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
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!
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!
As one of the earliest blooms of the season lilacs symbolize spring & renewal. It’s heady fragrance is unforgettably sweet, spicy and intense and it’s a cause for celebration when it returns to my garden.
“The smell of moist earth and lilacs hung in the air like wisps of the past and hints of the future.”
Margaret Millar (1947) Experiment in Springtime:A Novel, New York:Random House
One of the things I love about stepping out in a big city is the fabulous window dressing you see.
When I was in Tokyo this mens shoe store display caught my eye, it’s deceptively simple but carefully and artfully arranged.
The suspended writing (a play on pinstripes?) gives a sense of movement and the nonchalant lean of the umbrella is positioned just so that you can almost sense an imaginary hand resting on the handle.
I photographed a Melbourne window display back in 2014 that also used script in a clever way, appearing in reverse you needed to look at the shadow to read it.
Anyone care to have a go at deciphering what the scribbly man says?!
For Spring/Summer I’ve created a brand new card collection with pretty colours and whimsical designs with apple blossom, jonquils, sea shells and Flemish butterflies!
I’m also delighted to introduce a range of linen tea towels and new designs to our popular Love Letters & Christmas Collections.
You may have seen some sneak peeks on the petal & pins instagram of these new designs and I’ll be showing the full range including our signature collection the Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe® at Life Instyle Melbourne next week at stand 2249.
If you are retailer you have a chance to win $1000 to spend at the event by registering to attend here.
The ultimate destination for all things in style.
“Life Instyle is a boutique trade event for leading buyers with a discerning eye for quality and style. With a strong focus on creative excellence and innovative design, Life Instyle has become a highly anticipated and sought after event within the retail industry and a centre of activity for buyers with their finger on the pulse.
Explore a mix of beautiful designer brands featuring premium homeware, giftware, lifestyle and kids products all within an inspiring and fresh sourcing environment.
With two shows per year, visitors, including leading local and international buyers, interior designers, stylists and the media, all come from around Australia and beyond to source from the most exclusive brands in the country and enjoy the relaxed ambience and open floor plans that have become the trade mark of Life Instyle.”
I was excited for our lapel pins to arrive, just in time to wear at our upcoming trade fair in Melbourne!
Have you heard of the Just A Card Campaign? It came about when British artist & designer Sarah Hamilton saw the quote “If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought ‘just a card‘ we’d still be open” by store keepers who’d recently closed their gallery.
This prompted a call to action! Designer/Makers and independent shops and galleries needed a voice and so in 2015 Sarah started the wonderful Just A Card campaign.
Sarah says “when you buy JUST A CARD, just a book, just a gift etc from an independent shop or creative business you’re not just buying a card…you’re supporting passion, skill, creativity, originality and community” – I couldn’t put it better myself!
Many of the shops that sell my work are small independent stores with passionate owners, so my sucess is also linked to their sucess.
While the Just A Card Campaign started in Britian it’s message has resonated globally with designers, makers, and independent shops and galleries and next week is a 3rd Birthday celebration of just how far it’s come.
Coming from a small island off an island (my old atlas doesn’t even name it!) by necessity gives me a “there’s a whole world out there” focus on where I’d like petal & pins to be so I’ll be participating in their Five Day Instagram Challenge and I invite you to follow along – @petalandpins
How can you get involved?
And finally as Sarah says – by all means compliment people, it makes the world a far sunnier place, but if you can, please, buy ‘just a card‘!
Let me introduce you to Maggie Hannaford a fairly recent addition to my garden and a bit late to the party flowering but I’m not complaining – isn’t ‘she’ a beauty!
There are enough blooms this year for me to pick for my botanical art and still have some in the garden to admire.