The wintry evenings have a way of looking magical. The hazy blue evenings quickly meld into nightfall, where golden lights take centre stage. It
happened to be a particularly cold and blustery February evening that I ventured into the city. Undeterred, icicle-like fingers snapped away at the
expansive skyline. It was easier to take the focus off the chill piercing through my gloves, with many a structural feat surrounding me.
One of the tallest buildings in Europe, The Shard's colour and mood are constantly changing according to the weather and seasons. The outward
facades perform differently with variations in light and heat. Walking from London Bridge station to the river bank, the city takes on a different
composition, where the same building adds to different layers, depending on where you are.
A stunning maritime scene of London Bridge illuminated the waters. Attention is also drawn to the various iconic buildings of the landscape. 20
Fenchurch Street, or the Walkie-Talkie building as it's better known, houses quite the sky garden. Incorporating an abundance of sunshine and
greenery, it's a nice change amidst the concrete jungle. The airy space also reminded me of the giant glasshouse-like igloos which camped along
the Thames, It's all serving up inspiration for a future greenhouse! I thought back to last Spring when me and my sister strolled through Angel. We
came across Bourne & Hollingsworth, with the decor comprising lush foliage against a white backdrop. Talk about a green dream.
Dusk brings out a range of busy colours from car and street lights, as well as myriad lit windows. The emerald tip of Tower 42 is an eye-catching, yet
subtle flash in the sky. Capturing the cityscape on paper, the iridescent green strand beads mirror the vivid building. The bokeh effect glow was
captured with multiple silver gems strewn across the silhouette.
A hub of fashion, the London lady has an eclectic style. Choosing a classic look with a touch of power-dressing, a Ralph Lauren jumpsuit keeps up
with the busy pace of central London. With clean lines, minimal statement pieces add a modern feel. The metallic elements on the underground
mimic the silver hardware. An industrial edge is shown through a mix of materials, ranging from speckled marble to grey slate. A marble-effect
suitcase at hand...she means business.
Finding myself at Liverpool Street station, 30 St Mary Axe, or the Gherkin, just peaked in from around the corner. One of my favourite visual styles
is Art Deco and it was evident in the ornate outdoor lamps and repetitive triangular motifs. Taking apart the shapes, it's fascinating how each
individual glass pane works in harmony to form vast structures. The sparkling lights created a little illusionary warmth to the cool air.
A visit to The City Centre allowed the scaling heights to be viewed from a different perspective. The exhibition features the glowing metropolis at a
1:500 scale. The miniature model also gives an insight into buildings that currently have planning permission and may grace the future skyline of
London. It's not very often the entire landscape is at the tip of your fingers...it's best to make the most out of the moment.
January: the month of resolutions coming to light (or not so much) and a sense of newness. Myself, I decided to forego resolutions as such and
keep painting away...as well as embellish the garden. With these rainy, grey skies, green foliage may seem like the last thing on the agenda, yet I like
to plan in advance where I can. I'm already thinking about planting bulbs after the first frost and sharing the fruits of that labour. I find myself
digressing ever so slightly. In relation to breaking out of a vegetative state, dance feels like the most fun alternative to conventional exercise.
Getting up, making moves and staying warm...what's not to love?
I thought back to my days at school, where I would get involved with many dance productions. I would suggest to friends that we should take part
and we would always sign up. We'd find ourselves spending many hours rehearsing. On rare occasions there may have been too much on our plate.
There was the 'Kaleidoscope' talent show where we were in both dance numbers as well as the steel band; involving many a quick change..
.'We may have over-committed.'...
Pushing ourselves to keep going, the excitement and nerves of performing just dissipated once we'd taken part; it was all worth it. I look back
now to find they're some of my fondest memories.
We caught up recently, reminiscing on those fun days. It felt fitting that we went to watch La La Land, where the film exceeded my expectations.
Taking in the fanciful footwork, (not to mention the monochrome tap brogues and 50's inspired fashion) Ryan showed flair on the keys. It inspired me
to take the piano-playing up a notch. I heard he spent an intense 3 months in pre-production mastering the piano, and it showed. Definitely one for
the dreamers. The soundtrack is on repeat in the atelier...and City of Stars next on the list on melodies for me to play.
Fashion has been continuously inspired by dance and the ethereal allure of ballet. The Marchesa S/S 17 collection was reminiscent of swan lake with
layers of tulle and iridescent organza. I haven't had the chance to practice ballet before. where it would be exciting to try something new. The ability
to be on my absolute tip-toes though - it'd take some to time to perfect.
The graceful nature of the dance contrasts with the physical demands of the art form. It can be likened to a swan paddling away under the water,
with a carefree elegance on the surface. It's fascinating how precision and poise are evident with each movement. It's not everyday you'll find me
pirouetting in the atelier...so I thought why not take my chance here? (Sure to increase after seeing Emma work her magic in La La Land).
We're already a month into the new year and I'm considering new projects to start. This tulle skirt I created with soft pink layers reminded me of
swaying ballerinas. Me and my mum decided to do a slightly-early Spring clean, where we took out all the fabrics from the cupboard. A pile of
beautiful pieces that I'd forgotten about accumulated on the floor, which would be perfect for dressmaking this year. Swathes of fabric ready to get
draping and pleating...I'm looking forward to putting thread-to fabric and sharing the results!
Autumn appeals to me with its vivid colours and the excuse to pull out the packed-away knits. With the heater gently warming the room, a
paintbrush at hand and all wrapped up...there's happiness in the simple pleasures. The mini tree I can see from my window spent a period looking
like it was on fire. It's just shed the last of its flame-like leaves and winter is definitely surfacing.
My favourite Disney movie growing up was Pocahontas. A part of my love for nature must have stemmed from it - with her free spirit, finding her own
way and effortlessly water-rafting like the best of them! Sprawling leaves in the park were collected to form pockets of colour; inspired by a famous
song from the film. Pretty clusters of texture resemble petalled skirts, with the gingko leaves being a favourite from the bunch.
In the beadtrove, a smoky quartz piece caught my eye. Cut and polished into a teardrop shape, the crackled detail reflects the way in which leaves
crumble. Taking inspiration from fashion, a Balmain S/S17 design embraces the stone as a miniature bag. Semi-precious pebbles were also used for
a Chloé dress, where little leafy feathers appear to sway as she walks.
Scattering the leaves, bursts of yellow remind me of Richmond Parks golden landscape. Many of the leaves were pressed, where the colours
became more subdued. Still retaining their charm, they'll be ideal for incorporating into future designs. The various sizes work together, with giant
maple leaves taking centre stage. Laying the same leaves in formation, they're reminiscent of a miniature forest.
The wooden beads have been foraged by the local people of the beautiful Philippines islands, where the ecological aspect of fashion is important.
The plot of Pocahontas also makes you think about standing up for what you believe in, even where it isn't easy. It's heartening to hear that
the indiginous people of Standing Rock have won their deserved rights to clean water; a right that should never have been challenged.
I can't believe it's already been a year since I took a palette to the park, Back in the atelier, I was reminded of how much fun leaf-printing is! The
paint picked up the vein-details, for a delicate imprint. The beauty is in no print being exactly the same. Evergreen, burnt orange and golden hues
blended for a mottled pattern, A leaf-tail gown drapes in bronze and crimson...the festive feels are well and truly here.
With the fun had painting Poca, encapsulating elements of other Disney princess is possibly on the horizon?
The compass charm at hand acts as a small reminder to stay the course. December always feels like a good point to reflect on all that's come to be.
With a new year on the horizon, I hope you find yourself following a path which makes you happy, wherever it should lead you.
Oh, the introspection. Happy New Year!
Ah London, it's always a fun visit and Autumn in the city doesn't disappoint. We visited Richmond, witnessing all the colours the season has to offer. A
cluster of sprouting branches stood in the distance, adorned with jewel tones of ruby, citrine and peridot.
Walking up a gently rising hill led us to a peak. coming to a view of the Thames meadow. What a spectacular view it was. It has been immortalized in
many paintings; also inspiring the famous J.M.W Turner.
The trees leave remnants of summer across the floor, yet does so beautifully. A sense of continuous renewal. The floor makes a perfect canvas for
mottled leaf patterns. I love how each one is unique, and how the imprints would leave a different mark every time, pressed with paint upon paper. A
few were collected from various trees to create a little art...I'm looking forward to blending the individual pieces.
Created by Charles I in the 17th century, Richmond Park is the largest of London's Royal Parks. Known for the many deer who call it home, we
spotted them in the distance and carefully made our way closer. There is an enchanting feel about the woodlands. All the enthralling books read
when younger seem to spring to mind. I thought back to my visit to a park earlier this year, where I was invited in by many a towering tree. A
dreamscape surrounded by the majestic animals captures the feeling...with a little Elie Saab gown inspiration.
As the weather changes and surrounded by Rudolph's entourage, the anticipation of Christmas is here. The beautiful fallow deer allowed us to come
close enough to admire their speckled fur. There's a calm feeling in the forest, watching nature just be. I remember seeing the horse-chestnuts fall
from the tree when younger, intrigued by how the smooth surface contrasts with the spiky shell. Roasted chestnuts are delicious this time of year.
As a big fan of vintage fashion, the trusty sewing machine was used for tailoring the shoulders and pleats of my blazer. Knee-high boots from Clarks
were perfect for strolling through the grassland. With many amber-leaved trees creating an overhead canopy, I was reminded of painting one on the
atelier wall. Feeling at home in the long grass, it's safe to say it felt like I was in the Outback.
Noses to the ground, the deer sniffed for berries and chestnuts for the entire duration! Trying to capture the stag with antlers standing proud, they
were completely unfazed...conkers were calling of course. Well, when food is on the mind, it makes perfect sense. It was a joy to see the red and
fallow deer up close. Maybe we'll spot Bambi on another visit.
A much welcome burst of sunshine illuminated the leaves. The natural glow allowed the spindly branches to create layers and entwine against the
sky. On the walk back, we spotted some artists taking in the picturesque scene, carefreely painting away -. a little reminder to take the easel next
time and it'd feel like you have all the time in the world...
Walking on Richmond Hill, the landscape was one I couldn't have imagined and it's clear to see why it's such a renowned viewpoint. The
meandering in the Thames actually inspired the namesake city in Virginia, U,S, after the founder saw a curve in the James river (who wouldn't have a
Pocahontas moment up here?). Back in the atelier, the colour palette of Richmond was captured in rich bursts of evergreen, red and fawn.
The final destination for our travels around Asia brought us to India. It'd been many years since I'd visited, and it was a joy to visit family and see how
the land had changed. We stayed in Surat, Gujarat, where the many markets enticed us in. It was easy to become engrossed in the hustle and bustle
of the colourful stands. Wherever I go, I'm always on the lookout for embellishment, and here it was dream with every turn!
We had the chance to see some amazing sunsets, where one of our favourites was a hazy pink and lilac blended sky at Saputara.
Stunning temples created dramatic silhouettes against the horizon. Against a sweeping skyline, the architecture incorporates burnished gold charms
found at the market stall. I imagine soft chiffon layers billowing in a zephyr with this design; the beads adding a striking element.
Diwali, the festival of lights, is just around the corner. With the auspicious celebration comes the sharing of tasty treats! Delving into the sweets, or
mithai, box for art purposes in this case is rare - especially when there's barfi to be nibbled, Filled with desiccated coconut, the shell-
shaped gugra are a favourite. The finger-folded pleats also make a pretty skirt! Yum. It almost calls for a miniature range of edible clothing.
Another notable sweet treat? Ras malai...always a good idea.
The beadtrove is without a doubt, brimming with new sparkle. Bindis as little motifs adorn this swathing dress. Beautiful fabrics have also been
added to the already overflowing fabric collection (because you can never have too much...my sister would beg to differ). I also had the chance to
visit a tailors studio and it was amazing being there in person, to watch fabric being chain-stitched with such precision. I remembered a trip to the
V&A museum in London, and reading about how 'the finest Gujarati ari (hook) embroidery was highly prized in the 17th century,'
The silky russet fabric was transformed into a design with paisley decoration. It reminds of mehndi patterns my talented aunty creates on hands at
weddings, with the statement mango or 'keri' motif. Nature always inspires, and also provided a different platter of sweets...ripe fruits ready for the
picking. We visited a market where banana bunches casually draped from the tree, as well as mangoes and oranges. Surrounded by rich yellows,
greens and citrus tones, banana pleats and mango bodices were in the making...
Sated with sugary goodness (rose and pistachio ice cream another gem), many savoury dishes had an intoxicating effect on the palate
too. The aroma of spices, including cinnamon, fennel and chilli always conjure up the comforts of home-cooked dishes. I'm looking forward to the
next trip to Asia, Stirring the senses, I may just be tempted to cook up a culinary storm in the kitchen back home. Maybe, just maybe...
Now, where is that jar full of cardamom to get the marinade going....