While Tasmania based artist Sandra Alcorn began her career as a designer in the fashion industry, she traded fabric for petals when she established …Floral Couture by Sandra Alcorn of Petal & Pins
Staying home and social distancing during this global pandemic is hardly an imposition on a beautiful Autumn day when I have a garden to step into. My Garden Office is of course just a folly but a pretty one at that! I hope it inspires you to find joy in the things around you.
While autumn has begun here in Australia I’ve channeled spring vibes for this photo with my copy of British Vogue’s Spring Fashion 2020 issue.
As a fashion design student long before the age of internet, the arrival of the latest issues of international fashion magazines on the newsstand was cause for excitement. Vogues from France, Italy, the US and UK, Harpers Bazaar, Donna and the then new edgy publications ID, The Face and Details.
If you knew someone going overseas you would ask them to bring magazines back because that ‘Air Freight – Just Landed’ sticker wasn’t as quick as it implied and as a student imported magazines were expensive.
Of course now the latest collections can be seen in an instant on a device in the palm of your hand…but there’s something intrinsically enjoyable about flipping through the pages of a magazine – it makes you slow down and encourages you to take a moment for yourself (maybe with a cup of tea or a glass of wine) and aimlessly flipping or working your way through it from cover to cover depending on the mood you’re in.
In my styled spring Flat Lay are roses from my garden, petal & pins Blush Rose greeting card from the Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe Collection, Vintage Rose handkerchief and some of my favourite accessories.
Last European spring I was delighted to have my Aquilegia & Rose Dress art print featured in UK Bride magazine’s The Pretty List after the editors saw us exhibiting at the Top Drawer London tradeshow.
Alas my efforts to track down a physical copy came up empty handed but at least I have this digital image to share because it was a proud moment to be included alongside so many pretty floral things…and being called ‘Budding genius’ no less!
I’d like to say I sat down to this cup of tea and spent a few hours sketching but it’s just a pretty tableau to show off the beautiful detail inside the cover of our petal & pins notebooks that we released at the beginning of Spring. It’s exciting to go from an idea, finesse a design and then hold a new product in my hands.
The posy in the photo is from my patchwork hedge, there is lilac, crabapple blossom, japonica, beauty bush and a rose and if I’m lucky (like this year) their flowering overlaps for a colourful spring display.
The hedge inspired the patchwork dress which features in our Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe card collection. A sundress design I like to think of as conjuring up weekends wandering around markets or picnics with friends.
I timed the photoshoot perfectly because now it’s raining – the garden will love that and I’ll go and put the kettle on for a cup of tea I’ll actually get to drink before sorting stock to pack for the Made by Hand Market this weekend at Hazelhurst Arts Centre.
Made By Hand Artisan Market
10 – 3 Sunday 13 Oct 2019
Hazelhurst Arts Centre
782 Kingsway, Gymea, NSW
This event is part of Sydney Craft Week see what other events are on here, and if you’re out and about in Sydney on the sunday come and say hello!
We recently swapped our Australian Autumn for a bit of New York Spring. That required hopping on three planes and over 24 hours of travelling time from walking out our front door to reaching our destination!
The antidote to jet lag and such a long journey? Wandering around the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
This ‘cameo’ view is in the Cranford Rose Garden which first opened in 1928. It has one of the largest collections in North America, over a thousand kinds of roses are cultivated.
Although we were too early for the roses to be blooming we were there at the perfect time for the Japanese tree peonies and the bluebell wood in all its glory – a beautiful and gentle start to a whirlwind ten days of sightseeing, trade show exhibiting and catching up with friends!
I think autumn is one of my favourite months to join Cathy from Rambling In The Garden’s Monday blog post project In A Vase On Monday.
There’s always an eclectic mix of colour and shapes to choose from in my garden at this time and the end result is often bolder and more considered in the way I put things together.
This morning I’ve chosen to use my glass vase that has a swirl of crimson around the top thinking it would pick up the colour of the crabapples growing in our hedge.
The ones I could reach to pick are a much more golden hue, and with a trio of pink roses I also picked some mottled hydrangeas to tie it all together.
A stack of magazines was a practical solution as a makeshift plinth to raise the flowers for photographing but I thought the gorgeous rich image on the cover of Flowbulous magazine also created a beautiful backdrop!
I bought the magazine in Japan last year and it’s full of incredible photographs and flowers by Atsushi Taniguchi.
As I arranged my vase I began to realise I’d not picked nearly enough for such a wide necked vase and at that moment it started to pour with rain. My solution? the gum nuts sitting undercover on the verandah and some hydrangeas dried from last autumn in the palest of pink.
The gum nuts of course add a distinctive Australian touch to my vase so I decided to photograph it with Desmond the Tasmanian devil – a beautiful print from an original watercolour drawing by Melbourne artist Daniella Leo.
And that is what’s inspired this Monday’s blog post title!
I’m a little late with my first blog post for 2019, our January trip to exhibit at Top Drawer London S/S had us on the go from day one.
But as February starts to disappear the beginning of a new week has spurred me to dive back in and what better inspiration for a post than participating in Cathy from Rambling in the Garden’s In A Vase On Monday!
I have a small clump of Amaryllis belladonna growing in my garden but this big bunch I was given by my neighbour.
These lillies are a bit ‘now you see me now you don’t’ – with warmer than average weather this summer and everything looking a bit dry and a little jaded, suddenly in gardens and paddocks up pop the ‘naked ladies’, prettiness that belies hardiness.
This time last year we were excitedly planning our trip to Japan and on the weekend we finally hung the beautiful drawings we bought at the Oedo Antique Market in Tokyo.They are actually technical drawings – designs for obi, the sash worn with a kimono. The market seller had a large pile of them with other trinkets laid out on a cloth. I hovered rather impatiently as someone before me went through cherry picking a lot of the most beautiful ones!
Of the two we chose I had thought the other one – a lush arrangement of peonies and chrysanthemums was my favourite but now hung, one each side of the fireplace, the simplicity and serenity of this one beckons me to pause, imagine myself on a river bank, glance through the over hanging branches and watch the ripples dancing on the surface of the water.
With several warm December days in a row the magnolia outside our studio window has been a mass of blooms. I glanced out at this one last week and it was perfectly open for photographing but a little high up for a good shot without the step ladder.
I hesitated for a moment and told myself not to get distracted from all the work I had to do that day and take a photo later…of course when I did go back outside the petals had started to close up and I’d missed the moment.
The next day the flower was less than perfect but a buzz with bees – so I grabbed my camera and the step ladder.
First there was one bee, then two, then three gathering pollen before flying off to another flower. No sooner had they left a bumble bee arrived and burrowed into the stamens.
We’ve been busy as bees in the petal & pins studio these last few months with Christmas markets, orders to get out the door and preparations for our first international trade show in the new year.
The ‘To Do’ list is finally starting to feel like it’s decreasing not increasing but as any small business owner knows it never stays that way for long.
I’m looking forward to a few days over Christmas doing nothing at all – hopefully the weather will be agreeable to lying on a blanket in the garden with a book!