Petal & Pins

Month: August, 2013

Madame Agnès & The Mademoiselle

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

This week I’m excited to have a new stockist for my Garden Fairy’s wardrobe cards in the north of the state.

I posted off a selection to The Brown Dog in Stanley, so if you find yourself in the beautiful north west of Tasmania do visit the store. It’s given me yet another reason why I must plot a road trip north but in the mean time – in honour of the store’s name – I’m posting a photo of Agnes my Labradoodle.

Agnes is named after Madame Agnès, a French milliner who was famous for cutting her elegant brims while they were being worn by her clients. Madame Agnès established her salon on the rue du Faubourg Saint Honore in 1917 – the same year my house was built (I love serendipitous coincidences)!

Agnes is photographed on the front verandah with a heart of Cécile Brunner roses. The book ‘Naming of the rose’ by Roger Mann says the original name for the rose was actually ‘Mademoiselle Cécile Brunner’ named after ‘the charming daughter of M.Ulrich Brunner, rose-grower of Lausanne’ by M. Pernet-Ducher as a tribute to his senior colleague and rival. Its American nickname is the Sweetheart Rose.

I am lucky to have half a dozen bushes of Cécile Brunner roses in my garden. I posted a Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe dress using them last November and below is a new design which is coming soon to my Spring/Summer 13/14 range of cards.

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

Cut From The Same Cloth

© Sandra Alcorn 2012

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

Sometimes I just create the one design from a particular flower for my Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe and other times they inspire a flurry of ideas and I end up with a collection.

This is another one using the flowers from Viburnum Opulus – or snowball bush – which I did last Spring. You can see one of the other designs in my post Snowballs In Spring. Buds are yet to appear on the one growing in my garden, but I guess it won’t be long.

The Language Of Flowers

© Sandra Alcorn

© Sandra Alcorn

I love this time of year as everyday there is a new discovery of something flowering in the garden. Both plum trees are in blossom, I’ve started to see patches of blue grape hyacinth, sunny yellow daffodils and I have been picking posies of violets from underneath the cherry tree.

In the Victorian era there was a resurgence in using the meanings of flowers to convey messages and emotions. Hyacinths symbolised sincerity, daffodils chivalry and violets meant faithfulness or ‘I’ll always be true’ – although if the violets were white they sent an all together different message – ‘lets take a chance’.

I recently read the novel ‘The Language of Flowers’ by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. Set in the present the protagonist uses flowers to engage with the world around her and nurture her own wounded soul. Believing in the power of the language of flowers she discovers she has a gift she can share and that will also bring her redemption. I enjoyed the story and loved the wonderful descriptions of flowers – growing them, choosing them, arranging them and giving them. Having meaning attached to each flower was an enchanting way of threading the storyline together.


© Sandra Alcorn

© Sandra Alcorn   2013

Same flower, different hue –

Roses of Winter

Petal to Cloth

Hippy Chic

Ugly Chic

A Lingering Reminder

Venice Fabric

This morning it was raining.

When it rains in the morning it often takes me back to the last day of my first visit to Venice. It was one of the few days it rained on that holiday, and opening the shutters I looked out the window to a steady stream of coloured umbrellas heading over the Ponte Chiodo bridge below.

As everyone scurried to where ever they were heading I lingered at the window watching and promised myself I’d be back. I bought a length of fabric on that trip from a shop on Strada Nova in the Cannaregio district – it now hangs on my wall, a daily reminder of a few days spent in  a city I fell in love with.

Last year I made good on my promise and returned to Venice. Again I bought some fabric, this time from the Fortuny workshop on the island of Guidecca. I made another promise to myself and in the meantime the fabrics are a reminder of happy holidays – and rainy mornings when you’ve time to linger.

Fortuny Fabric

From Petal To Cloth

Spring/Summer  2013/14 © Sandra Alcorn 2013

Spring/Summer 2013/14
© Sandra Alcorn 2013

In my previous post Roses Of Winter  the flowers of the hellebores were just starting to appear and now they’re out everywhere.

I’ve been sketching wedding dress ideas for Summer brides in the last few weeks and I think that’s influenced this Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe design.

I can imagine it reinterpreted in silk gazaar – a fabric that was developed for the couturier Christobel Balenciaga who used it in his collections in the 1960’s. Like a heavier silk organza the fabric has a crisp hand and a smooth texture – perfect for the ‘petal’ layers. The green ‘blush’ would be hand painted and the cream stamens and magenta speckles a delicate scattering of caviar beads.

Seaweed Siren

Beach combing on the east coast has inspired a very different design for my Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe – I discovered a variety of beautiful coloured seaweeds, fine and lacy, washed up amongst the shells and pebbles.

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

© Sandra Alcorn 2013


© Sandra Alcorn 2013

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

© Sandra Alcorn 2013


%d bloggers like this: