oh Mefi, how do I love thee?

On a note related to my previous post, I posted a question over at Ask Metafilter looking for unusual, obscure and plain weird crafts I could try.

I love Metafilter- a rich, dusty attic of a site (or group of sites, rather), full of posts themselves filled with the beautiful, silly, obscure, interesting, well-executed. And that’s before I even trawl the ‘craft’ posts..

One of the members who contributes most on crafting is orange swan. A cursory look at her posts on crafting uncovers many treasures, to the point where I appear to be her stalker. Yes, appear. It’s not like I’m in her wheelie bin, scavenging for-

Where was I? Right. Metafilter good, death threats not quite as good.. death threats? Seriously? On this one, I really liked what taz had to say:

Can a gorgeous hand-woven shawl made from handspun yarn be as beautiful as an achingly poignant poem, or painting, or film? To me, yes. And bad work is as bad as other bad work… and equally snark-worthy.

By being as willing to snark about craftwork as anyone else is about other commercial artistic pursuits, I think that Jacquilynne was actually honoring this particular field of creativity more than those who feel that they are above affording it any serious attention at all.


so many crafts, so little time..

“So much to do, so little done, such things to be.”- Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

I’m not usually one for Tennyson, but in that one line, he summed up one of the main double-edged swords of the human experience. That drive to do, to see, to experience is wonderful, for sure- but one is always left with the feeling that there is so much more to do and so little done.

I saw this quote the other day, but on seeing it again, the mind turns to matters crafting. (How’s that for a segue?) All the crafts I’ve never tried- isn’t it time I got started on that list? Here are just some of the ones I’ve discovered that look intriguing, as well as links to artists who have made the technique their own.

WaterMemory’s Steadily Growing List of Craft Techniques to Try (Pardon The Excess of Wiki Links)

tatting: look at the beautiful results in this Etsy shop!

kumihimo: as seen in Bead & Button recently

quilling: again, an Etsy shop sees amazing results

chainmaille (or chainmail?): another gorgeous shop

– ceramics: look at the use of colour here! Beautiful stuff

– lace-making: I particularly like the Bruges style and picked up a couple of samples when I was there

– book-binding: brilliant tutorial here

interview with Fi Fi Le Rue founder, Fiona Archibald

This is the first installment of a feature where I interview some artists and craftyfolk I really admire. Today I’m starting with the evil genius behind the wonderful Fi Fi Le Rue label, Fiona Archibald. She creates dresses and corsages that are adorned with beautiful embroidery, beading and other gorgeous flourishes. One of the elements that really lifts the Fi Fi Le Rue line above the norm is the amount of care and attention in the work- Fiona is meticulous in creating her designs and it shows.

I’ll start by suckering you with the two questions everyone dreads: how did you get started and where does your inspiration come from?
I’ve been working on FiFi Le Rue since 2006 and have been developing the label ever since. I specialised in Textile Design while at Art School and it really went from there, slowly but surely getting my head round my next steps. My inspirations come from pretty much everywhere, from old-school Hollywood starlets like Grace Kelly to the pin up models of the 50s. I love the idea of vintage inspired pieces with a modern twist. Growing up watching Dynasty gave me a taste for OTT cocktail wear- Crystal Carrington had some foxy outfits, never mind Alexis Colby and her slinky sequin numbers!

Just a tiny peek at the Fi Fi Le Rue range
Just a tiny peek at the Fi Fi Le Rue range



What other artists do you admire and why?
I love Vivienne Westwood. Her whole rebellion and refusal to conform to conventional fashion really inspires me- her stuff can be really edgy but still wearable at the same time. I often find myself drooling over Christian Lacroix beadwork, wow! Just that over the top embellishment and immaculate silhouette is jaw dropping to me as a designer. I look to a lot of fine artists when it comes to colour, I particularly like Ken Curries’ (Scottish painter) use of pale tones next to dark backgrounds and pop art can be so inspiring when it comes to funky eye-catching colour pallettes.

What’s your poison? Take that one however you will..
Hmmm, beads beads beads, vintage fabric and general bits and bobs. I am a terrible hoarder for little pieces of sparkly embellishment and have a  spare room dedicated to my findings and impulse buys. I get so precious about some things, like fancy buttons and it takes me all my willpower to actually use them as opposed to keeping them in a wee bag and bringing them out every so often to merely stroke and admire them. I am well aware that I sound mad, however I know a certain jewellery designer who is exactly the same, I wonder who that could be??? Ha ha ha. 
*cough cough* Oh indeed, who could that be? So, what can we expect to see from Fifi Le Rue in 2009?
You’ll probably see a very exhausted me standing in the cold at Cows Lane! In terms of the collection I am heading towards more funky party and cocktail wear. I feel that people are looking for a very individual style, especially with summer weddings and functions etc, they want to stand out from the crowd but not have to pay a huge amount to do so. I aim to create very affordable high fashion.
Thanks for being such a sport. Tell us, oh Patient One, where can we lay our hands on your wares?
At Cow’s Lane Designer Mart, every Saturday from 14th March 10 til 5 come rain or shine!! My website is being developed as we speak and I hope to have the Fi Fi Le Rue website launched very soon. Watch this space!
We certainly will. Thanks much!