My work focuses on the intricate details of nature. As long as I can remember I have been fascinated by the natural world and have a lifelong interest in the fragile delicacy of flowers and their pollinators. I have a particular interest in wild flowers and my work often is the result of studying their detailed complexity. I often work with magnification in my pursuit of beauty, creating fine detailed work drawing on my experiences and love of textiles. I have developed my own particular ways of making, drawing on my millinery and flower-making techniques and skills, embroidery, bead and wire work to produce tiny miniature worlds that are hats, sculptures, bespoke flowers, and brooches.
I love the construction of fabric and this led me to weaving very fine silk and then to making hats. I love their self containment, the tools, the blocks, the beautiful woven straw.
I have a First Class Honours Degree in textile design from WSCAD. A Crafts Council grant helped me set up in business in the 1980s, winning awards for my designs. I studied millinery at the London College of Fashion under Marie O’Regan.
My first order was with Bloomingdales followed by The Mulberry Company and most of the major stores, including Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Liberty, Fortnum and Mason, Saks 5th Ave, Bergdorf Goodman and Mitsukoshi.
After 17 years of working ridiculously long hours with little time to design and be inspired, I decided it was time to have a break.
I moved away from London to Sussex with my husband and our two spaniels, where I rediscovered my love of the beauty and intricacy of the natural world. Wildlife gardening became a passion and soon the garden became full of flowers, trees and shrubs that encouraged nature to flourish. I grew up in the countryside, on the Somerset / Wiltshire borders, living next to a bluebell woods and I spent my early years studying flowers, birds and insects.
I have been sewing, drawing and painting since childhood having had a very inspiring art education and a grandmother who taught me to sew, knit and crochet with attention to detail and precision. I studied textiles A level, it was the first year it had been taught at our school, and it was at that point I knew that my future would have something to do with fabrics.
As well as designing and making, I am now a short course tutor at West Dean College and I also run day workshops from my home, passing on skills and encouraging others to learn to observe the natural world, and to protect its fragile inhabitants.
These one-day workshops are suitable for any level but making the flowers requires patience and some sewing skills.
These workshops are priced at £120 which includes all materials (and a box to take your flowers home in), a delicious vegetarian lunch, drinks and home-made cake.
I stock a range of beautiful stainless-steel flower-making tools, hand-made by Guy Morse-Brown, for sale individually or in sets, as well as silk, wires and small sets of dyes.
We're close to the centre of Hassocks, in West Sussex, just 2 minutes walk from Hassocks station on the London to Brighton line, and around 10 minutes drive from the A23.
Thursday, 9 August 2018 – 10:00am – 5:00pm
A day exploring the finer details of these most common wild flowers. Daisies and buttercups take us on a nostalgic journey back to our childhood and have a place in our hearts but once picked they wilt so quickly. This is an opportunity to study and capture the colours and textures of these beautiful flowers and to make a small brooch or corsage that will look realistic but with no wilting!
Saturday, 25 August 2018 – 10:00am – 5:00pm
This is a day to make a beautiful big peony. Really observing the construction and colours and working with templates and silk satin organza you will make this flower completely from scratch including the stamens and calyx. There will be plenty of guidance and help with colour and form and information for you to take away to make your own flowers.
14 – 16 December 2018
West Dean College
Learn how to make couture millinery silk and velvet roses. Experiment with traditional French and Japanese heated tools to manipulate the fabric, shape and dye the petals. Make stamens, bond silk layers, disguise wire and bind stems. Learn about the construction of flowers through observation, before assembling as a brooch pin or hair accessory.BOOK NOW
10 – 13 February 2019
West Dean College
Learn how to make couture millinery orchids using different types of silk. Experiment with traditional French and Japanese heated tools to manipulate the fabric and shape petals. Dye your own petal colours, make stamens, bond silk layers, disguise wire and bind stems, and learn about the construction of an orchid through observation before assembling.BOOK NOW
Short course: Wednesday 27 – Friday 29 June 2018
West Dean College
Learn to make delicate realistic silk daisies using traditional French and Japanese heated millinery tools, dyes and sewing.BOOK NOW
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