Monday 23 February 2009

Creatures of Comfort

We had such a lot of snow in the weekend, it was amazing! Went for a walk with the doggies on saturday and it was all so beautiful and calm with the forest covered in snow. And then... saturday night.... it suddenly became 3 or 4 degrees above zero and today everything has gone!

If I can´t have snow I want it to be spring! We have a lovely conservatory that we do not use in the winter because it is quite expensive to heat it up during the dark wintermonth, but from March onwards we can sit out there on sunny days and oh what I´m looking forward to it! It´s like being out in the garden, everything is flooded with light and I love sitting there with my embroidery or crochet work!

Talking about spring and happy days, I want to show you one of my favourite artpieces, this lovely creature made by the British artist Julie Arkell which truly makes me happy every time I look at it! I purchased it some three years ago when Julie was exhibiting at my friend Tracys gallery, and it is safely placed high up in the shelves between my merry vintage English china as Gustav, our Border Collie Mix, has a sometimes unfortunate love for everything made of paper.... I even had the pleasure to meet Julie and her lovely husband as she was staying here in Denmark to be present at the opening of the exhibition, and what a great and inspiring person she is! She works with paper maché, knitting, embroidery, vintage fabric, ephemera, buttons and beads and her intriguing work employs naivity, sentiment and nostalgia. She really creates a universe of her own with her part human, part animal creatures and I find her work both very eccentric and very English - in the best imaginable way.

A book about Julie Arkell and her work has been published in 2004 by The Gallery, Ruthin Craft Centre and it is not only a fantastic visual experience but very interesting reading, too. The book is called "Julie Arkell: Home" and it is packed with pictures of her amazing work and her cosy studio. I regularly flick through it because it is a never ending source of inspiration. Julie does not have her own website, but a lot of sites have featured her work so you should be able to google her if you want to see more!
The picture also shows a collection of my vintage buckles and the dusky purple belt I made a couple of weeks ago - the colour goes perfectly along with the book cover I think ;-)

I even want to show you some of my own work, I did these embroideries before christmas and it is the first time I have incorporated mixed media techniques in my work. I was inspired by Beryl Taylors book "Mixed Media Explorations" that I had found while surfing on amazon and considered interesting enough to order. And what a good decision! Beryl is an English artist who moved to the United States a couple of years ago and her work is very detailed and combines lots of different techniques that inspired me to do the pieces shown in the pictures.

The embroideries are based on paper that I have either painted or ironed metal foil on and consist of many layers of organza and tulle fabric combined with cut out details from vintage doilies, waxed paper, vintage buttons, beadwork, some gold glimmer, metallic rub-on and hand- and machine embroidery. In the piece shown in the picture above I even used puff up paint and medallions made of friendly plastic imprinted with a stamp. I enjoyed so much working with these different techniques and I plan to make a whole series of small embroideries based on those techniques using details from vintage doilies, buttons and maybe jewellery findings. The problem is as always - time!!! So many projects and ideas buzzing around in my head it´s hard to get everything structured not to talk about getting it realized!! Some of you might be familiar with the problem.....

Friday 13 February 2009


Today we went to Ebeltoft, a small town nearby, to do the weekend-shopping. I popped around my favourite vintage shop and how lucky I did so!! As you can see in the picture, I found treasure! A whole stack of beautiful doilies, four fantastic old tins (I specially love the small square one in the foreground), a rhinestone buckle and some nice buttons, beads and pearls from a vintage necklace.
It is such a nice shop, and the owner is so friendly and cosy to chat with. What a great start to the weekend!

I have been a busy bee this week and continued
working on my different button projects.
We have a big dining table and it is a
complete creative mess at the moment, as the picture illustrates ;-). The workspace in my studio is simply not big enough for this kind of work where you need so many materials at hand all the time.

I have almost finished my seafoam breeze cuff and only need to line it, I´m really happy with the result and of course I want to share the picture with you! The subtle shades of aqua and turquoise combined with splashes of pink, yellow and orange make me think of relaxed summerdays on the beach - I´m looking so much forward to it! But right now we have temperatures below zero so the prospect of jumping into the cool water seems very far away....

While I have been working on the cuffs suddenly visions of kitschy, candy button rings emerged in my head, and of course the idea had to be carried out immediately! I think the rings are very funny, they have a fabulous kitsch appeal to them and they make quirky and eyecatching accessories. Three of them are for sale in my etsy shop, the other ones are going to be sent to a craft shop in England that is interested in stocking my work. I even have to finish some brooches that are going to be sent to England, but I am waiting for the broochpins I have ordered. Good thing is, if the rings should prove to be popular they are not as time-consuming to create as many of my other work and I should be able to make some money on them ;-)

Apart from all this I am working on an art event together with my friend Tracy Nors (check her blog for her great artwork and her website to see and read about the hottest interior trends). We want to launch a pompom project, inspired by Elvis Robertson, and after having contacted her we hope to be able to turn it into an international event. I am going to write more about it next time, maybe someone out there wants to join in? In the meantime, check Elvis` blog

Sunday 8 February 2009

More buttons... and doilies!

Yesterday I got another parcel filled with the most scrumptious vintage buttons, so I spent the last two days making this merry cuff. I first layered pale purple wool-fabric, tulle and hand-dyed lace and then embellished the cuff with lots of buttons and glassbeads. The lining is made of vintage liberty fabric. It was a lot of work but I enjoyed every moment! I called it "Purple Rainbow Cuff" and I have actually decided to keep it for myself - I just love the purple and pink shades and think we will have many happy hours together!

I am now working on another cuff in blue-green-turquoise shades that is going to be called "Seafoam Breeze Cuff". This one will be for sale in my etsy shop, so keep looking there if you are interested!

I even made another piece for myself a couple of weeks ago, the scarf you can see in the picture on the left. I dyed vintage doilies in shades of green and pink and crocheted a black edging around each of them. Afterwards the doilies were sewn together by hand. I used mohair yarn and the fluffy effect creates an interesting contrast to the cotton doilies , but I have to say that cotton yarn works better and gives a stronger scarf.

It is incredible how the doilies change character when dyed and used in another context. They make a truly bohemian accessory and the scarf is my favourite right now!

If you like vintage stuff and bohemian style, also in interiors, you have to take a look at one of my favourite websites: Lyn Gardeners Empire Vintage,

Lyn is an Australian stylist and her home and shop have been featured in several interior magazines like Elle Interior. To me she is a real style ikon with her characteristic big hair and unique style. Her vintage universe is very feminine and sophisticated and she uses nothing but authentic vintage furniture, fashion and curiosities in her work.

I love her big hair and still try to figure out how she styles it, having dark curly hair myself I would love to adapt her hairstyle!! I think she uses a hairpiece and her hair is only just below shoulder-length whilst mine is waist-long which makes it harder to create that fluffy "bird nest" of hers!!

Tuesday 3 February 2009

Winter Days...

It has been really cold and stormy the last days, so I have been spending a lot of time in front of the computer listing nice things in my recently set up etsy shop. Nevertheless, being the lucky owner of two lovely dogs and three horses I couldn´t escape the elements completely - the horses need to be fed and Gustav the Border Collie mix needs his exercise (Snuff, our old dog wouldn´t mind to spend the whole day in front of the log burner!). Even the cats couldn`t be bothered to go out and had lazy days on the bed.... on the sofa.... or in my studio!

Today I received a parcel with bright colourful vintage buttons, and a couple of days ago I got my beautiful vintage rhinestone buckles found on ebay, and I have many ideas what to use them for. I have already crocheted a nice dusky purple belt embellished with mother of pearl buttons and glass beads, and it looks beautiful with the rhinestone buckle I think.

I even made a couple of bracelets from the last lot of doilies and lace that I have hand-dyed. I have started to use brighter colours in my work and I´m really happy with the results so far! Makes me think of the spring, birds singing, sunshine.... For the bracelet shown in the picture I have only used vintage materials. First I layered hand-dyed tulle and lace and burnt the edges of the tulle fabric for a rougher look. Then I put on turqoise flowers cut out of a vintage tablecloth. I handstitched the edge of the flowers with thick embroidery thread in different colours that I had been lucky to find in a charity shop and embellished it with vintage buttons and sparkly glassbeads. The bracelet is lined with vintage fabric in candy colours.

Monday 2 February 2009

Finally got started....

So I finally got my blog started ;-) It took me a while to understand how things work, but from now on I am going to tell about my ongoing projects and artists/websites/events that inspire me.

The picture shows one of my current projects, I am working with vintage doilies and slips which I hand-dye, embellish with beads and vintage buttons and transform into something new! The turquoise slip is not finished yet, I have only pinned the doilies on so far and yet have to do the sewing and embellishing. I will keep you informed how things develop!