Saturday, June 15, 2013

My best friend's wedding

This post is not about any Hollywood love triangle, but about how important it is to have a true friend by your side during the most important day of your life.
I was lucky enough to have my great friend Ash with me all along the way (yes, she's called Ash too!). She endured long fitting sessions, performed like a champ during last minute rushes... I guess that what I am trying to say is that at the end I loved every second of my big day, and she had a lot to do with it!
Now the time has come for me to repay the favour and slip on the bridesmaid shoes (which are going to be beautiful by the way!). Amongst the other traditional chores (yes I am talking about the hen party) I am in charge of the bridal headpiece. Knowing the bride this well really makes things easier. I started working on the designs ages ago, and after my trip to Sri Lanka all the final details are coming together. This rather significant piece is going to combine sumptuous materials with an exotic technique which I am dying to try for the first time. The style key words are: "bohemian, 1930's, deco, whimsical".
I'll keep you posted on the advances!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Friday, May 17, 2013

Read + listen + watch #2

We have surrendered to the glittering energy of the 20's, so this second edition of our "cultural" blog feature will be dedicated to the theme/film that is on everyone's lips at the moment: The Great Gatsby!

1. The first suggestion couldn't be more obvious: The Great Gatsby! Baz Luhrmann's 2013 adaptation of this great American novel might, according to some, fail to deliver the subtle layering of subtext conveyed in the original story, but it succeeds in portraying the rackety energy of a glittering decade. For us, the film is an unparalleled source of inspiration for future collections!

2. To the generation that Gertrude Stein described as lost belonged not only F. Scott Fitzgerald and its Great Gatsby, but also T. S. Elliot, Erich Maria Remarque and Ernest Hemingway. The Sun Also Rises, first published in 1926, portrays the atmosphere that surrounded Ernest Hemingway and this lost, yet promising generation: Paris during the twenties, expatriated young and talented people wrestling with post-war uncertainties, frenetic Spanish fiestas, enigmatic women and complicated love affairs.

3. Instead of diving into the frenetic notes of the Jazz Age, I am going to suggest you to step back and listen to the style that inspired the roaring sound of the 20's: ragtime (in this particular case: Scott Joplin's piano rags). Ragtime had been around since the turn of the century, and it continued to flourish til around 1917. Its syncopated rhythmic compositions required jazz-like musical skills, and the transition from a lonely one-man piano show to a full scale orchestral jazz groove was a much expected and welcomed evolution.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

With Love From Sri Lanka

Hello everyone, we are back from our trip!
As some of you might know, this wasn't a mere holiday escapade. In fact, our Asian adventure was a postponed honeymoon which G and I have been planning and anticipating for a long time!
It was absolutely perfect.
I am no travel writer, so to summarize the whole experience I'll summon the assistance of a travel article from The Observer1: "It's cocktail hour at Helga's Folly, and the moths are circling the candelabras. The dusk frog chorus filters through the open French windows, competing with the warblings of Edith Piaf from the gramophone. I settle back on the sofa, sip a coconut arak, open the guest book and read an entry from an Australian couple who had checked out the day before: 'This is a place of enchantment.'
For me, the spell was cast long before I checked into this eccentric hotel perched high above the old Sri Lankan capital of Kandy. It started minutes after I stepped out of Colombo airport into a wall of damp, sweet air and witnessed an elephant strolling sedately along the high street amid the rush-hour traffic."

On a more professional note, this trip couldn't have been more eye opening. We had the good fortune to be in the right place at the right time (twice!), witnessing two traditional Sri Lankan weddings! Deep inside the Royal Botanical Gardens of Kandy the couples embarked on traditional Buddhist ceremonies, which normally last for two days. On the first day the main colour is white, which stands for purity and spirituality. This is followed by a homecoming ceremony during which the bride, now a married woman, is expected to wear red. The flowers, the patterns, the jewellery, the colours and the aromas... I was fascinated by whole ritual, and with the passing of the days my curiosity about Sri Lankan culture grew even more.

G and I ventured to visit to the Dambulla cave temples, a place that would take Indiana Jones' breath away! Dambulla's intricate hand painted patterns and images are spread over the walls and ceilings of 5 impressive caves. The sparse light imbued the underground passages with a dim blur, making the stone look irresistibility smooth. Walking through those caves while breathing that moist subterranean silence was one of the most soothing feelings I have ever experienced!
We continued our travel by heading up to Sigirya to see the mysterious hand painted damsels. Who they are and what secret messages they carry nobody can reveal, but one thing is for sure: they'll never cease to amaze art lovers like us. But our trip was not just about romance and adventure: there was also time to burn some serious elbow grease while helping at a 'batik' factory! What an assault on the senses!
Now, back at home, it is time to pour all these experiences into a special headpiece for a very special friend.... but I'll tell you more about that next time.

1An eccentric Eden teeming with life and colour. This article appeared on p10 of the Observer Escape section of the Observer on Sunday 14 November 2004. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Booked it, packed up, set off!

We’re finally on our way to our great Asian adventure, and I am determined to come back with a lot of wonderful new ideas and a great variety of different jewellery-making techniques!
Please stay tuned for post-holiday updates, which will include tons of photos - yes, I am going to be inseparable from my faithful camera - and travel narratives!
See you all soon!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Real Brides: Sarah and Zoe

Today I'm going to tell you about two of the brides I'm working with at the moment: Sarah and Zoe.
Sarah arrived at our 'design meeting' with a fabulous back-up team of enthusiastic bridesmaids. We spent time getting to know each other and talking about the wedding that will be taking place on Devon's emblematic coastline, which is sprinkled with beautiful coves and traversed by a magical network of hand-carved Victorian tunnels! After trying on my latest collection and popping open a bottle of Prosecco (just to get the ideas flowing), the designs for all the headpieces were settled.
The 'bridal code' prevents me from revealing any design details before the big day, so I'll whet your curiosity with this hint: bohemian chic meets 1940's goddess! Sounds exciting, right?

Zoe and I met at the Something Kinda Vintage Wedding fair, and it was the designer/bride version of boy-meets-girl! She with textiles training and me a textile design aficionado... needless to say, we hit it off straight away. After an enthusiastic exchange of ideas and materials, I managed to find the perfect antique lace to match Zoe's dress. I bet it will look fantastic with the unique embroidered cap I've designed especially for her!

Meeting people during one of the most important times in their lives is a truly amazing experience. I can't wait to see these creations coming to life, so stay tuned for updates!

Sarah and Jay and their handmade invites.

Zoe's amazing wedding scrap book, which includes lots of lace and a whole page dedicated to us!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Read + listen + watch #1

with love from bobbin - read+hear+watch#1

Spring has decided to delay its appearance and left us all dreading a never-ending winter of unforgiving cold. That's why I've chosen to contradict this general gloomy state-of-mind by dedicating our first "suggestions" post to a very "springful" theme: HOPE!

1. Let's start with one of my eternal obsessions: Jane Austen. Persuasion, available in this beautiful hard-cover edition from Penguin (2011), tells us about a woman that dared to love even when all hope was gone. It is not a lightweight romance in which the heroine is solely obsessed with finding a marriage partner: the book makes us contemplate an existence consumed with regret and invites us to witness the transformations which the pursuit of happiness can bring.

2. There are a lot of films that could fit the category of hope, but The Color Purple (1985) occupies a very special place in my imagination. Maybe it is because of the beautiful photography and direction, maybe it is because of the award-winning narrative that tells us the story of a simple woman that finds her true value through the strength of friendship and forgiveness. Whatever the reason, believe me: the heart-lifting ending makes it worth all the drama!

3. My musical choice goes to the folk guitar virtuosity and evocative melodies of Richard Thompson. Regardless of trends and fashion he has carried on making what Rolling Stone magazine described as "spellbinding music for whoever cares to hear it". (Read more: Richard's career fills us with the hope of self-fulfilment based on authenticity rather than popularity, and that's why his work fits perfectly with our theme.

That's it for today. Needless to say I hope you like the suggestions!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Trend hunting

Once a month I pack my bags and head to London to spend a week working as a textile designer. This was one of those weeks. We were laying down the foundations of the next Autumn/Winter fabric collection, viewing and reviewing the best of the London, Paris, New York and Milan fashion weeks. All this research will help us to decide on the trends that will make our printed fabrics look fabulous next season! These fabrics will then travel all around the high street, appearing in display windows and filling shelves at Miss Selfridge, Asos and Topshop; it's a busy but very exciting time of the year!
Here's a sneak peek of what's to come - hope you like it!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

And now for something completely different

Last Sunday we were exhibiting at the quirky Something Kinda Vintage wedding fair, and it was certainly a day to remember! Michelle and Craig did a great job bringing together all kinds of creative people and putting on such an incredible event.
It was lovely to meet up with Bobbin's brides and to see our very own pieces coming down the catwalk. But perhaps the best thing about the day was having the chance to make new acquaintances and to get inspired by the work of so many talented people. Take Al and Johnny from Slightly Wobbly for example: they create funny, stylish illustrations and bespoke portraits! Sylvie and Joan was another great discovery. We loved meeting the company's owner and founder Emma, who has an incomparable sense of style and can really get things done when it comes to wedding and event planning. There were some beautiful cakes on show from Little Cake Cupboard and Heavenly - true works of art, and they taste as good as they look!
A big thanks to Something Kinda Cute (count us in for your next fair!), to Ears and Whiskers and to Kylie Jonkman for making our pieces stand out by working such wonders with hair and make-up.
Can't wait to see the official photos!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Real Brides: Emily

Back in January I met up with Emily to discuss some special headpieces for her and her bridesmaids. Emily told me all about her ideas and even gave me some bits of lace that she would like me to include in the pieces.
And thus began a wonderful creative journey!
Having in mind the 60's-inspired look that Emily was planning for her big day, I started off by reconstructing the scraps of lace, cropping each piece individually and sewing them back together. This up-cycled composition served as working base, to which I added the remaining elements: the rose, also supplied by Emily, ostrich feathers, the veiling, and other romantic and quirky details.

The bridesmaids pieces featured vintage flowers, ostrich feathers, pearls and even the same lace fabric used on Emily's dress. This particular detail completely transformed the pieces, giving them a lovely emotional side: I think they make perfect keepsakes!
I was very happy with the finished work and I was even happier after hearing back from Emily:
'It was a fantastic sunny day and I had so many lovely comments on my headpiece, thank-you so much again.'
This will be one project to remember!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The pearl of the Indian Ocean

This year's holiday plans have recently been occupying a large part of my day-dreaming time. We're going to Sri Lanka and I can't wait to dive into those tropical evergreen landscapes in search of inspiration for my work! 
Throughout the centuries the island has gathered different cultures, religions, languages and traditions. Needless to say, these varied influences have left their mark on art and fashion too.
I love the drama and grandeur of traditional Sri-Lankan jewellery headpieces, and I am not the only designer to feel that way! A couple of years ago Karl Lagerfield also dipped his toes into Indian seas in search of inspiration for an Autum/Winter Chanel collection and the results were fabulous! Just take a look at the majestic air of these creations:  refinement and exoticism at the same time! 
Let's hope the pearl of the Indian Ocean will have the same effect on me!

Image attributions:
Meter stamp catalog image, Sri Lanka type C3, by Richard Stambaugh (Richard Stambaugh) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Chanel , pre-autumn/winter 2012-13 collection , via vogue

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

All the fun of the fair...

Bobbin will be displaying her wares at the Something Kinda Vintage Fair (17th March - Cardiff Coal Exchange) so has been a busy bee preparing new treats for the lucky brides-to-be!
Very excited to be launching a new range of pretty wedding garters and quirky shoe clips - a little sneak peek below...

See you there!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Strike a pose

Today was a full day. We took part in a photo-shoot with VaidaB (photography), Kylie Jonkman (make-up) and the beautiful Joanna. Thank you guys for making our pieces shine even brighter!
More photos coming soon!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Vintage and quirky wedding fair - here we go!

Have you seen With Love From Bobbin's featured article on the Something Kinda Vintage Wedding Fair blog?! I'm mega excited about this fair... we'll be exhibiting new pieces!
See you there!

Something Kinda Vintage Wedding Fair
17th March - Cardiff Bay

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Our stock is officially in the cupboard!

Hi guys, this has undoubtedly been a great start to 2013, with wonderful new projects and partnerships. Earlier this month I met Sophie and Michelle, an energetic duo that run a dream of a shop in Cardiff called Hubbard's Cupboard. Inside their little world these two talented girls work on their creations (bespoke vintage dresses, wedding gowns and accessories, and personalized wedding stationery for quirky couples), and energise the art, design and vintage community by selling products from local makers, like me!
With Love From Bobbin fits perfectly with the Hubbard's Cupboard philosophy and mood: just take a look at our stock! Does it look fabulous or what?!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A precious workshop

For some time now I've been thinking about taking some of my bridal pieces to a sparkling new level by learning jewellery techniques! I found a great workshop, conveniently located close to home, and now I'll finally be able to use all that vintage jewellery I've been collecting over the years.
The items below were taken from my jewellery "finds" box, restrung and pinned to my board.
"Inspiration, work your magic!!"

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cheers to a new year!

What a great way to start 2013. I met up with the lovely Emily to discuss a bespoke headpiece for her big day! I like to keep my work meetings on a friendly level: that way, while we get to know each other a bit, I can better understand each client's preferences, their wedding plans, colour schemes, themes, and get a general feel about the whole occasion. Because you can only make a truly personalized item after getting to know the personality!
This particular headpiece will feature some of Emily's favourites, including some beautiful lace remnants that she had found in her attic! I was so excited with this mysterious material that I immediately started to work on mock-ups. Now that the design is chosen, let the craft work begin!
The final look will be revealed after the wedding, so stay tuned :)