Thursday, 18 May 2017

Life in Amongst the Hedgerows

These warm balmy spring days have encouraged me to abandon the stifling heat of the studio and venture off into my local park to gather the latest batch of blooms slowly emerging through the undergrowth. It also felt necessary to wear some flowers around my neck for the ensuing task ahead, so I wore my own daisy necklace ; the perfect accessory for the day.

During my walks I love to scan for colour and curious finds. Today it marked the turn of a firm favourite of mine; Germander Speedwell, in Latin; 'Veronica chamaedrys', or commonly known as Birds Eye Speedwell. This elegant bonny blue wildflower makes its debut from May to July. Although it is often viewed as an irksome weed by gardeners, to me it signals the coming of summer, and its tiny intricate petals and slender stems have such an ethereal beauty to them that truly justifies some adoration.  

The Common Speedwell
...Thou art a jewel on the brow of May,
That, robed in scented garments, wings her way!
Emblem of Friendship rarest gem of blue
From me thou ever hast affection true!
-James Rigg

I made myself busy in the afternoon by pressing handfuls of the speedwell, and filled up quite a few pages in my flower press. They were also accompanied by the ubiquitous Herb Robert or 'Geranium Robertianum', which adds a delightful pop of pink to the Irish hedgerows throughout spring and summer. I was joined on my expedition by a rotund fluffy bumble bee who was buzzing through the vibrant fuchsia, almost getting stuck in one or two of the trumpet-like blooms. Her little legs poking out from beneath a skirt of magenta petals was a magic moment I was fortunate to capture. 

Later, I discovered some beautiful posies of Hawthorn flowers, subtly blushed with pink. The Hawthorn is synonymous with Irish folklore, viewed as bringing good luck to the owner and prosperity to the land on where it stands. Therefore, if it is chopped down and plundered for its wood, great misfortune beckons on the horizon. According to local myths, this activity unsettles the faerie folk who use the Hawthorn tree as a place of gathering. A curse is then bestowed upon the culprit who carries out the deed:  

'Beware, beware the hawthorn,
Lest it strike you down,
For if you take an axe to it
You'll rue that you were born.'
-Giles Watson

Even to this day, entrenched superstitions associated with these trees run deep in rural Irish communities, and a lot of farmers would avoid cutting down a Hawthorn tree, even if it may be an obstruction in a field. So, I will continue the tradition and avoid the bark. Instead, I pick just a few of the flowers as these will eventually turn into berries, which are a vital source of food for birds and other hedgerow creatures later on in the year.

Next time you're out, take a little peak at the hedgerows and you'll discover a fascinating and bustling microcosm living in amongst it.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Custom Memento Jewellery

I recently had the pleasure of creating some beautiful memorial jewellery for the late Johannah Deakin or 'Jay', mother of One Direction band member Louis Tomlinson. Her sister-in-law, Sally, asked me to commemorate Johannah's wonderful spirit in the form of little memento necklaces and cufflinks to gift to her children and family members. 

Sally sent me a dusky pink rose she dried from Johannah's wedding bouquet, which would form the basis of the design of each piece. I firstly started by restoring the rose petals back to their original colour, as they had faded and lost some of their vibrant tones. I used a specialised process to bring their colour back, and I then created 'flower confetti' with the petals in my signature design.

The ladies were gifted beautiful rose confetti natural resin heart necklaces, in either gold or silver, while Louis and the men received cufflinks. The result is a tiny happy memory encapsulated into a wearable memento that will hopefully help and offer comfort to those who face a difficult journey ahead. 

Friday, 5 May 2017

Handpicked & Handmade

My motto for my jewellery collection has always been 'handpicked and handmade'. I've forever been in eternal wonder at the natural world around me, and flowers of every colour, shape and form fascinate me. It was inevitable that one day they would consume me and become part of my working life. Every little bloom within my jewellery is picked by me from the wildflower meadows I love to wander through, and are carefully pressed to keep just a tiny part of its magic alive.

Here's a snapshot of my day passing through a long lost secret garden; filled with crabapple trees, pink poppies, primrose and wild violets. We also had an appearance of the enchanting 'Unicorn of the Forbidden Forest' necklace, concealed within the embrace of a billowy tulip. I even encountered a woodland angel, who didn't mind modelling one of my newest pieces, which will be debuting in store very soon.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Hello from the Lost Forest

Welcome to my new blog. I hope you'll click and subscribe, and follow my new journey through the Irish woodlands, secret gardens and days spent on the farm. I will be offering a little photographic pathway into my world as a designer and a perpetual daydreamer.

Today I spent a sunny spring afternoon in my local park to collect some beautiful wildflowers and marvel at the dappled light flickering through the trees. Bluebells and cow parsley were blooming brightly under the watchful eye of ancient trees. Days like these always fill me with a renewed sense of creativity and inspiration; providing me with a much needed boost to start sketching lots of brand new ideas.