Wednesday, June 13

Tales of the Unexpected.

After yesterdays blitz with the ironing I thought I was going to have a quiet day here tidying drawers or watching Chinese martial arts films when Stella rang and invited me to go along to the local college in Worthing to look at the Textile Degree show.

Harry had the shortest walk in the history of dog walking as I needed the half hour before she picked me up to make my face pretty and find something ‘young’ to wear.
I was so impressed with what I saw especially after my recent trip to Liberty's my usual stop off point for raw talent had been so disappointing - it's in bucket loads on my doorstep! Stella and I both wondered why when there was such beautiful fresh ideas on offer are the shops full of the same old, same old stuff? Very interesting, very interesting indeed. I should perhaps tell you what I found interesting – the techniques I saw are age old. If I pluck one of my 1930’s sewing manuals off my dusty bookshelves there I will find appliqué, cut work, French knots, Suffolk puffs (Yoyo’s to you Americans) they were all present and correct in the textiles on show today.

Which then made me think what constitutes originality?

My mother in one of her philosophical moments would often say, ‘ if you’ve thought of it, someone else has already done it’
So I open this question to all my readers, what for you defines originality?


  1. Hi what a super question, one of my favourites, i think improving on an idea is great especially if it is well executed and does justice to the original Shapes and styles of clothing, accessories and furniture, i believe have pretty much been exhausted, but it is those little twists that give it a new edge and a nod towards the avant-garde Vivienne Westwood i think is a master at this, even though the old bint is losing it at the moment bless her! I have to say i do agree with your mother, hope this o.k....Stephne x

  2. i came for a little light reading and now i have been plunged into the grip of "thinking"...i think it is incredibly differcult to be orignal in the last few years because so many people are doing the crafting thing...but some people just seem to have a very clever way of taking something old and tweaking it with a 'clean cut' very simple new modern version...which leaves us all wishing we had thought of it first...

    apart from that i can't answer the question because it requires too much deep thinking on my behalf...i shall go off and sew, pondering the question and i might just return a little later to see what everyone else has written and then go "damn, i wish i had thought of that first"...

  3. i also cannot spell it would appear...

  4. I don’t know if I should say but when my mother says this usually she is referring to sexual practices!
    Yes I definitely agree, a new application, a twist, and tweak.
    I think the mark of a creative mind is doing the unusual.
    I also love the randomness of putting things together that normally would never be put together.

  5. When i was a 18 ish my mother was quite often heard saying (from over the top of her spectacles whilst sitting at her typewriter)" the trouble with your generation Stephne is that you think you invented IT !" I had forgotton that, what a lovely memory you have unearthed in my mind thank you... Sx

  6. Originality is a difficult subject (though perhaps less essential in the bedroom than in the art show?). When I began to look at crafting blogs I was worried that I would be reduced to copying, particularly with the waves of yo-yos or wave blankets or whatever that flow from one blog to another - but then I realised that the things that I would like to copy I don't actually have the skill to - I can't machine embroider and I am very bad at quilting - so it is less of an issue.

  7. you are totally right, i had that fear as's like if you start to look around at other peoples work too much, you will lose the ideas in your head and won't remember where your path was leading...i always gravitate towards people who create with a style that is quality at the end of the day...i care about the materials involved, the stitching and most of all i am a details girl, i like the cherry on the top, that little something that makes it stand out from the crowd, abit like those delicious cupcakes we keep seeing can be something as simple as just the tag or a button in a strange place...

    right i think i have taken over gigibird's blog for long enough..

  8. I think you are spot on Jane – if you are going to develop your own style then looking at other blogs for inspiration isn’t really going to work as there is no spark or energy in imitation – but I do find it fascinating what other crafts people have to say about the process – their journey, rather than wanting to replicate their finished work.
    Tif, I too love detail. I’m obsessed by it in fact. I can’t start a project until I have exactly the right coloured fabric and notions.

  9. Tif's blog is one I avoid - except for a once a month splurge - her style is very like the things I tried to make in my late teens (though I hasten to add to this that they were not even 1% as lovely). I was very inspired by a woman who had an antique shop called something like Virginia's Attic and whose bedroom (often featured in magazines)was all vintage lace and artificial 1930s flowers. My version unfortunately looked a bit more like Miss Haversham. I did wear customised 1930s slips though.

    But I still have all the suitcases of vintage linen and silk, all the Victorian lace and it frightens me that I would accidently swerve onto making narrow topped, lace festooned, buttoned totes. They are so lovely.


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