31 August 2011

New Designers 2011 Show

Back in the end of June, I was invited to visit the New Designers 2011 Show in London. My brother's girlfriend, Jo, was exhibiting her final degree work in the Jewellery and Metalworks section and she gave me a couple of tickets.

The entrance to the New Designers Show, held at the Business Design Centre, London.

I took my friend Philippa along as well. We went in the evening after work so I only had time to look at the section Jo was in. The show was split into two parts with craft and design in the first week, and graphic and product design in the second.

It was great to see Jo's work displayed on her table. I had seen some of her work when artworking her business cards and postcards as a little favour. However, seeing the pieces in the flesh is a whole different matter. 

I ended up falling in love with a particular piece (below), which I asked Jo if I could buy from her. She had already sold her first piece, a caddy spoon, earlier that day and she was pleased to have another person interested in her work.

The piece I bought from Joanne Wombwell

Here are some more pictures of her work and some other people's work that caught my eye, that have kindly permitted me to feature here.

Joanne Wombwell

Joanne Wombwell:
"Specialising in metalsmithing and enamelling, with inspiration drawn from Antonio Gaudi's organic architecture and vibrant mosaics, I create decorative and functional objects, currently including vessels and caddy spoons. Using precious and base metals, I hammer form the metal over various metal stakes, in tree trunks and sand bags, then through acid etching and enamelling I decorate the pieces. The vessels are designed to hold small items of jewellery, trinkets and treasures or simply enhance an area within any indoor space. A generous helping of tea leaves, from the caddy spoons, will make a perfect tea for one!"

Lauren Davies

Lauren Davies:
"Lauren Davies is a recent graduate from UCA. Her interest lies in the relationships we have with everyday objects, the memories they evoke and the feelings we have for them. Most recently her work has drawn inspiration from old clock pieces. This interest in mechanisms has resulted in movement being a focal point of her work, enabling the wearer can interact with the pieces." 

Nicola Crawford

Nicola Crawford:
"Nicola’s work examines the use of text as a decorative form, being inspired by a letter written during the II Word War she found in an antique shop. This made her think about the way we communicate with friends and loved ones today. Text messages and emails can never convey the same feelings of a handwritten letter. This letter had been kept for many years possibly treasured, read and re read many times. 
Nicola used computer aided design and laser technology alongside hand making techniques to develop a range of jewellery that would convey the permanence of handwritten letters, something that could be held in the hand and treasured."

Nora Loh

Nora Loh:
"Nora Loh’s designs use precious metals, gemstones and pearls to achieve a classic but contemporary look. She has recently received awards from The Goldsmiths’ Company and the British Jewellers’ Association. Nora's designs are inspired by nature and influenced by good design in other fields, from pottery to furniture and architecture."

Anna Pearson

Anna Pearson:
"My designs tend to spring from structure, man-made and natural. I try to take aspects of both and rebuild them to create forms that are graceful and flowing. The materials to be used have significant bearing on the design process as each material has it's own unique properties.
I use traditional techniques alongside modern technologies which allows me to attain high levels of craftmanship and to adhere to the values of truth to material, structure and function.
"Form ever follows function" stands at the heart of my work. It must have a use, but also be aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Hopefully I am successful in this goal!"

Emma Louise Simmonds

Emma Louise Simmonds:
"Jewellery Designer, Emma Louise Simmonds, specialises in using laser welding as a creative tool to design beautiful, geometric jewellery, inspired by the tessellation and repetition within nature. 
Taking influence from crystal structures, amongst other forms in nature to create imaginative designs, Emma challenges the traditional methods of holding gemstones. Laser welding technology has enabled her to invent new and contemporary stone settings that take full advantage of the shape and cut of the gemstones." 

Lauren Cassells

Lauren Cassells:
"My work is based on my personal experience with growing plants. It is something that I thoroughly enjoy; yet fail at almost every time. 
This series is a take on plants that grow and survive in difficult conditions. I wanted to create jewellery that grows from the body, out of cracks in your fingers, or appearing as if the jewellery is shooting out of the skin." 

I hope you have enjoyed looking at these talented designers' work. Please consider supporting independent makers and buying their work. I can't put into words how enjoyable it is to own a unique or bespoke piece of work.

26 August 2011

My first follower

Just a quick note to say that I am super chuffed to have my first follower to my blog! Hello there follower, its nice to talk to you! (Me waving at my screen to you)

Hopefully you are the first of many or at least a few. Maybe I should aim for three followers to begin with. Best not be greedy!

Happy Bank Holiday weekend! Hope it's not too soggy for you.


24 August 2011

The Language of Flowers

I recently read The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh and really enjoyed how the flower theme wove through the story line. It got me thinking about what my own wedding flower bouquet symbolised (see below: number 3).

I thought it would be interesting to see what other bridal bouquets and their flowers represent. Their meanings were found by searching the internet and as well as from the book.

What did your wedding flowers mean? Did your florist mention symbolism of flowers when you were planning? Or was it about what flowers matched with your colour theme and available in season like my own did?

1. Calla lilies
Lily (Calla) = beauty / modesty

2. Carnations (image source)
Carnation (Pink) = I'll never forget you / mother's love
Carnation (White) = sweet and lovely / innocence / pure love / faithfulness / good luck

3. My oriental lily bouquet
Lily (Oriental) = happiness, excitement, and prosperity
Lisianthus = appreciation / deep, heartfelt, romantic desire / charisma and congeniality
Ivy = fidelity / friendship / affection
Rose (Pink) = grace / perfect happiness

4. Orange Gerberas (image source)
Gerbera = regard

5. Sunny yellow bouquet (image source)
Sunflower = false riches / loyalty
Rose (Yellow) = infidelity / joy / friendship

6. Summery meadow flowers (image source)
Poppy = fantastic extravagance / eternal sleep, oblivion, imagination

7. Miranda roses (image source)
Rose (Pink) = grace / perfect happiness
Lily (Calla) = beauty
Amaranthus = immortality / unfading

8. Sensational Spring (image source)
Muscari = power and confidence
Ranunculus = radiant charm
Tulip (Yellow) = cheerful thoughts
Rosemary = remembrance

9. Powder pink and blue (image source)
Delphinium = levity / airy
Hydrangea = dispassion / heartfelt emotions
Hostas = devotion

10. Classic red (image source)
Rose (Red) = love / passion
Rose (Deep Red) = un-selfconscious beauty

11. White orchids (image source)
Orchid (Phalaenopsis) = flower of magnificence
Orchid = love / beauty / refined beauty

12. Christmas posy (image source)
Amaryllis = pride / radiant/splendid beauty
Lisianthus = appreciation / deep, heartfelt, romantic desire / charisma and congeniality
Holly = foresight / good will
Freesia =  lasting friendship / innocence and thoughtfulness.
Trachilium = neglected beauty

18 August 2011

My Lily and Meadow Themed Wedding

Planning my wedding and creating the designs for it sparked the idea to form Lovely Designs. Here are a selection of pictures of my wedding day so you can see how it turned out. You can see my wedding stationery on this post. Enjoy! 

I commissioned Sky Blue Designs to create my bespoke lily jewellery to tie in with the theme. 
My tiara was bought in Grays Antiques in London.

Me and my chief bridesmaid, Philippa, made the bow aisle decorations together by hand.

Top picture (left to right): 
Gaz (usher), James Magnus (usher and my brother), Alain (best man), Matthew (groom), 
Me and the bridesmaids: Philippa (chief bridesmaid), Becci (sister-in-law), Jane and Jordana.

We had tasty rack of lamb for our main course by Tierney's Caterers. The stacked cake (bottom right) 
was made by mum and is a Norwegian traditional cake called Kransekake. 

Friday 10th October 2008 (I can't believe how fast the time has flown by!)

Oaks Farm Barn, Shirley, Surrey

Theme / Colours:

Catering - Tierney's Catering
Jewellery - Sky Blue Designs
Stationery - Lovely Designs

Highlights of the wedding day:
The weather was amazing with bright sunshine and not a drop of rain. For a wedding in the UK and in October it was lucky for us! It meant we could have full use of the venue's gardens with no soggy heels.

It was the best day of my life because we had all these people who had travelled far and wide to support us on our special day. It was great to gather everyone together and enjoy a few drinks and tasty food with them.

... The fact that I got to wear a pretty dress was a bit of a bonus too!

Anything you would have done differently?:
Overall I thought the day went well and was lucky with how smoothly things ran but there were a couple of small niggles.

Even though I had allowed plenty of time for hair and make up in the morning, the time still flew by and I ended up running out of time to get dressed. When I popped my skirt on, it was hanging lower due to a last minute loss of weight or something. As there was no time to think, I left it as it was but it was a bit too long and didn't sit properly on the floor. If I had more time, I might have thought to safety pin it at the top so it sat higher under the corset.

The other thing was the DJ. We hired a friend from the pub my mum used to work at and he insisted that he would play whatever we wanted. I spent quite a bit of time compiling a list of songs that we loved and hated and I even purchased some of them to put on disc. In the end, the DJ did play a few cheesy songs and didn't use my list. But people were up dancing and the overall atmosphere was fun so I didn't worry about it too much.

How did your wedding reflect your personality?:
I love purple and so does Matthew. He wore a black suit and shirt which suits his normal style of dark colours. There was no way I could see him wearing a grey morning suit and a pale pink tie! The deep pink is also a colour that I love and thought worked well with the purple. I felt it suited the time of year to have deep berry colours. Definitely no pastels!

My favourite flowers are lilies and wanted to use them to create a bold and colourful theme.

The venue itself is a very intimate setting and gave the day a relaxed feel that suited us both as we wanted to keep things simple.

Where did you get your ideas and inspiration?:
I bought a few (but not loads) wedding magazines whilst planning the wedding. Mainly, I searched the internet for mood boards and discussion posts. I looked at Confetti for a starting point but felt a lot of there stuff is very generic. If I was planning a wedding now, I would look at the wealth of wedding blogs that are available. Some of my favourites blogs I currently follow for inspiration are listed on my profile.

Any time or money saving tips?:
Try to get friends and family to help with arranging or supply a service. My brother's friend's mum made cakes from home, so she made our wedding cake for a reasonable price.

Advice to other brides-to-be:
I think its easy to get carried away when planning weddings. I hear so many stories of bridezillas going on rampages and thinking only of themselves. On the other end of the scale are brides trying to please everyone. I'd like to think of myself as a balanced person, so I was somewhere in the middle with bouts of both behaviour.

Our wedding cost was split between my parents, Matthew's parents and we payed for the remainder. This meant that I was aware that they were entitled to an opinion too. When there was a difference in opinion we had an informal vote. Some people 'won' and some 'lost'. I was fairly open to compromise but there were some things that I wouldn't budge on. That's the thing to remember, it's your special day but you are also sharing it with others. Pick what is truly important to you and make sure you get that right. Everything else will fall in to place.

I also think that even when things go wrong on a wedding day (and they always do at some level), at least you will have something memorable to talk about in years to come. It could even be a hilariously funny tale, it all depends on your attitude towards the day. It is after all just one day. You have the rest of your life to enjoy and experience together (commonly known as marriage).

11 August 2011

Getting started

The time has certainly flown since I started this blog and I hope to finally start blogging in the next week or so.

In the next post I thought I will start with some pictures of my own wedding as that is the beginning of the Lovely Designs story. I will list the suppliers I used and will describe my best and worst bits about the day.

Then I plan to post about the designs I created for it. Hopefully it will be useful to see the finished product (the wedding) and all that led up to it. It's coming up to our 3 year anniversary this October so it will be fun to have a trip down memory lane.

I would love to feature other weddings too. If you would like to share your special day with me and this blog, it would be great to hear from you.