Well, they took their time!
New fabrics ideas can be a long time brewing, or just arrive, like a bolt from the blue. The idea for my new Poppy design was definitely one the latter types of inspiration.
I was walking back into the garden from my morning walk with Poppy, our dog. In the back of my mind was the thought that I needed to start the process of developing a new fabric idea.
But I needed a central flower around which to create.
And that’s when I saw the red poppy.
Blink and You Miss Them
Poppies seem to come up overnight. They burst into bloom, then within what seems like hours the flowers fade and those salt cellar type seedpods appear in their place.
There in front on me as I headed into the front garden, in the stones on the drive itself, was this gorgeous poppy.
Standing near it, holding a hoe, was my husband Mike. He was weeding the drive.
Don’t touch that poppy! I shouted. Which immediately caused confusion, because our dog is called Poppy, and Mike had no intention of touching her with the hoe.
I ran inside, grabbed my camera and took pictures of this amazing poppy that had emerged from the grey stones on our drive.
Over the next few days I collected a few more photos of poppies as they popped up around the garden. I love poppies and ages ago I had collected some seeds from poppies in my parents’ garden, and then shaken them all over the flowerbed in the front of our house. I was a little bit too vigorous clearly, as most seemed to emerge in the driveway.
Once I had a collection of poppy photos, I wanted to get a few other flowers involved.
There was this amazing montbretia flower bud I found when I was pegging out jeans one day…
And some bright yellow ragwort. Tick tick tick.
Then I talk to Merita
Merita is a graphic designer. She’s amazing. She has the unenviable task of getting inside my head, deciphering what I am looking for, and creating a “tile” which I can then use to print onto my fabrics and then create handbags, neckbands and neck warmers.
Backwards and forwards the design goes between Merita and I, through multiple different variations and stages. Each one I show to a very few people, who I trust implicitly, to get their feedback. I have to suggest colours of the flowers (which I normally keep true to life) and background colours. At this point I have even been known to run up to a man to ask if I could photograph his shirt because it was the exact shade of blue I was looking for at the time. I do get a little obsessive.
When I say “YES!”
I think the first thing that happens when I say Yes is that Merita breathes a sigh of relief. And then she sends me the digital files, and I then send these on to my fabric printer. Then I wait for the rolls to arrive. You never quite know how they will look, even after going through this process so many times. You never know if you’ve got the sizes right, if the colours genuinely are as jewel bright as I had hoped.
And then I make the first bags
And after I’ve danced around the room a little, and run round showing Mike and my son Jimmy and anyone else who might be in the neighbourhood what I’ve made, I then make a few neckbands…
And one of the best things out of this run of fabric printing is that I have now been able to get my gorgeous winter essential neck warmers printed on 100% recycled polyester eco fleece. It is amazingly soft. Like a cloud. Only less wet. And I got all excited and decided to increase the number of designs I printed onto the eco fleece to 5. So now you can get these warm, snuggly, soft soft soft neck warmers in Blue Poppy, Green Poppy, Blue Burren, Red Fuchsia and Blue Fuchsia fabric designs. While stocks last!
Take a look at these little beauties….
Yes, there will soon be backpacks in the new Blue and Green Poppy fabrics listed in my webshop. Don’t forget, if you can’t wait for something to be listed, you can always call me to ask for it, or you can order, say, a Marie Backpack in Blue Burren fabric that IS listed, and add a note when you order to say you actually want it in Blue Poppy fabric instead. I will see that notes and I will happily oblige.
Would you like to See a Sallyann Handbag or Neckband in the Flesh?
It is THAT time of year when market activity ramps up, and it is particularly exciting this year after everything was shut down in 2020. So if you’re wanting to find out how my handbags, backpacks, neckbands or neck warmers actually feel, come and find me either at Chapel Lane Market in Ennis every Saturday between now and 18 December (except 20 & 27 November), or at the Ballymaloe Craft Fair in the Grainstore, Ballymaloe House near Shanagary in East Cork the weekends of 19-21 November and 26-28 November. The picture above shows me when I visited Ballymaloe in September to have some pictures taken to help promote the Craft Fair. I’m not sure if I managed that, but I did have a lot of fun being daft outside that gorgeous building!