Evolution of a favourite motif

Agatha-Pink-2It started as a design worked partly from an aquilegia

and partly from a showy lily. It is an easy motif that flows across the silk.

And it has evolved and evolved into a very loose flowery shape I have used over and over again in various sizes, from the large

Agnes-Ashe-hand-painted-silk-scarf-Silvia-clover-square-hgg copy
A 90 x 90 cm crepe de chine square with the motif over 50 cm across.

to the small. A pocket square 30 x 30 cm with the motif barely 5 cm across.

Pocket-Square-12-inchAnd I’ve reworked the motif with various colour combinations.

 

Spring sunlight, apple blossom and photographing my work

Hetty-Blue-Apr-ModelFresh spring weather and I have been making the most of the late afternoon sunlight.

Valeria-viva-model-twoRe-photographing a few scarves with different styling.Hilda-jade-model-twoAnd, almost capturing a smile!Mayme-model-two-square

 

Are we in tune?

Sometimes you feel totally out of step and then suddenly with one extra long stride you’re right back in time and notice that you’re also in tune and on trend. That’s how I felt when scanning through lines of photographs from the recent round of fashion shows.

Much to my surprise and pleasure there were pictures of large bows. A bit like . . . . .

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Agatha Pink as featured recently in the Autumn 2016 UK Handmade Showcase!

And here are a few shots of the Agatha Pink scarf being painted.

Autumn – endings and beginnings

graduates-ucl-london

It’s that time of year again when most of the tribe are back from their holidays and it’s the beginning of a new academic year. It was first starting nursery, then school, then university and now for this year’s graduates, hopefully, it’s starting work. September is also the fashion show season. London’s Fashion Week has just finished on Tuesday, New York was the week before and those interested will continue to watch as Milan and then finally Paris present their style innovations.

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London Fashion Week 2016 trends from Google search. Still looks more like Spring Collections than buy now for autumn to me!

It is different this year as instead of showing a spring collection for buyers to order now with stock arriving in their stores next March/April, some brands were showing ‘see now, buy now’ or ‘runway to retail’ collections. Either way, in reality this doesn’t directly affect me as I only paint one-offs, but I do keep an eye on the changing trends. Mostly I’m interested in trends for colours and the feel of the overall palette that is on offer. This September I’ve noticed the odd glimpse of orange amongst all the very patterned designs from brands still showing designs for next spring. However, it appears the ‘see now, buy now’ presentations as shown by Burberry have logically chosen colours that feel more seasonally now, more autumnal, with hints of old gold, muted pink and dark plum amongst the black and grey.

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London Fashion Week 2016 – Burberry

As you can see above there’s plenty of black and grey generally popular for northern winters. I’m not holding my breath that there is going to be a sudden shift away to more colourful clothing to brighten our grey winter days. Wearing high fashion can be akin to a high-wire act, and for women over 40 it can be downright treacherous and inevitably blacks and greys remain the tried and tested favourites for mortals. And, you can always add colourful accessories to otherwise understated combinations to refresh and update your look.

Blacks and greys are fine, but, I guess at heart I am traditional as when I think of autumn I think of warm browns, old gold and burnt orange.

Anyway, after all that, here are two little black crows flying off into their futures . . . . .

into-the-future

Returning to a bird theme

Cora-in-progressJust added to my online shop another flat silk crepe silk square working with a stork motif placed within a stained glass window frame.

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Since I last worked with a stork motif it has greatly changed. Somehow it’s reduced in size and morphed into various stylised shapes of beaks and feathers!

However, I think the stained glass influence is still obvious.

It is surprising how effective the final addition of green over the various soft golds has lifted the design.Agne-Ashe-hand-painted-silk-scarf-Cora-jewel-tied-WP

Looking for contrasts, looking for inspiration

double-cherry-blossomYou may have noticed I like pink and I like flowers, so naturally I have painted quite a few scarves inspired by pink flowers.

However, sometimes when nature is doing it so well I feel intimidated by her perfection and find myself turning to the manmade for alternative sources of inspiration.

Some-curved-edges

Firstly, I take a photo of an everyday object, remove the distraction of colour, then turn the image upside down to stop myself from recognising the object. The idea is to stop seeing the motor bike and just see shapes. Then using Photoshop I soften and blur the lines to produce a picture that gives an outcome similar to the resultant image we see when we squint.

With a little more tweaking I eventually get an image that I can use to work from.

Looking-for-shape-combinations-extract-linesAnd here’s a little first go, freewheeling in monochrome inspired by a motor bike.

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Of course, I’ve used the classic black and white combination before giving a very clear area of contrast. But, wait, I can also see some pink flowers!!

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Catching up

At the end of last summer I started working on a mini collection of square scarves based on birds with a hint of stained glass in the design. At the time I posted a few photos of the work in progress.

Stained-glass-plus-bird

Of course, in the intervening six months, or so, I’ve been very busy creating similar but different ‘art’ and exhibiting the work at last month’s Art Fair in London.

But now, finally, following the initial steaming, more painting with dyes and a second steaming, the scarf ‘Cora Mahogany’ is finished.

Cora-Mahogany-bird

 

If you look carefully you can see the original bird of the first layer – just. It’s beneath the mottled brown.

 

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And, to conclude, the scarf has been photographed and added to the shop.

 

 

A golden doubling up

Two-pieces-at-once

Last October three metres of crepe de chine arrived to be painted for a blouse. Three metres will take me about two weeks to complete, but before I begin such a project I take the opportunity to make some samples and often a scarf to establish that I’ve interpreted the brief as expected.

Here are a few photographs as the work progressed.

The finished scarf after steaming showing the colours just that little bit brighter.

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And, half way through the three metres of crepe de chine – last autumn.

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Fast-forward to February 2016 and the silk has been made up. I’m always thrilled to see my work transformed into garments.

Now-a-blouse

An agreeable feature

Agnes-Ashe-hand-painted-silk-scarf-Portia-apple-clup copyEarlier this week I had a pleasant surprise to find that one of my scarves (Portia apple) had been selected and featured in an Etsy festive ‘Editors’ Picks’. Apparently, there are over 30 million items listed on Etsy so I’m genuinely surprised and very grateful to have something selected for the ‘Under £100’ gifts category.

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One of my scarves featured by the Etsy Editors in the ‘Gifts under £100’.

I must be a bit thick as I only found out my work had been featured when I kept seeing referrals for this scarf on my stats page coming from ‘Editors’ Picks’. Well, anyway, thank you to the Editors!

Make-it-British-Christmas-newsletter
The Make It British Christmas newsletter.

And, also thanks to the folks at Make It British who also included one of my scarves (Hilda ruby) in their Christmas newsletter.

Oh yes, and whilst I’m spreading the love, today (3 Dec 2015) sees the arrival in UK bookshops of ‘I Belong to No One’ written by fellow blogger Gwen Wilson. Congratulations to Gwen and hopefully lots of sales!

Agnes-Ashe-hand-painted-silk-scarf-Hilda-ruby-box copy

 

Less than a month to Christmas

Christmas-decsMy daughter’s birthday is in November and I’ve often thought how close it is to Christmas giving rise to the possibility of giving her one, extra large, special present to cover both occasions. In truth that’s never happened and like most families, especially those with birthdays on the 25th December, we’ve always kept birthday and Christmas separate.

Of course today it’s Thanksgiving in the United States and rather belatedly it has occurred to me that here we have another special celebration day only a month before Christmas.

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It’s all a bit like London buses, you wait for hours then they all come at once!

Thinking-of-Christmas

Colour inspiration from suburban classics – spray chrysanths, hyrbid teas and hydrangeas

hybrid tea rose spray chrysanthemums hydrangeasSuburbia gets a mixed press, and ‘suburban’ (at least in the UK) is frequently thrown around as an insult. It can mean average, boring, pedestrian to restrained, uptight and limited. In gardening terms the heyday of the suburban garden was surely the fifties and sixties where neat rectangular lawns were edged with three flower-filled boundary borders. Hybrid tea and floribunda roses were popular for the summer along with bright vivid dahlias and then in the autumn chrysanthemums took over to bring some uplifting colour.

Of course, plants are plants and not in themselves suburban, and who cannot fail to love a classic pink rose or a blue mophead hydrangea. And, I’ve even found a style of flower arrangement that I like which works with the standard supermarket/garage forecourt spray chrysanthemums.

. . . so much so that I’ve used the palette for some scarves.

Oh yes, and finally, through the ether I’m informed by email and adverts that a festival called Christmas is on the horizon – UKHandmade has just published their Christmas Showcase featuring all kinds of handmade work including a stunning Christmas stocking embroidered by a lady who used to work at Buckingham Palace!