Thursday, 31 March 2016

Feeling Blue

It's been a while (nearly a whole month in fact) since I last graced this page. That's pretty pitiful but life has rather got in the way of late and if I'm honest I haven't felt all that enamoured with the idea of blogging recently. Other things have taken precedent. I touched on it in my last post but it seems I am less and less inclined to spend time prancing about in groovy ensembles for the camera. It's not that I don't wear them day to day - colour and pattern still very much rule my life but it does seem that my style has been morphing a little of late. I'm not sure if this is the advent of turning 26 in a few months time and feeling I have to rehearse the possibility of what it might mean to be an adult (and the wardrobe that will belong to my adult self) or the fact that a growing moth infestation has meant some of my most favoured pieces have had to be binned. Possibly the later as I've never much cared for age appropriate dressing. A new style of dressing is sometimes difficult when it comes to blogging... I feel I am gravitating away from the themed posts of the last few years into a new era. Although I may still theme outfits sometimes, I also might not. Either way I want this blog to always be a fun space and I don't want it to become one track in it's outlook so things will be changing over the coming months (for the better I hope!)

Now this ensemble... I purchased this blue shirt/dress/coat from the newest charity shop in town on it's grand opening day, I leapt towards it with great vigour. It was a little pricier than the usual items I purchase from chazzas however I knew when I saw it that it would become an instant staple. I love the cool waftiness of it and the colour is just magnificent. I also rather like that it's a bit French smock like in it's shape.

I've been painting a lot of late mostly towards Ancient Scent an exhibition to be held in Lamorna Village Hall in October. It'll be a culmination of several months of experimental workshops that we've been holding at the hall exploring automatic and surrealist techniques of the artist Ithell Colquhoun, who lived and worked in Lamorna from 1950s-1970s. There are 15 other artists taking part, and so far it's been the most uplifting and glorious experience. We've thus far had 2 sessions with the 3rd coming up in mid-April. I'll be posting a lot more about this project in the coming months but for now here's what Hector Nit (my alter-ego for this process) has been up to:

Hector is somewhat of a budding fossil hunter, an ametuer palentolgist and an all round celebrator of prehistoric beasts, plants and landscapes. His automatic drawings reveal wild animals of questionable origins and species long since extinct:

If you've not tried automatic drawing, it's enormously fun. Grab some paper and your favourite pen to draw with, close your eyes and clear your mind and draw. Open you eyes and see what you've jotted down, what can you see? Draw into the lines, dots, squiggles (or whatever mark has taken your fancy) to make an image. Try not to think to hard about what's on the page but go with first images that jump out at you.

Strange & Rare Specimen, acrylic, enamel and collage, 2016 

See below for my own rare specimen: Gremlina.

I'm off to London for the next few weeks so I'll see you all in April. I'm so excited about my trip as there are 101 good exhibitions on at the moment. Can't wait to see the Hilma af Klint at The Serpentine and the Marian Clayden at the FTM. I'm also going to see Hot Sugar play again which will be dreamy, I'm delightfully happy that his show coincided with my trip.

I'll let Hot Sugz play me out XO

Outfit Details

Blue cotton coat dress - Cancer Research charity shop
Floral trousers leggings (I refuse to use the term treggings) - Uniqlo
Poloneck t-shirt - Orla Kiely for Uniqlo
Turquoise high heeled jellies - JuJu Footwear
Faux fur hat - River Island

Friday, 4 March 2016

Grace Elliott

Hello! It's been a little while since I've popped my head up here. There are a combination of reasons mainly that I've spent the last month or so flitting back and forth between London for work but also it's been terrible weather which does not really make one feel like donning elaborate outfits and jumping about outside. Luckily the weather has cheered up and I've had a little break from my flitting so I finally have time to put together a post.

The jacket I'm wearing in these pictures was bought by mum in the late 1970s from a boutique in the town she grew up in, Worcester. The shop was called Grace Elliott and the label of the jacket reads just that in a lovely bubbly 1970s typeface. 
Grace Elliott denim dress, mid-1970s. Source: GoldCanaryVintage

The jacket was passed to me when I was about 18, I'd ogled it from afar for a long time. It's a beautiful thing; hand-stitched squares of liberty-esque florals and lined in ivory silk. It's a like an old friend, I can't really imagine not seeing it hanging about on my rail.

Grace Elliott denim dress, mid-1970s. Source: GoldCanaryVintage
A few years ago my mum found the pink acetate skirt in Falmouth, what should the label read but Grace Elliott! Although the label was by this point a machine embroidered number. The strangest coincidence. She of course bought it right away. By now I was intrigued, who was Grace Elliott? Googling over the years since has produced very little in the way of information. I know it was open from roughly 1970-1985 (when it was dissolved), and there were two (possibly 3) shops; one at 35 Friar Street and one near The Butts. They traded under both Grace Elliott and Grace Elliott Designs Ltd. I've found one other Grace Elliott item selling on Etsy recently - a denim dress with embroidered tapestry cuffs and pockets. 

However, apart from this the thread has run rather dry. My intrigue is now at an all time high (my favourite thing is a mystery, and an ungoogleable one is the best sort!) This post is a sort of plea/call out/shout for help! Have any of you ever encountered items by Grace Elliott? Does anyone know anything about the firm or indeed remember it? Please comment if you do! Likewise I'd be very interested in seeing pictures if you have any items by the mysterious Grace. I'm pretty sure it was only based in Worcester so it's operations were probably quite small (however, items travel as exemplified by my skirt!)

Both these items are such favourites of mine that I can only imagine how wonderful the other items they might have sold would have been. The jacket reminds me so much of the fabrics used for flour sack dresses. I've never found a patchwork as wonderful and delicate as it. The skirt is made of 100% acetate (!) and has the brilliant watery/woodgrain pattern. 

I've rarely worn both items together but I  like the results, I felt a little like Andie (Molly Ringwald) in Pretty in Pink:
Andie, Pretty in Pink. Source: 1
Andie, Pretty in Pink. Source: 2
She was my absolute favourite as a teenager so maybe that's why I feel such an attachment to these items. They definitely embody that late 1970s-1980s style: ultra pink, floral and girly but with a little punk spirit thrown in. It's ever so slightly sloaney pony but it just about gets away with it (it's all about the attitude you imbue an outfit with...)

Please please please do get in touch if you have any information regarding Grace Elliott (send me an email if that's easier) or any tips on how one might go about tracking down a provincial boutique. My supersleuth investigative research skills have failed me this time!  I'll be back soon I promise!

Outfit Details

Jacket & skirt - Grace Elliott (via my mum)
1930s theatre dress (worn as top) - Vintage sale
1970s brown suede platform boots - Charity shop
1930s straw hat - Belonged to my mum