branding, craft, crochet, knitting, sewing, summer, Uncategorized, Winter, yarn

Forging Ahead

Since my last post, I’ve been a very busy person!

I’ve spent lots of time going through the branding process for my revamped business (see the last post for the fantastic book that I have used to do this)…

The process is more complex than you would imagine, but the more time spent on research and design details will hopefully pay off later on.  I have worked through all the hard sections and am now on the more fun areas.

Colour psychology is fascinating – colours have a wonderfully evocative influence on our moods and, even if we don’t realise it, on our purchasing choices.  Think how often gold is used for luxury and red for passion / fire.

If I was designing this business to appeal to myself, I would likely take these vibrant, jewel colours as my preference, but this does not fit with the values and market which I am looking to appeal to.  This was from the Bath Festival last week (unfortunately The Doctor was not there to whisk me away in the Tardis!)

Colours can be grouped by season and can resonate with certain values, your personality and that which you hold as being most important to represent your brand.  One season should be dominant, but you can integrate a small influence from another season.

On going through this part I found that I was predominantly summer (which fits with my target market) and with winter as my second choice (again which covers some of the areas that are important, but that Summer does not encompass.

Summer shades are generally cool, elegant, traditional, soft and muted.  Winter, on the other hand, is opulent, intense, clear and grounded.

Shapes are also encompassed in these seasonal trends – for summer, faded florals, romantic serif fonts, vintage styling and soft textures.  For winter, geometrics, strong and clean images whether opulent or simple.

Interestingly, all of these parts were all that I had previously envisaged, and am thrilled that this fits in with my original thoughts.

The most difficult task I felt was to sum up my business in three words, from the range of descriptive terms that had been established through all of my research.  So here it is…

Aspirational, bespoke, luxe.

I want to be making beautiful, affordable, personalised creations, with a touch of opulence, for those of us who would love a bit more luxury in our lives.  I have added to my lovely collection of pearls, crystals and gems with these pearl pins, for a new idea for a product, which has arisen from all of my research.

More on that later!

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craft, crochet, sewing, Uncategorized, vintage, yarn

New Products, New Ideas

I’ve had a lovely few days with Mum visiting, as I’ve been unwell and she has been visiting to look after me.  But also we’ve been practising my sewing skills, expanding my repertoire after having attended a sewing class recently.

I had the idea to make a crocheted clutch bag, but wanted to know how to line it with fabric to get a professional finish.  Thankfully Mum has the skills to teach me!  This is the item in progress.  The first part after finishing the main crochet design, was to block it to size and measure up the fabric.

Finally I have managed to use my KnitPro blocking pins and mats and they were fabulous – well recommended (from Wool Warehouse with free shipping…)  The yarn I used was Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran – it holds up very well and was a joy to work with.

We quickly decided that there needed to be some interfacing to stiffen the edges, otherwise it wouldn’t hold up too well.  Eventually we settled on sew in interfacing which we measured to just under the size of the silk taffeta lining fabric.

And here is the finished article!  I’m so happy with the outcome – finished off with a magnetic bag clasp and a vintage brooch.

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In fact, I love it so much I’ve even started on the next one already!

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craft, crochet, knitting, Uncategorized, yarn

30 Day Knitting Challenge -Day 24

Into the home stretch now…

Day 24: Have you ever made your own pattern or dyed your own yarn? How did it turn out?

I have designed plenty of crochet projects, but so far I have only designed one knitting project and that is my Christmas Pudding place settings / decorations.  They are just the right size to fit a chocolate underneath as a little treat!

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I have been spending far more time crocheting in the last year or two so am looking to do a bit more knitting and hopefully I will be able to start designing a bit more!

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Uncategorized

Standen delivers…

I have had a really busy couple of weeks, planning for a Craft Fair I will be doing in Devon on Saturday.

It involves a long drive and a very early start, but hopefully then an evening in a nice Devon pub and a glass or two of tipple to warm me ol’ cockles!

In the meantime I spent a lovely weekend with Mum and Dad over Easter, we had lots of fun and I was thrilled to see Mum knitting, she has developed quite a taste for it!  We are going to Spain again soon so hopefully will take some projects with us…

We visited a National Trust property – Standen – which is absolutely wonderful, and well worth a visit.  Sadly I hadn’t charged my camera so I couldn’t get any pictures.  Standen is a beautiful arts and crafts house, built in the 1890s and is filled to the brim with the most wonderful arts and crafts architecture, furnishings and art.

 

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Most of the textile furnishings are from the unspeakably talented William Morris & Co, which are still running today, now owned by Sanderson.  Some of their wallpapers on sale today bear the name Standen.  The rich greens, russets and golds are a joy to behold.

William Morris was a designer, artist, writer and activist and was a dominant force in the Arts & Crafts movement – closely linked to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood – whose works are also dotted around the house.

Both groups had a huge social conscience and were concerned about the rise of industrialism and wanted beauty and purpose from items, reflecting a return to the handiwork of previous ages.  There is a very famous quote attributed to William Morris – “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

How true that is, this is something that has always inspired me – I am yet to fully achieve it I think, but this is certainly the dream for most of us!

Some of the textiles at Standen were made as kits by William Morgan and the family themselves (well, I am rather assuming, the ladies of the family) completed them.  The design was pressed onto the fabric almost like painting by numbers, not dissimilar from the tapestry kits you can buy today in any haberdashery!  You can see the differences in the quality and individuality of the work between different family members and some pieces must have taken several people many months or perhaps years to complete.

Another artist and prolific ceramics maker was William de Morgan, who became friendly with William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.  His name was not so well known to me, but his tiles, vases and other ceramics were so beautiful and evocative of the Persian style and colour palette which he loved so well.  This is one from the de Morgan collection, but there were many similar at Standen.  Rich opulent colours which always hold me in rapture…

 

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There is much further evidence of these two social / art movements in William Morris’s house – the Red House in Bexleyheath – on the South London / Kent borders, again an inspirational National Trust property well worth a visit.

My favourite of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood is Dante Gabriel Rossetti – mainly because of his work, but also the rich stories you hear of his excesses, including a love of exotic animals, which he rather took to the extreme by having a Toucan riding a Llama around his dining room as a party trick.  This is one of his most famous paintings, ‘The Day Dream’.  And who was the muse and lover employed here as a model?  None other than William Morris’s wife, Jane.

 

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And if you fancy delving more into their stories, albeit slightly embellished, the BBC series Desperate Romantics, with the gorgeous (and now rather famous) Aidan Turner plays the dashing and delicious Dante…

 

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Happy (arts and) crafting!

 

Lou

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