Vintage Makeover shoot

Photographed by Becky Ryan Photography http://www.beckyryanphotography.co.uk

Hair by Pin Up Curl http://pinupcurl.co.uk

Make up by The Vintage Beauty Parlour http://www.bethanyjanedavies.com/the-vintage-beauty-parlour

Vintage Boudoir make over shoot event review at 1960’s apartment in Nottinghamshire.

1960 appartment

As my sister’s car drew to a halt outside the shoot location It seemed we had been transported to a different era. A truly glorious sunny day which meant sunlight streamed through the glass walls revealing 60’s fixtures and fittings inside the apartment building.

The anxiety I had been experiencing started to fade as I glimpsed movement in the upstairs window. Nervous excitement gripped on me as I noticed ladies being pampered by the hair and make up team.

The Lovely lady who owned the house greeted me at the door. She was warm and welcoming as she guided me into the house. Interestingly she told me how companies such as M&S tkmaxx and celebrities such as the Hoff have hired out her apartment for shoots.

What surrounded me can only be described as reminiscent of an American film set, I think most people entering this house would think the same.

This style is not to everyone’s taste, but it is defiantly mine and perfect for a make over shoot. The location is themed and assists in enabling you to take on a role and forget who you are for a while. It has a vintage feel, something so very different to the present day and drenched in stories of the past.

Never one to miss an opportunity to promote my work, I chose one of my favourite creations to model, a 50’s style navy and cream striped dress. It has an upcycled faux pearl collar which I have hand sewn onto the neck line and I always feel great wearing this outfit.

 

The hair stylist was lovely, amusing and chatted away, working quickly, displaying her obvious skill.

She also had for us to view handmade flower hair pieces for us to model and or buy.

The make up artist had a calming presence putting me (and I don’t usually like wearing make up) at ease in her care.

This may sound odd to most but it had been the first time I have worn foundation, eye make up and lipstick all at once without my face feeling ‘heavy’.

I now have a new love for false eyelashes too!

There were 8 women taking part in the shoot and we were all scheduled to spend time with the photographer after we had finished with hair and make up.

Becky, the photographer is effortlessly professional and naturally talented at her craft. Knowing how to capture your best features. I instantly felt at ease, listening to her guidance for poses, which reminded me of the times when I have to direct my model’s when teaching life drawing.

My favourite feature are my freckles, passed down from my nan and I like to think they hold all my hidden attributes to my connections in Asia and the secrets of my heritage. I am pleased to say the make up artist went back after adding foundation to expose them again. This is the main reason I don’t wear foundation.

To me, my freckles sparkled in the pictures taken and it has given me confidence in the way I look, something I thought I had lost.

The experience was even more pleasant than I had expected it to be and it is now firmly etched into my happy memory bank. I can strongly recommend that you email hellobeckyryan.co.uk to express interest and to find out more information for the next makeover shoot.

Rag Doll Project

Just before 2015 drew to a close the Lichfield city festival did a call out for textile artists to submit CVs for consideration for their rag doll trail concept. I had been shortlisted to present my proposal at the end of January 2016.

Luckily my idea had been the only no sew method making it inclusive for all (including those struggling with dexterity). I had a bold concept that utilized recycled materials that would work well along side the home made dolls (sewn) that would also be on the trail.

The concept appealed to me because the theme would be recycled fabric which is something I endeavour to promote throughout my work. After the festival the dolls would be donated to refugee charities, a beautiful way to end the project. I loved that so many of these toys were hand made, by children, for children who have very little.

I live close to a recycle and play centre in Derby which provided all the fabric needed to create the dolls. I prepared for 6 or so workshops which would run during April and May. After a month’s prep I had bags of fabric cut into strips, ready to be made doll shaped!

The concept was that members of the community would make the dolls, which would then become the rag doll trail. To encourage young children to part with their newly made toys I created a ‘how to’ zine 1 so they could make their own at home (or whenever they wanted!).

The project was fun, exciting, rewarding and a big reminder why I do what I do and that I love my job. Despite the stress I can get myself into, every project I work on I am learning what does and does not work which makes me continue to improve as an artist and tutor. 2

I met many lovely people during my time in Lichfield and the surrounding area, and it is looking likely that I will be working on another project at next years festival so watch this space!

The following is the rag-doll project journey in pictures:

Every trip to Lichfield began with bags and trolleys stuffed with resources.3

Cannock chase museum, my first ‘drop in’ workshop. A Large doll made by women seeking refuge from abuse at a local centre, and a few of the many dolls created at the Cannock chase drop in session.

Following a drop in session at the Lichfield Garrick theatre, these large dolls posed in front of a very showbiz backdrop.6

Possibly my favourite location to work in was a beautifully decked out shop in Wolverhampton. A sea themed doll and beautifully designed smaller ones were created.

I had the most fun though running a workshop for a very welcoming breast cancer support group at Burntwood library. I adored the garden queen doll and small dolls that they lovingly made.

My last workshop on the last weekend of the festival. Set up in front of the hauntingly beautiful Cathedral.

Finally a chance to take a look at the rag doll trail… and I spotted one of my favourites, a mermaid!

Marching On

This month has been all about celebrating women and the power they hold. Since my childhood a huge inspiration of mine has been a character known as Buffy the vampire slayer. The whole show sum’s up feminism perfectly, for me anyway.

The concept demonstrates hidden strength, sometimes a strength that may not be realised.This show helped me through many difficult times growing up and still does during adulthood. The characters have become like old friends who I revisit whenever I re-watch it.

The time has come again when I aim to fire episode after episode into my eyes, not for seeking comfort. But to act as a distraction whilst I make exemplars (teacher word for example). Strips of fabric, rag dolls, zines, sewing and lesson planning are just some of the prep work that need to be done for the next few months…Buffy marathon it is then.

This is one of the reason’s why I love being an artist though guilty pleasure ‘TV watching’ can be easily done when creating. (This mostly only works when it is a show previously seen and concentration is not mandatory).

My big 30th birthday gift was a 2 day corset course. A dream of mine is learning to work with more delicate fabric’s and difficult patterns. Why Corsetry? because I would love to eventually create couture clothing.

I discovered that once understood, corsets are a lot easier to make than what I previously expected. My dyslexic brain had been daunted by consuming so much information in just those 2 days. During the course I met many other students who were more experienced in dress making but I am proud to say that I managed to produce a finished corset by the end of the 2nd day. corset 6

I think I may have made a few errors which may or may not be obvious, but I am keen to get started on making more to perfect this new skill. Future idea’s of embroidered and screen printed/fabric painted corset designs will have to wait… for now.

The 8th march was international women’s day. IWD Face

I had been commissioned back in November by women’s day derby festival committee, to run a bunting workshop. Themed around the suffragette colours and images of female empowerment, I designed stencils ready to demonstrate a simple stencil printing technique. IWD derby

I was very impressed with the prints that were produced, they were all inspiring. Here are a few of my favourites. IWD bunting favs.jpg

After an additional workshop to print the last of the bunting squares last month, the time had come to sew it all together. I did not realise how long it would take to sew it all. I have learnt from my mistakes though, having had approx 20 meters of bunting in the biggest tangle…never again (#firstworldproblems)

The results of the finished bunting hung up at the festival were amazing.IWD fest  I felt very proud to have facilitated decoration that is both beautiful and empowering. Although march is drawing to a close it is important to note that is has been women’s history month. A time for recognising and remembering inspirational women throughout #HERstory.

I have created a zine detailing 3 female artists who inspire me and my work. I strongly feel it is very important to recognise women who contribute to the art world and incorporating this into education is a necessity. As is teaching art as part of the curriculum, but that subject is for another blog post.  Pictured is the exemplar for two #HERstory zine workshop’s I had run earlier this month.12718394_1012336132180185_2807574299606816858_n

2016 so far

At the very beginning of the year I took part in a group exhibition, Fairy tales, myths and legends. Organised and curated by Eco-create. They are a fantastic online marketplace who source eco-friendly handmade gifts from UK artisans.
My entry ‘How does your garden grow’ won a Gold award that is a beautifully made up-cycled trophy which sits proudly above the fire place.

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As you can see from the picture I was amazed, surprised and so very happy to receive this accolade at the Exhibition preview.
Eco-create also interviewed me to find out more about my work and what I do http://www.eco-create.co.uk/find/meet-our-gold-award-winner-elizabeth-blades/
2016 brings the start of a new self-employed venture. My partner, Brendan McDowell and I are now running a day time art class aimed at home schooled children. This is following on from a successful after school art class we started just before Christmas.
I also managed to squeeze in time to work on my own art inspired by our cat Penny. She went missing for, possibly, the worst 24 hours of our lives. (Yes we are both incredibly dramatic and our imaginations ran wild as to what could of happened to her)
When she did return, I sourced inspiration from the adventure I dreamed she may have had. Going back to my roots of Illustration and for the joy of drawing intricate and detailed pictures I produced a series of images.

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I am still undecided on the title of this story, perhaps it will be called ‘the queen of lost things’.
Another exciting venture I will be working on this year is a rag-doll project.

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More details on this coming soon, so watch this space!