Kate MccGwire: Intrinsic to her method is the collecting and sorting of materials from hundreds of different sources over a period of months, even years. In turn, pieces evolve intuitively as if out of the subconscious, the language evocative rather than purely illustrative. As the work takes shape, a new, playful reality emerges, so that the object itself becomes a sort of prism, refracting the layers of meaning and cultural associations buried within, the quantity of materials used sometimes deliberately overwhelming, as if charged with a power and ambition beyond the reach they possess when seen in isolation.
I’m lucky enough to be going on holiday soon, so I’ve actually been the target audience to all the swim wear on offer in the high street. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve wasted looking through rails of clothes and trying on various combinations of bikini tops, tankini tops, bikini bottoms, coordinating skirts and one-piece swimming costumes. It’s actually been doing my head in. You can’t do it quickly either! In order to try on swimwear, you have to take (almost) absolutely everything off! (Then of course, you need a different size and being a British citizen, rather than an American one, (and not shopping in high class, super expensive establishments), this means getting at least partially dressed again, scurrying across the shop and back to the changing rooms hoping for better luck this time.)
Ok, enough of my whinging. Shopping is supposed to be fun isn’t it? Well, it’s always fun on etsy! I can waste hours of my time window shopping on etsy, but it’s so much more enjoyable because the swimwear is different, unique and so much more a joy to look at. Unfortunately this didn’t occur to me until just now, and just now is too late to order something in time for my holiday. For some reason I suppose I assumed swimwear wouldn’t be available handmade.
One of my favourites is the one above by My Sugar Doll. Little poodles printed on the lycra fabric is genious! It’s very cute, but a little bit naughty as well.
I am always a fan of 50s style clothing and I actually discovered this swimwear maker in an article in an antiques magazine! Anna Winston makes them by the sea near Hastings, UK, where I regularly used to drive down to for fish and chips, usually in the rain, where we’d park by the shore next to the fishing boats and watch the waves crash on the pebbles! Ok, enough of my reminiscing – take a look at these gorgeous swimming costumes. I love them. “If a woman feels comfortable and elegant on the beach then she’s more inclined to enjoy herself,” she says. I completely agree.
I also love this electric blue bikini, made to order by LoveLucyBea. In her shop there are all kinds of unusual designs in lots of different colours. Definitely worth checking out. I just love all the ruffles!
If you’re wondering what I bought for my holiday in the end, well I bought a bog standard purple bikini and made myself a pixie style dress to wear over the top (from my roll of black lycra I usually use for waistbands), and cut little holes in it so the purple shows through.
“LEMONADE” Mixed Media Collage Print, by Linda Woods
“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” When Dale Carnegie first spoke those pithy words of wisdom, his intent was to remind us that no matter what comes our way, it is up to us to make the best of it. For me, though, as soon as I hear “When life hands you lemons…”, I think “Lucky me!” That could be because I always associate the cheerful little yellow fruits, not by their sourness, but by their powerful mood-lifting effects. And, it’s not just me; research has proven that just a sniff of fresh lemon really can boost moods and increase optimism in test-subjects. It sounds counter-intuitive, and I stumbled upon it completely by accident, but the tart juice of the lemon is actually an age-old remedy for nausea, too, and is commonly recommended by naturopaths. I can vouch for this first-hand; when I was pregnant with my son and deep in the throws of
morning all-day sickness, the only thing that could calm my tummy and allow me to function was to (literally) suck on a lemon.
So, when life hands you lemons, here are a few ideas for what you can do…
”When life hands you lemons, wash your socks!” Can doing laundry make you happy? It can if you use an eco-friendly product with an uplifting fragrance like the one pictured above by Maylee’s Garden. Scented with pure lavender and lemon essential oils, this all-natural, vegan laundry soap is made by hand by the always effervescent Libby, and contains absolutely no palm oil or harsh detergents. It’s also great in cold-water and suitable for HE/front-loading machines.
“When life hands you lemons, go shopping!” …and be sure to keep your positive eco-karma intact by bringing along a handy reusable shopping bag. This reversible one, pictured above, handmade by Charity of Lil Hipsters, features a cheerful lemon print on one side and a fresh green solid on the other.
“When life hands you lemons, take a bath!” Scrub your troubles and bad mood away with the zesty Lemon Slice soap made by DeShawn Marie The handmade, 100% vegan soap contains a triple-squeeze of lemon (lemon peel, lemon essential oil and lemongrass essential oil), along with nourishing coconut milk and exfoliating dried chamomile flowers. After you’ve toweled-off, visit DeShawn’s website for details on her soap club, which offers a different soap every month!
“When life hands you lemons, rub it in!” Into your cuticles, that is. The next time you find yourself in a seemingly endless line-up, instead of impatiently tapping your fingers, massage Pure Intox’s conditioning, lemon-drop scented balm (above) into your dry cuticles instead. The uplifting scent of lemon will energize and relax you while you wait (patiently) for your turn.
Of course, when all else fails, go ahead and make that lemonade.
Old Fashioned Lemonade
1 cup Simple Syrup (recipe below)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cups cold water
Ice and lemon slices, to serve.
Directions: In a pretty pitcher, combine simple syrup, lemon juice, and water. Adjust sweetness/tartness by adding more sugar or more lemon juice. Serve over ice and garnish with lemon slices.
Simple syrup: In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water. Simmer until sugar is completely dissolved.
Modica Design: Inspired by an unlikely marriage of materials, I made my first line of resin-infused wood jewelry in 2002. At that time, I majored in furniture design, while also exploring metalsmithing. Both disciplines share many processes; cutting, filing, sanding, polishing, etc. However, the scale of the finished product is dramatically different.
The intimate scale of metalsmithing held a distinctive allure and I found myself incorporating materials I knew and loved from furniture into my jewelry. Wood, providing warmth and texture. Resin, providing light and color. Together they create a unique dialog between contrasting worlds. Natural meets man-made. Opaque houses translucent. Warm collides with cool. The union of materials along with my commitment to high-quality, handcrafted jewelry is what gives this line a fresh, contemporary elegance.
When I came upon Maria’s booth at the Fenton Street Market, I nearly had chest pains. Her lovely little space was brimming with so much prettiness, I didn’t know where to look first! As a sewer, I am always drawn to lovely things made with fabric, and Maria’s creations were the prettiest fabric things I’d seen in a long time.
Maria makes a variety of jewelry and fashion accessories for her shop, called Little Blue Studio. She uses fabric, crystals, semi precious stones, wire, and even sea shells. Every item is a little bit different from the last, because she’s always looking for something new to make, and new ways to interpret old favorites.
In addition to her gorgeous flowers that become hair accessories, brooches, and necklaces, I was particularly impressed by her mermaid lures, jewelry pieces that are created from found sea shell fragments and pearls.
Not only did I find the concept of a mermaid lure undeniably seductive (like living in a fantasy novel!), I completely fell in love with her modern and unusual presentation of pearls. It’s so easy to dismiss pearls as old fashioned, but that would be impossible with Maria’s creations.
The imperfections in the found shell fragments are what inspire Maria to turn them into something gorgeous…to force viewers to see the beauty in something that was discarded and overlooked.
Maria comes from a family of makers. Sewing, cooking, gardening, carpentry, and many other creative pursuits made up her home life. Although she started her creative career as a painter, making jewelry became more practical as her family grew, and she needed to be more flexible with time. She was drawn to using fabric, because of her mother’s skill as a sewer, but is looking forward to incorporating more metalsmithing into her creations.
Maria’s favorite thing to make is always the item she’s working on at the moment! “When you make something, it carries an intangible to your customer,” she says. “The only way to do that, is to love what you are doing.” Maria believes that when you are no longer in love with the thing you are making, it’s time to move on.