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My artist’s dates over the last couple of weeks have involved making a few, and then a lot, of Suffolk puffs (also known as yo yos). Although I am not specifically following the Artists’ Way at the moment I am keen to create some space to explore some ideas on my own without any pressure of trying to sell or meet any specific brief. The idea is just to play and to let go of any specific results.

I bought a decent sized bag of gorgeous interior design fabrics from a closing down sale a couple of weeks ago and have been playing with the different textures since. I started with small Suffolk puffs which then started to grow:


And then moved onto some larger ones using dinner plates as a template:


I am not sure what I am going to do with them all yet but there is something very satisfying about arranging them all on a mannequin:


As the fabrics are all vintage inspired I have used vintage buttons which I had inherited from my mum and my Great Aunt. Some of them are just so beautiful. Not sure if I am going for total body cover yet or not, I will just have to wait and see where inspiration takes me next week…


Next week we will be screen printing our fabrics for the Full of Eastern Promise project, so this week I focused on developing my print designs. These were taken from henna patterns and tattoos and adapted to make reference to Islamic architecture:


The final design was traced onto thick cartridge paper using a permanent black marker pen and a light box. This resulted in a really black matte finish. I will then be taking the design to Edinburgh College of Art’s reprographics centre to get it printed onto thick tracing paper. We will be visiting a studio down in Leith next week to expose our screens and to start printing our fabrics. V. exciting as it all starts taking shape…

Inspired by my new favourite tea house Loopy Lorna’s here in Edinburgh (complete with hand knitted tea cosy with every pot and fairy cakes topped with every colour icing imaginable) I have been inspired to do some tea related crafts myself. It was fun to spend the weekend making up kits as I could just enjoy the making process without worrying so much about the end result. In fact these kits were my perfect Artist’s Date

First off a gorgeous strawberry tea cosy from Laughing Hens purchased from K1 Yarns. Knitted using Rooster yarn made from 50% baby alpaca, 50% merino wool it was a joy to knit and knitted up very quickly:


And goes very well with my new vintage rose tea cups and the spring sunshine:


I then made up this pretty fairy cake trinket box from Rex Crafts:


The kit would be perfect for children who are interested in learning to sew as it comes complete with everything required (except the small amount of stuffing required) including a plastic sewing needle and pre-perforated holes for stitching. That said this inner child is pretty happy with the result…

I found that I had got a wee bit overwhelmed with all the different strands of research that I had gathered and so decided to consolidate my key ideas into a moodboard using the inspiration of Desert Rose:


This feels alot better now allowing me to focus more…

I have also been thinking about my head piece this week, starting of with just playing with the different widths of sinamay bias strips I had made the week before. Starting off with upright coils that could eventually be attached to a classic Alice Band:


Then something a little less ordered:


Evolving into more of a ‘hat’:


Then framing the face with fabric and topping with a single rose:


I have also been exploring an alternative approach with a gorgeous turban that I picked up for £5 at vintage emporium Armstrongs:


Which could then become a base for a rose topped turban head piece:


With perhaps a gold highlight:


I have sent off for samples from a number of fabric suppliers for (silk if I win the lottery!) taffeta for my harem pants:

I am now preparing for the Easter holidays, and am looking forward to a trip to London to go to Berwick Street to visit The Cloth House et la. Heaven…