staff announced everything is 'half-price'. It was $3.50!

I have vowed to go in every week now. I went in yesterday and bought two gorgeous dresses for a friend, one was a 1940s look-a-like, with waistband ruching and rows of covered buttons, with an A line silhouette. What's not to love?

Saturday, 24 March 2012

FAUX FUCHSIA: Malene Never Gets it Wrong.

FAUX FUCHSIA: Malene Never Gets it Wrong.:  Say what you will about Malene Birger, she never gets it wrong and actions what can only be described as A Very Nice Frock. Princess Mar...

Freddo, so as not to be left out!

Ginger's housemate, Freddo the french bulldog, has gotten wind of the blog. So, just to keep the peace, here's a little snapshot. I prefer not to have Freddo in the studio, he is quite a barbarian compared to the poodle. His favourite thing to do is root through feathers and fabrics and generally shed a lot of barb like hairs, while doing so! Freddo does like to channel his thespian side, by wearing his Carnavale mask, sourced in Venice. Naturally his choice was a cat, in the hope of luring one!

House Model

Here's Ginger, sporting one of his favourite headpieces, a inspiration actioned from the house of Maison Michel. Ginger never complains, he's happy to engage, sit and drop accordingly, until the perfect shot is achieved. Thank you, Ginger.

Akira's Romeo and Juliet

Recently, I was very naughty, and visited Akira Isogawa's boutique on Ann St, Fortitude Valley with my beautiful friend E. I placed on lay by this stunning grey tulle overlay style dress from Autumn Winter 2011 (check out the range). I was under E's influence (good),while she slipped on a silk Florence Broadhurst limited edition printed shift (greatly reduced - don't get too excited this was December, remember - the sale's over!) it gave me time to fall in love with a piece of Akira's mastery.

 To make myself feel less guilty about the impulse purchase (costing most of my real job's weekly wage!), I cut, dyed and stitched a corsage style neck piece for the garment (instead of buying the Akira option! Ha!). E's an absolute expert on all things she is passionate about: Akira and anything Japanese is one area. She's also beautiful. Akira's mad if he doesn't make her some sort of brand ambassador, forget the rest. We were served by the lovely Garth, who also sold me a piece of pure wool inked fabric, that I actioned a corsage from, an Akira corsage!

Did anyone see the Australian Ballet's Romeo and Juliet, Akira designed and produced the costumes. *sigh*

Seeing Spots and a Quintessential Bird's Nest

On International Womens Day, I had the pleasure of reaccquainting with an associate, the lovely Viola Temple Watts who has just chronicled her mother-in-law Betty Temple Watts' botanical style bird illustrations into a book about her life experiences,it's called Quintessential Bird (UQ Press). The illustrations, produced in water-colour are captivating, so whip out and grab a copy! Viola also does an enchanting guest speaker role, sincerely discussing the book, its creation and the zest and charm of her mother-in-law. The first photo (above) depicts a concoction of nature's 'found objects', namely a sparrow's nest, feathers and some carefully dried pale pink roses. I exhibited this piece in a Show at the Pine Rivers Shire Gallery, themed around flowers and to my delight, sold it!

The second shot is a favourite number of mine, that I sold through a unique fashion boutique in Wilston, Brisbane named Upittee. It's a dyed raffia base with a handmade camellia, completed with spot tulle. Nice. Upitte stocks unique labels, including Brisbane's own Foxton Danger, Uttam, Desigual, and labels that use usually use Fairtrade practices and sometimes azo free

What will I write a post about?

Well this is an experiment, I am not even sure if it will save so, what about...

My darling little pet poodle Ginger, a thrice owned neurotic canine, who has been my little friend over the last twelve years. Ginger loves to be in the studio, alseep at my feet, or even on my lap as I sew. He daintly fits into any little nook and patiently poses for photos.

What's not to love? Well, not everyone shares my sentiments, he is quite good at 'polarising the masses'...clever dog, he gets me all to himself. Sage advice is that, 'you can't or shouldn't be everything to everyone'.