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
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.
Winter skies are always beautiful in Hobart around dusk with pink hued clouds alluminated by the setting sun.
The aptly named flowering Shrimp Tail Salvia echos the colours of the evening sky and the leaves turn to patches of burgundy and green like an exotic camouflage print, perfect for the Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe.™
I once mistakenly picked this flower for a floral arrangement, the strong scent becomes more intense inside and is not at all pleasant – definitely a flower to simply admire in the garden.
At the beginning of 2016 we hit the ground running with preparations for our first trade fair in Sydney and that busy pace kept going – but all in a good way!
We attended local & interstate design markets, had two pop up shops and showed at a second trade fair in Melbourne. By Christmas time we were ready to flop on the couch with feet up, and although we did a little of that, while looking towards the new year we decided petal & pins was elbowing for more space so two days before New Years Eve we decided to swap some rooms around!
This was a big task to undertake and included painting one room and some clever problem solving of what would go where – so we took a collective big breath and got stuck in.
My sewing room is now in the smaller room – newly painted ‘Imperial White’ and petal & pins has a lovely light filled studio overlooking the garden with a desk for me and one for Mr Petal & Pins, stock on shelves instead of in stacked boxes, a place to put orders together and most importantly a space to be creative.
2017 I’ve got plans for you too!
We’re having such a great season for roses in Hobart and one of my favourites is the sweet Cécile Brünner.
I love to pick petite posies of them whilst still in bud and their size is perfect for creating my miniature flower couture!
One of petal & pins new stockists is Walker & Walker in Richmond Tasmania, they have a lovely mix of gifts, childrens toys, special things for the garden, antiques and vintage wares – my favourite kind of shop!
Richmond is a town about 25 kilometres north-east of Hobart, which makes it the perfect destination for an afternoon or weekend drive – which is just what we did to hand deliver our Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe cards instead of posting them!
Of course no trip to Richmond can be without a stroll down to the historic stone span bridge. It’s the oldest bridge still in use in Australia and popular with photographers – tourists and locals alike!
Find our Garden Fairy’s wardrobe cards at –
Walker & Walker
19 Bridge St, Richmond Tasmania
Hours 10 to 5 every day
We’re heading to the north of the state this coming week for a 2 day pop up shop at the Town House Gallery in Launceston.
Town House is more than just a gallery – it’s an indie store, studio and curated pop up space and it fosters a sense of community with artist run workshops.
Started by textile designer Meredith Ireland, it champions Australian art & design with a focus on the makers who call Tasmania home.
I first met Meredith online when she got in touch with me about writing a guest blog post for Create & Thrive in January. It was not something I’d done before, and we were busy in preparations for our first trade fair appearance so it presented a lovely opportunity to look at what had got me to that point and so I called my post ‘How a Head Full Of Dreams Became petal & pins‘.
That first guest blog post turned out to be a fitting representation of the year to unfold – a year full of ‘firsts’ – our first trade fair, our first big interstate design market, our first pop up shop.
On Saturday we took a drive up to Launceston and finally met Meredith in person and got to see the wonderful space we will transform into all things petal & pins next Friday & Saturday!
In August we showed at our second trade fair, in November we head back to the Bowerbird Design market and next week at Town House will be our 2nd pop up shop!
It’s a lovely coincidence that something towards the end of this year connects me up again with Meredith, it’s been a wonderful, busy, exhausting, exciting year and with only two more months to go I’m now dreaming about what’s next.
You can now find petal & pins whimsical designs in over 45 stockists – mostly in Australia (but we’re working on that!) as well as our online shop.
If you subscribe to the petal & pins newsletter you will be the first to hear where we’ll pop up next, get subscriber only offers and a special welcome gift. Subscribe here.
And, if you happen to be in Launceston next Friday or Saturday, come and say hello!
We opened the door to the petal & pins + amanda sheen jewellery pop up shop last Thursday.
It’s located in the lovely Salamanca Place inside an old stone warehouse – we’re having fun ‘keeping’ shop, meeting locals and interstate and overseas visitors – so thank you if you’ve come in for a chat and browse!
We’ve also been selling bunches of spring flowers picked and gathered each morning, they make the outside of the shop really pretty and add a burst of colour to the pop up shop bicycle basket.
Open every day until the 5th of October at Space 008 Salamanca Arts Centre, Salamanca Palace Hobart.
I was quite enamoured by this peony when I saw it, the velvety centre ‘fringed’ in gold and those streaks of magenta on each petal (perhaps applied by a garden fairy’s paint brush!)
The bushes were covered in blooms and my friend gathered a bunch for me to design with.
Thanks for following or simply stumbling across it and stopping to look around and if you happen to know the name of this peony variety I’d love to know.