As you may have seen, last month we announced an intention to focus on opulent couture this year. This means cutting out other aspects of our work, such as plain classic underbusts. We have pretty much retired our Swiss Cincher (shown to the left) and are prioritising new orders/enquiries which make best use of our skills… But fear not, we can recommend other brands for classic black underbusts and so on! Information to follow in another post.
Anyway, so far the year has gone well! We are working through outstanding orders (having cleared about half of them), lining up new projects, and I am very excited by the pearls, stones and silks we are getting to use! With softly toned bridal, roughly hewn rock, and sumptuous freshwater pearls all on the horizon, I am a happy wren indeed. Our deadlines are still far in advance (so do book soon), but we are considering a couple of new ways of creating brand-led, bespoke mini-collections, which you can get involved in for the ultimate creative, bespoke experience… Bespoke mini-collections may sound a contradiction in terms, of course, but if it comes to pass all will be explained.
A big development last year was the discovery of a silk duchess which, when combined with certain construction techniques, produces strong but lightweight, special-occasion corsetry.
In exploring this fabric, we have hit upon antique-inspired ways of creating pieces that are still heavily boned whilst reducing the number of layers required. It is no doubt a boring technical detail to many, but what it means is that our couture corsetry can be ever more elegant. Less bulky, cleaner in construction, challenging but simultaneously simpler to make… In short, a tidy foundation for whatever draped gown or embellishment we have decided to pursue for your bespoke garment.
We’ve a couple more ideas to pursue (as ever!) and these pieces are not recommended for waist-training, but I am very excited to be reaching yet another level in the refinement of our work.
Of course, my love of texure persists and I am happy to focus on lace, pearls, quartz, crystals, etc. etc. with even more intention and passion this year. Combinations of shape and embellishment (ie: the relationship and proportions of those things, the balance of hard with soft, rough with smooth, etc. etc.) is really our specialism, and we intend to explore and exploit that this year. We really want to make pieces that are more “sparklewren” than they have ever been before! No half measures. It’s an exciting time.
Lastly, we all crave balance in our lives, I am sure.
For me, and I imagine for many independent artists/designers, this would be about achieving a greater separation between work and home life.
Excitingly, I am about to move onto a narrowboat! It is a steep learning curve but an exciting one, and over the past few weeks we have been working hard on DIY and decorating to make it a peaceful place to be, and even doing that has made me rest a little bit, in an odd way. Already I’m feeling rejuvenated and energetic for being outside in the fresh air more often! Indeed, the first time I slept on the boat, I dreamed of a new corset design and happy times in the studio… Very much the behaviours of a hopeful and contended mind! Here’s hoping for more of that.
There is more work still to be done, but my hope is that in living somewhere that almost forces you to slow down (for example, by making you take time to fill up the water, set the fire, or empty the loo!), my mind will get better respite when not at work.
Because otherwise, finding that rest can be hard. Even now I am writing to you from the sofa in our current flat (the classic spot for emails!) and so home/work isn’t divided as clearly as I would like… It is just very difficult as a self-employed person to switch off and keep a work/life balance, especially when so much of our business is done at a distance and online.
But I feel like I am improving in this regard. And one thing that is true of many independent creatives I’m sure, is that when we have space to breathe, think and pursue other hobbies/crafts, our work just gets better (which is obviously good for both the artist and the customer!).
So to be more concise… this year is all about focus. The bridal and corsetry is going to become more and more “sparklewren”, whilst hopefully my time off will likewise become more and more my own. Our mission is to outline ever greater clarity on what we do, and to continue to excel within our field.
But before all that, it’s time to finish up some orders! Do follow our facebook page if you’d like to see pieces as they are completed.