Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Introducing the first of the Bee Designs

I have been working on a collection of bee designs that can be worked up into an assortment of items, from framed textile pieces to beautiful handmade items for the home.
This has been a long slow process for me as each one has to fulfill various criteria. They have to be beautifully designed and made, completely ethical and sustainable, use the finest fabrics possible and 'work' energetically.

My aim is to create 'heritage' pieces, reminiscent of the quality of days gone by. An heirloom that can be handed from mother to daughter, father to son.

My passion for recycling and specialism in textiles from the bottom of the 'food' chain means I get to handle lots of exquisite vintage fabrics which I work into my designs.

I am on a personal mission to find some contemporary British fabrics that can compete on thread count and quality to those made 100 yrs ago. I am constantly frustrated that this is so hard to do! This country was built on the textile industry, wool and cotton shaped the industrial revolution, so we are more than capable! My dream is to find a British manufacturer creating exquisite woollen fabric, from sheep to cloth.
Wool is the most versatile and sustainable fabric that there is and one that the British can do very well so I am currently scouring the this space.

My first port of call was to find sustainable inserts for these cushion. I have been working with a brilliant company call Wool Soft who use 100% British wool and also are part of The campaign for wool - supporting British farmers. I am trialling pure wool 'cushion for life' inserts. These are a thick unbleached cotton casings fitted with a zip so that the contents can be washed, fluffed, removed or added to. In theory you should never need to buy another cushion.

This design is called Polaris, it was originally designed as an image for a series of prayer flags. It serves as a vehicle for energy, it's a bit like providing an opening or hole through which the bees can work.  Beautiful energy can buzz backward and forwards across space and time. My therapist friend refers to this as the 'boom bee'! due to it's explosion of energy.
Bee of life and Polaris
This second design is the Bee of Life - I think it probably speaks for itself. This one takes a while. I freehand stitch these on my fantastic old Bernina sewing machine. It is my treasured friend of many years and of my mothers before me.
Cushion 1 is made from beautiful vintage heavy silk and Polaris on French linen with white antique linen hex.
Fine wool circa 1950's with green linen 'bee of life' panel
Harmony......Striped Linen with embroidered vintage linen panel and small brass skep. This design is all about bringing balance and harmony to all aspects of your life. This panel of linen still has the guidance lines which a young lady or her mother would have hand embroidered as part of her trousseau. Here it represents the subtle body of the bee.
It is also possible to have a feather insert in these products, after much searching I have found some that have a strict ethical policy where the feathers are a by product produced cruelty free in Europe. Although wool is preferable due to it's anti allergy properties there are some exceptions where feather works best.

bee and skep detail.
This design is just a one off made for myself. I have been treasuring the hand woven fabric for a long time, it's the most incredible mix of colours and perfect for my living room, so after many hours of painstakingly unpicking it from its former life as a pleated vintage skirt it has been upcycled.

For more images of the bee designs take a look in 'Bee Designs' on top tab.


  1. Beautiful stuff, Harry!

    I'm so happy that your creative fingers are still busy making beautiful things. :)


    1. Thank you, they definately keep themselves busy x