Two of the highlights of my year have been about collaboration.
In April Lisa Britzman, a ceramic artist and sustainable boutique farmer in the Huon Valley of Tasmania got in touch to see if I would be interested in having some of her autumn blooming saffron flowers to design my minature botanical couture with.
Mr Petal & Pins and I drove down to Campo de Flori Farm which is picturesquely located high in the hills. It was facinating to see saffron growing and Lisa showed us how it is harvested. I brought a basketful of the striking purple flowers home and designed a mini collection of dresses that has kicked off the Farmgate Project by petal & pins.
Recently we went back to the farm for olive blossoms and culinary lavender – and of course we were only too happy to come home with some freshly baked lavender shortbread biscuits too!
The other wonderful collaboration began in the Spring of 2016 when Carolyn Turgeon editor-in-chief of Faerie Magazine interviewed me by skype for the The Faeirie Handbook – ‘an enchanting compendium of Literature, Lore, Art, Recipes and Projects’.
In winter this year I got a sneek peek at the proofs for the pages featuring my Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe® and the beautiful cover featuring Euphaeidae from the Wonderland series by Kirsty Mitchell Photography but of course had to keep it a secret until its release.
The book launched in November and I was very excited when my copy from publisher Harper Collins New York office arrived!
It’s an exquisite hardback book with silver edged pages and I couldn’t be more proud to be featured within it.
There’s something for everyone who loves a bit of whimsy and magic of any age with chapters on Flora & Fauna, Fashion & Beauty, Arts & Culture and Home, Food & Entertaining.
So let me know if you see The Faerie Handbook in your local bookstore…or if you have a suggestion for a collaboration why not get in touch!
The Faerie Handbook is available from bookshops worldwide and online through Amazon, Booktopia, Dymocks and the Faerie Magazine online store.
In November Mr Petal & Pins and I headed to Adelaide to do our 4th Bowerbird Design Market.
We love this event for all sorts of reasons – and although it’s work it’s also lots of fun, although not so much the 4am start to catch our flights (2) to get to Adelaide in time to set up!
We get to share our story and products directly to consumers and chat with other designers and makers from all around the country running creative businesses just like us.
And then there is the food…our favourite this time was from The Seasonal Garden Cafe. Their endeavour is to celebrate seasonal produce serving simple, peasant food that is guided by what is available from their cafe garden and from the gardens of local growers – and they certainly delivered that in a very delicous way!
Equally impressive was their stand display so I took some photos to share with you.
This beautiful porcelain vase was a gift from a friend and it’s sensuous form is deceptively simple.
There is the finest line of handpainted gold around the top of the neck and when not showing off a flower is far more objet d’art than just simply an empty vase.
The peony with its hint of pink and ruffled petals is dreamy and romantic just like the Solstiss lace for haute couture Gaultier Paris from fall-winter 2005 -2006 featured in the book Solstiss: The seduction of lace by Ann Kraatz.
I don’t often bring these peonies inside because they are highly attractive to ants for some reason and indeed this morning I had to give this one a good shake to avoid bringing any inside.
But they won’t be flowering for long with the warm weather we’re getting and seemed the perfect pairing with this vase to share for Cathy’s In a Vase on Monday.
These are a few of the photos I took of the Heide II kitchen garden in which Sunday Reed worked daily until just before her death in 1981. It’s a beautiful serene garden so I can imagine the joy of being in it daily – despite the sign warning to be aware of snakes!
The big voluptuous blooms from the tree peony started to slump in the cut glass vase and as the petals started to dry the colours intensified.
I left the vase sitting on the cocktail cabinet and every day more petals gathered around the base of the vase looking like a decadently dishevelled ball gown discarded by my garden fairy.
When it became more mess than beautiful I scooped up the petals to design with – their texture like silk paper taffetta and each one uniquely shaped and coloured I almost got lost in admiring their detail.
There is beauty in decay.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream”
While I may be enjoying Spring, you may be somewhere watching the leaves turn and fall.
In this picture it’s surrounded by some of my vintage pieces including a very special bag.
It arrived one day in the post with a lovely note from a friend, the bag belonged to her mum and made her think of me and so wanted me to have it.
“…You bring me fond memories of my mum when you talk about her. I don’t mean for it to be a bag you would carry – it just feels as if it would be more at home with you!”
Now I’ve always been attracted to vintage bags, from ones in my childhood dress up box to the op shop and flea market finds I collected as a fashion design student so it was easy to see why she thought of me!
I was delighted with both the bag and the sentiment from a friend I see all too rarely (we live in different parts of the country) and this lovely gesture shows we will always be kindred spirits. I will use the bag – in fact I already have, I’ve also been leaving it sitting on my grandmothers dressing table that we use for a hall stand so I can glance at it every day.
You can see all my card and art print designs here.