Monday, 18 November 2013

My visit to Renegade Craft Fair London!

  It was a very happy coincidence that I found myself in London on 9th November and was free to go to The Renegade Craft Fair to take a look at all the fab indie makers and designers showing their work there.

Now in its 3rd year of being held in London, if you haven't already heard of it already Renegade is a curated craft marketplace that showcases  indie and contemporary designers and craftspeople and promotes the handmade and DIY craft movement.

It was really inspiring to go and see all the wonderful handmade items that were on offer and I had to be really restrained as I was in danger of having a serious shopping spree and was already meant to be on a tight budget. Being mindful that I have trying to be saving at the moment and the Jaunt to London was quite a big treat in itself  I managed to leave with only one purchase ( I know I'm not sure how I did it either !!)  a lovely printed moleskin notebook created by OhNoRachio.

I did, however, come away with a fare fe scribbles about work I found really impressive and thought I would share with you some of my favourite sellers that I saw that day.

First up is OhNoRachio, who I made my one and only purchase with, Rachel creates beautiful hand illustrated stationary, ceramics and various charming textile items  ( like this gorgeous cloud cushion )
Large Happy Cloud Cushion/Pillow - Mint Cheeks
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I have been admiring her notebooks for quite sometime after seeing them featured on the Etsy blog and couldn't help but  treat myself to one. It has the caption on the front " The Adventure is just beginning " so hopefully it will give me some get up and go  when I'm in need of some
The Adventure Is Just Beginning -  Moleskine Journal
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Another seller I really loved was Designosaur.
Triceratops Dinosaur Laser Cut Ring, Dinosaur Ring, Stacking Ring, Perspex or Wood Ring. Statement Ring. Novelty Ring. Gifts for Her.
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Making  fabulously fun laser cut jewellery in bright acrylic and cherry wood, Designasaur have a joyful and upbeat feel to their pieces, inspired by dinosaur silhouettes and other quirky motifs, these accessories really brighten up your day and I was sooo tempted to treat myself to one , or two or three, ah well Christmas is on its way.
         KukuBigBag  by CandiceLau  is another  seller I saw that is destined to be on my Christmas list.
Beautiful handmade leather bags and accessories in block colours and geometric shapes combine contemporary design with traditional craftsmanship in a really effortless and chic manner. I was really blown away by these bags
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They are so wearable but really striking and different and I know that If I owned one I would use it to death.
There were so may brilliant sellers at Renegade that I could truly go on for hours on all the wonderful work I saw there, there are a few other sellers that I really wanted to talk about but I'm conscious this will become a very long post if I do so maybe I'll revisit them here in someway in the future. It ws so encouraging to see unique and handmade items being sold  and it really inspired me with my own work . I definitely want to join in the Renegade fun as a seller at some point in the future although I have a lot of work to do to get me to that point.

Hope you all have a really great week. xxx




Monday, 4 November 2013

Fabulous plumage and how to clean naturally sourced feathers

File:Types de plumes. - Larousse pour tous, -1907-1910-.jpg
As a milliner its not surprising that I love using feathers in my work, I'm also a bit of a bird and nature lover and  as millinery can be a pretty carnivorous activity in general , this is something that doesn't always sit comfortably with me.
Recently I have been pondering the use of feathers in my work, there are strict laws in place to  stop birds being hunted solely for their feathers, these laws stem from the early 1900's when  extravagant plumage on top of a hat was very desirable and plume hunters killed birds such as egrets to supply the millinery trade with their beautiful feathers.
These days the feathers used in millinery are as a by product of the poultry industry  or from birds like Peacocks that  shed their feathers annually and as these come in a myriad of colours and styles I never struggle to find a selection of gorgeous feathers to use  in my work.

This piece was created using rooster saddle feathers along with goose and duck feathers to create this striking affect
I am also pretty thrifty by nature and have started to collect what I call naturally acquired feathers. This collection comes from  feathers I find out walking and others  that are given to me by family members who find them on their travels or keep birds themselves. (I recently was given some flamingo feathers that a friend found along the path in a the zoo!)
Now these feathers can not be used straight on to a hat they need to be cleaned first , and after a little experimenting I have come up with a pretty good method of cleaning them.
First you assemble these simple house hold items  shown below:
Mix a good squirt of washing up liquid with some white vinegar ( this stops the feather from clumping up)
 Swill the feathers gently  in the soapy water then rinse in a separate tub of clean water ( for really grubby feathers you may want to repeat this a few times.

Pat dry using an old towel ( I can guaranty if you use mums nice white ones you will be in trouble - so best dig out the old grotty one ) resist the temptation to smooth out the feathers at this stage

Then blow dry using a hair dryer on a low setting - this can take a little time so I like to get them about 70% dry  then leave to air dry a little before giving them a final blow and smoothing them out as I go

Once they are all completely dry and you have smoothed them out they are ready to be used, at this stage you can trim them , dye them or  curl them  however you choose to.