Saturday, 14 February 2015


Happy Valentine's Day! This lovely day is an auspicious and apposite occasion to introduce my latest collection.

A couple of years ago I took an introductory course on tambour embroidery. It was a rare opportunity to learn a heritage skill, and from Robert Haven, visiting university costume prof and a master who had himself learned at Lesage, the famed atelier in Paris where the crème de la crème of couturiers get their bead and sequin embellishments done for their haute couture collections.

Tambour embroidery is done on a frame with a hook that is like a tiny, sharp crochet hook. A lot of it is done upside down, too, including beads and sequins.

I did not find tambour embroidery to be a cakewalk to begin with. But last October Robert Haven was in town again, demonstrating his impressive skills at the Wearable Art Show, where I was working for a friend. Watching Robert was mesmerizing, and I was inspired to get my frame out again and practise until my fingers knew what they were doing. It became my new obsession over the next few months.

The result of this phase is my new bridal collection -- Etoile Brillant. I hope you like it.

Tamboured bow, alone and with ostrich

Tamboured leaves with saddle feathers

Tamboured ginko leaves alone and with white feather spray

Embellished lace alone and with white feather spray

Peau de soie rose, with white feather spray and closeup

Rose à la mode!

Each piece can be customized to complement your colours and preferences. Please contact me with your enquiries. Merci!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015


Last November I entered another millinery contest. The theme was "Remembering". Although it corresponded with the 100th anniversary of World War I, the brief said it was about remembering in all its senses.

I considered a lot of options for trimming my contest hat -- words, flowers and plants associated with memory, pictures... Lots that were in fact picked up by lots of the contestants, and very nicely, too. But then I thought of ginko leaves.

Not that it led to victory! I didn't win anything, but that's okay. I enjoyed the challenge, I liked my hat, and many people were kind enough to say that they did, too. And I'm proud that at least my idea was unique among the competitors.

The best part was that an acquaintance liked it so much that she commissioned me to make her a cap version!

Carol is an artist, and it's always such a compliment to me when an artist invests in my work. And she's not afraid of colour! She began by contemplating a vibrant palette for the wool felt ginko leaves on her cap, also to be black, as is the original hat.

(Pay no attention to the colour of the sample cap.)

But after some consideration, she decided that she really preferred the palette I had used to begin with. So that's was what I did.



On its rightful home - Carol's head.

Carol brings such a happy energy with her. She's also hilarious, viz: Our cat had been making off with some decorations off the lower parts of the traditional evergreen. Carol mused, "Well, maybe he's working on his own Christmas tree."

I loved the time we spent together working on her cap, and I hope I'll get to do it again sometime. Thanks again, Carol!