Friday, 12 September 2014

Artist Feature: The Wonderful work of Gemma Robinson (Daisies Blue)

I came across Daisies Blue on Etsy and fell in love with the beautiful bunting creations of assembled vintage doilies in different patterns, sizes and colours. The colour combinations, which span from white to multicoloured, are beautiful and, unlike a lot of bunting where you can pick out a few favourite patterns or colours, each doily that Gemma uses is beautiful and unique. This results in a stunning collection of detailed vintage skill being expertly sewn together with care. I haven't come across work like this before, and it is clear that a lot of thought, time, skill and love goes into making these Daisies Blue creations...

1. How did your business come about (and when did you start)?

Initially I stumbled across a selection of beautiful crochet doilies that my Nana had created many, many years ago and after looking for a few moments I was taken aback by their beauty and delicacy. I felt guilty for not giving my Nana the credit for her talent and felt I owed it to her to use them or create something beautiful from them. On a summer outing to Chatsworth House. I spotted a selection of beautiful coloured vintage crochet doilies at a garden fete and knew I had to have them. And so the collecting and creating began really.

2. Can you give a quick insight into your working method? (ideas, techniques, etc.)

Traditional and vintage sewing techniques are at the heart of what we do. I have a love of crochet and hand embroidery and find great delight in showcasing the beautiful work of others from time gone by. Transforming vintage originals into new fresh designs delights us and this really is the focus of all our designs. Our designs are centered around the stunning doilies and embroidery we collect rather than being made specifically for the design. This way we are able to showcase their real, unaltered beauty.

3. What has been the hardest single obstacle to your life in design (apart from a shortage of time, which seems to be universal amongst creatives!)?

The hardest obstacle I have got to say is time, there is never enough minutes in the day as I am sure we would all agree and it amazes me how time can just tick by soo quickly. I can lose hours without even noticing them.

I would also say promotion… as creative’s we are all sooooo busy creating new designs and completing orders that often dedicating time for promoting your business comes further down the list. It is a vastly amazing creative world out there and making your mark can be very difficult.

4. How do you stay motivated? What inspires you?

I never struggle for motivation when I am doing something that I love. If anything it takes over and I need motivation to complete the less exciting and mundane things in life. My passion and my ridiculous obsession with my vintage materials is what inspires me. The excitement of finding additional doilies at a tabletop sale or a hand-embroidered table runner in an antiques shop…. The thoughts of what I could create from it are already filling my head before I have paid for them.

5. What has been the icing on the cake for you as an artist/designer?

It has go to be the amazing customer feedback I receive. It is one thing doing what you love but when you create something special for someone, whether that’s a bride to be or a new mother for their baby’s nursery, there is no greater feeling than knowing they love your design just as much as you. We regularly received photographs from our customers and I feel like we have made friends all over the world. It is very exciting knowing that your newly designed creation is on its way to Australia, Canada or the USA.

6. Who do you admire (other artists/designers; other people generally) and what/who are your biggest influences, past or present?

I am overwhelmed by the amazing talent in the creative world and it would be very difficult to select one person as an influence. I think every artist, designer or craftsperson that you admire rubs off on you in some way… I adore the naturally inspired work of William Morris with its earthy colours, the practical talent of Louise Gardiner with her heavily machine and hand stitched creations amaze me, I could loose hours staring at Claude Monet’s stunningly colourful paintings. They contrast with my love of Angie Lewin’s simplistic organic prints, looking at her work reminds me of a summer’s day. It's fresh, contemporary and uplifting.

7. Describe your creative space

Our creative space contrasts obsessive organisation with total chaos. It is a creative working environment with every creative material imaginable. Colour themed sewing threads to countless labelled jars stretching from floor to ceiling. We love to collect and you could potentially find all sorts of vintage items in our studio from rusty tins, mannequins to an old decorative telephone. It is the work of creative individuals for sure. We have a gorgeous view of the North Yorkshire Moors from the window and on a clear sunny day it is a gorgeous place to be.

8. What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

“Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life” I am still striving towards this but I strongly agree with following your heart and doing something you are passionate about, no matter how hard it may be.

You can keep up to date with Gemma's work here...

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(all above images are © Gemma Robinson)