Friday 31 January 2014


On Wednesday I had a day away from the studio, collecting various materials from fabric shops and charity shops (my favorite!). But back in on Thursday. I added an extra couple of scaley panels to the dress, and shredded the net a bit more, as I like the irregularity of it. I also started to work on the side fastening, which shall be laced up through the eyelets in the belts I have attached. It's going to need a layer of something behind the lacing to make it a bit less indecent though!
The other photos show the paper mache bodies which are both now free of their mannequins. It's a lengthy process but I'm getting there! The pink strips of Jersey will come in later... watch this space!

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Tuesday 28 January 2014


Yesterday I made the table legs longer using classic Duxbury DIY- strips of wood nailed alongside the existing legs, and secured with that old favorite trick of paper mache! Now they are, if anything,a fraction too high even for me, but it's better than the other way sounds! It seems to be working too... I cut out the pieces for a trial wedding dress today (shhh don't tell the groom!) , and no leg collapsing thus far!
The other picture shows a couple more panels of fishy scales added on to the 'shipwreck' dress

Monday 27 January 2014


I have started adding scales and other bits and pieces to the dress to build up the layers. It's very satisfying to use up old bits and pieces, most which have been in my collection a while!

Saturday 25 January 2014

Saturday afternoon

Here are a couple of updated photos of my latest dress, which I worked on today amidst further floor sealing and paper mache mannequins. I've been using up bits of old handbags that I cut to pieces when working a previous creation. I have used a dress from a charity shop as a base to attach everything to.

Friday 24 January 2014

Back after a week away

A few pictures from my first day back after a week away. I've done a few things...

 I started sealing the concrete to make it less dusty, and managed to incorporate some fun paint lines to make a feature of the crumbling lino. This picture also shows the paper mache bodies again- one of the casts was ready to remove from the mannequin, so I cut it open down the back, and have re-mached over the join, and around the bottom edge to make it stronger

I put up some curtains, and christened my iron and ironing board! It was an exciting moment...and I never thought I'd say that about ironing! 

I also started to throw together the underneath layer of the turquoise scale dress, which I think I shall now refer to as the shipwreck dress because in the back of my mind I'm thinking of the kind of things you find washed up the beach... nets, wood, seaweed, fish and random debris! I thought it would be good to make something that I don't mind getting a bit dusty and scruffy while I finish the floor etc

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Some old sketches

You might have gathered I'm away from the studio for a few days. I will be back soon, but in the meantime here's a few old sketches I found. They were probably all done in the last 5 years or so, but it's hard to be more specific because I never date my sketches. Maybe I should!

Saturday 18 January 2014

Thursday 16 January 2014

Lots more chopping

More black pieces cut out, plus a total of 313 fishy (in appearance, and sadly smell!!!) turquoise scales. Hoping they will air off, but at least they look pretty!

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Early beginnings of a new project

Today I started cutting out pieces for a new dress. The grey skirt was made for a previous project, but I never used it... it might just come in handy as an under skirt for this new creation though.

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Today in the studio

Today I decided to wheel my machine desk into the corridor whilst the electrician got to work on the light fittings inside- definitely a good plan to save my eyes in the mean time!  

I've wacked all the pieces together, but it needs fitting on a real human before I do anything major- it will be fun to see where I can take this!

And here is a freshly pleated (well, as pleated as can be before you've set your iron up) kilt that I've made from fabric that I wove myself, in time for burns night!

Yesterday in the studio

I got to work (with Ele's help) making papier mache casts of these mannequins. Once removed from the mannequins and finished off in some stylish manner (that remains undecided as yet!) they will be used to display costumes on in my exhibition. Since they need to be mounted on the wall it will be lighter than hanging the mannequins themselves, and this way I've been able to build hanging loops into the structure.

Below is the start of my Ikea fabric dress. I can't help but gravitate to the most wacky fabric I can find, and I've had my eye on this one for a while. The sketch on the desk is loosely what I'm aiming for, but I'm going to see what happens as I go along!

New desk! Courtesy of friends who where replacing it. It's found a home as a bag and helmet receptacle for now, but this will probably as I settle in.

I've also done some wedding dress sewing today, but there won't be any sneaky pictures of that on here!

Sunday 12 January 2014

Another day of painting and arranging

It's amazing what you can achieve in a day with a little help from the family! Featuring a new desk, shelves and paintwork

Saturday 11 January 2014

Some sketches

These are a few recent sketches of mine. I've pinned them up on my studio wall (and am sharing them here) as it seems a waste to keep them hidden in sketchbooks! I will make some of them up over the next few months.

Friday 10 January 2014

After a second day of painting

No nice flood lighting today, but you can just about see the mural that developed from shapes in the peeling plaster work. Featuring a lovely octopus by Ele,a jewelry maker who is sharing the studio with me.

One day on

The result of the first day of painting! There is no power in the studio yet, but I managed to get some lights rigged up from the corridor, and that in itself makes it a somewhat more cheerful room!

New Year. New Studio, New Blog!

Hello and welcome to my new blog! After a busy few years working in theatre (most recently a hectic panto season making costumes and working backstage), I've set aside a few months to embark upon a new venture. The plan is to move into my own studio and to work on a collection of creations to exhibit and sell. I want to use my imagination and to constuct unique dresses, where the main aim is to make them as spectacular and beautiful as possible, for no better reason than 'because I can'. I have a couple of deadlines on the horizon to spur me on- one being an exhibition I am staging at the Dukes Theatre in Lancaster in March, and the other being my sister's wedding in November, for which I have landed myself the position of chief dressmaker.

This blog will not just be a way of  documenting and sharing my progress with others, but also a way of keeping myself on track as I work completely independently for the first time. I don't wish to bore with an excess of description or 'thought processes'- my work is all about the visual aspect after all. Regular photo updates will be the main focus to my posts here, starting with this one, the first look at my new studio. Much needs to be done, but I can't wait to get to work !