The new Honey Bee Collection Hand printed on pure washed natural linen, with five signature products: the new iPad case, popular Glasses Case, new multi-purpose zipped Pouch, new handy Coin Purse and new Bucket Bag
Welcome to the Honey Bee Collection - designing a new collection is one of those jobs which initially fills me with terror! I have a sketch book full of ideas, but even that is not enough when faced with the task of coming up with something new. Once I get going, get through the barrier of self doubt and onto the open road, start piecing together ideas, cutting fabric, sewing, exposing screens and mixing inks - there is no stopping me and that is the bit of the journey I love.
This new Honey Bee Collection went through the same kind of journey. Preparation started in early February, sketches, product ideas and fabric colours littered the table in the studio as we set about designing exciting new products; the iPad case, coin purse, pouch and bucket bag. I spent hours, taking care not to get stung, watching bees whizz in and out of my father's hives, legs laden with pollen. Capturing them on my camera seemed to be the easiest way to study then and I returned to the studio with a full sketch book and inspiration aplenty.
There is always great excitement in the studio when we are ready to print a new collection....hours have been spent getting the designs just right, working out their placement on the linen and how the design will work with the product. There were bees everywhere...little paper cut outs flying around the studio before settling onto the linen in perfect formation! The first time you screen print is always the best...we crowd around the print bed, fingers crossed that we have got it right, drag the ink across the screen, to reveal all that hard work committed to print. The Honey Bee collection produced gasps of delight and with just a very slight tweak was ready to go!
Once printed, the making begins.... Hayley and Megan work with me in the studio and are both very skilled makers. It is their job to make up a sample of the new collection which we then test drive with an independent team of critics! Once we are satisfied...or rather, they are satisfied...we begin the production process. Each piece is individually hand printed using traditional artisan screen printing techniques and made here in the studio.
A really exciting addition to this new collection are the hand made porcelain buttons which feature on both the iPad case and bucket bag. Working with a lovely friend, potter Jill Holland, who lives in the village, we made beautiful buttons and impressed them with the fine bee design, finishing them with a cobalt underglaze. I think you'll agree that these gorgeous buttons make the pieces very special.
Look out too for the introduction of velvet - another of my favourite fabrics, as linings in both the coin purse and pouch, with velvet ribbon on all the zip pulls.
With the honey bee in serious danger from intensive farming methods and increased use of pesticides, creating a collection dedicated to these magical little insects has give me great satisfaction. My father has an incredible wealth of bee keeping knowledge, breeds bees for other bee keepers and can often be found up a tree catching a swarm...much to my Mother's horror, I might add!! His hives are the scene of much activity during the summer months and there is always a pot of honey on the kitchen counter for me to take home when I visit..... along with eggs from my Mother's chickens of course!