Thursday, 9 June 2011

The Design Process.

I thought I would show a little of how the design process works for me. Sometimes it all comes so easily and other times ... well, let's just say I'm sure I am not the only designer/maker who litters her workroom with a kaleidoscope of fabric pieces, abandoned half-worked designs and the clumps of hair she has ripped from her head in frustration. Okay, so slight exaggeration there but you get my point.

All my designs are inspired by the things around me, the things I encounter on my way around my Cornish home or the things I do in my Cornish home. They are all things I am passionate about and therefore become part of that other area of my life so closely interwoven in my world - my Pipany business. On this particular occasion I had been wandering around the garden checking on the progress of things in between feeding the ducklings and cooking the dinner as you do. I had no thoughts of designing in my head, just the enjoyment of seeing the fruits growing heavy on the trees - the apples, plums and gages all beginning to weigh the branches down with the promise of good crops ahead...

when my greedy eyes fell on the redcurrant bush, an old and somewhat scrappy specimen which is always covered in fruits despite the fact that it gets uprooted by gales every single year no matter what I do to support it. I grabbed a bowl and filled it with these most beautiful globes of purest scarlet, the light catching every tiny ball and making it glisten.

As I picked I started to 'see' various pictures of berries as components of journal covers and lavender sachets; I could see the way the bowl or basket could be appliqued and how the branch would swoop down towards it. I took a number of photographs of the currants to have on hand if I didn't get to work on the design while the currants were still around, but really the next bit was to get into my sewing room and go for it.

The first piece came together easily, the freehand embroidery of the branches appearing on the fabric exactly as I wanted, the working of the berries taking a little longer, but the colour being perfect with the stripes of the ticking used for the basket. I added some hand embroidered blades of grass but felt this piece told its story through the red berries and kept the rest of the design as simple as possible.

To pick up the ticking I used a darker colour than I normally would for the personalisation at the bottom, the slightly wavy line of the text perhaps suggesting a path or some uneven ground (and believe me, our garden has some very uneven ground!).

So, there you have it - beautiful scarlet berries from our garden

transformed into a gorgeous Personalised Berry Journal by Pipany - available here.

Hope you like it xx


  1. This is a beautiful design Pip, and really nice to see the desgin process from initial spark to finished product! Sure it will sell really well for you xx

    p.s no you are not alone in your description of your studio, mine is like that more often than not! x

  2. I think it's beautiful Pipany and it's one of the reasons why I love your designs.

    Nina x

  3. What a delightful post - a real Pipany special with both beautiful photos and beautiful embroidery! The berries are mouthwatering in both! I love the way you combine fabrics and embroidery in your own special style.
    Helen x

  4. Redcurrants are one of my favourite fruits - I adore the tartness. You've captured them perfectly.

  5. Hi Pipany,

    Your journal looks really pretty! I just had a look at your website. I did not know you had one. I will keep an eye on the things you sell!

    Lieve groet,

    Madelief x

  6. Absolutely beautiful you clever Pipany. And being lucky enough to actually own one of your creations (albeit briefly before my mother got her mitts on it), I know just how special these designs are.

  7. Lovely to see the design process, and the finished product is gorgeous.

    Sue xx