Petal & Pins

Tag: books

The Fairy & The Farmer


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!

My limited edition prints can be purchased from the petal & pins online shop and selected stockists. Wholesale inquiries welcome.

The Faerie Handbook is available from bookshops worldwide and online through Amazon, Booktopia, Dymocks and the Faerie Magazine online store. 

Jupiter’s Beard & The Queen Of Vines

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

© Sandra Alcorn 2014

I had to go to my bookshelf to discover the name of the flowers I used for this Garden Fairy’s gown (it is indeed a gown rather than simply a dress – perhaps inspired by the metres of tulle I’m currently sewing up for my latest bride).

Consulting The Gardener’s Book of Colour I was able to identify it – Centranthus ruber albus – commonly referred to as Jupiter’s Beard.

I must say it’s prettier and more delicate than what a beard conjures up but I think naming it Jupiter’s gives it an air of magic.

Recently I discovered on Nathalie’s blog Cover Me In Flowers that clematis are sometimes referred to as Old Man’s Beard. I was similarly underwhelmed by the name but Nathalie reminded me of the feathery seed puffs that form and could be described as beard like.

I’ve never had much success at growing clematis but perhaps come Spring I’ll try again though I don’t think I’ll be calling it Old Man’s Beard – I much prefer their other name Queen of Vines.

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.

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