Posts tagged “Greek design

Inspiration Behind the Design – Milos Mini-Bag

This Milos Mini-Bag design is inspired by two things:

The lines “The kisses of your lips are honey, my love” from the Song of Solomon 4:11,

and   this   Elsa Schiaparelli evening coat at the Victoria and Albert Museum

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Elsa Schiaparelli  had a wonderful, quirky way of seeing the world.  Her designs were often considered shocking, playing with contradictions and opposites, her first perfume was actually called Shocking.  

An innovative designer, way ahead of her time…she’s credited with designing the first culottes and wrap-dress, and the first clothes with visible zippers. The New Yorker’s Paris correspondent at the time said, “A dress from Schiaparelli ranks like a modern canvas” ,  having effectively turned her fashion creations into art.   Have a look at this bug necklace , it’s quite amazing when you consider it was made, and worn, in 1938 as part of her Pagan Collection inspired by Botticelli’s lush paintings.    

Schiaparelli collaborated with many artists of the day, such as Salvador Dali, believing that fashion and art share the same goals – to enrich and deepen an understanding of the world that surrounds us.   In fact Coco Chanel, Schiaparelli’s greatest rival, referred to her as “The Italian artist who makes clothes.” 

Here is an excerpt from a  Vogue  article about her early life:  “Berated by her mother for her homely looks, she grew up thinking of whimsical ways to beautify herself. Her astronomer uncle tried to allay her concerns about a cluster of moles on her cheek by noting their resemblance to the Big Dipper; years later, she recreated the constellation on the chairs in her salon, in embroideries, and on a cherished brooch. Schiap once took flower seeds and sowed them in her ears, mouth, and nose, in the hopes that she would blossom into a beauty. “To have a face covered with flowers like a heavenly garden would indeed be a wonderful thing!”

Some links for further reading.

Her Biography.    The Met Museum Collection.  

  A Vogue Biography          Collectors Weekly

Threads for Thought-Political Irony in Surrealist Fashion

And so, inspired by the great artist/designer that is Schiaparelli, I’m working on this series of Milos Mini-Bags.

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Milos Minibags

Milos Mini Bags

Stitching leather raindrops onto the front main-body piece of the 

“Behind the moon, beyond the rain… somewhere over the rainbow” 

– leather mini bag inspired by the ballad originally sung by Judy Garland in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz   Of the many cover versions,  Israel Kamakawiw’ole ‘s is unforgettable.

SS16 leather mini bag collection

Milos Minibag SS16

The “In Your Face” Nappa Leather Tote Bag

I’ve been wanting to do an “In Your Face Bag” for a while and decided this beautiful bronze nappa leather would make cool hair.  It was fun making the pattern and it’s amazing how much the expression can change just by rearranging the eyes.

Carpe diem – as Antidote to Forced Wanderlust

These luxury pencil cases will soon be winging their way to some young Greek people who are living-working-studying abroad.  They have been personalised with the initials on one side, and “carpe diem – Seize the day” on the other.  It’s my personal message to them and all the other young, and not so young, people who have left their homes in search of a better future.

As you probably all know Greece is going through tough times, and I won’t bore you too much with that, but I just want to skim over two of the most talked about problems…. the “brain drain” and the “refugee” crisis.

The brain drain is twisting  that wonderful yearning for travel and adventure called  WANDERLUST because many don’t want to leave their homes and families to find a job outside Greece.  And as for the poor souls trudging through Europe in search of a future…what can be said?  They, who are at the mercy of cold, inhuman monsters who take thousands of dollars and think nothing of piling men, women, children and babies into unseaworthy vessels (30 people in an inflatable dinghy that should hold 4!)  to cross the Aegean, if they are lucky, to reach the outskirts of Europe…the Greek islands.   They are most definitely NOT traveling because they have WANDERLUST, they’re escaping the ravages of war, traveling to and through Europe that is POLITICALLY not welcoming them with open arms.

Now I don’t know the answer to these problems (although I do have a few ideas I mostly wish for a very strong wind to blow a few Richard Heads off their high pedestals…but that whole other story!) but I’m trying to think of ways that I can do something as well as donating.

So I just want to send  CARPE DIEM – SEIZE THE DAY-   to each and every person who has left both their home, and WANDERLUST,  behind, in the dust and rubble of their old peaceful lives.

Pencil case

Personalised luxury waxed leather pencil case with nickel silver hardware and zip. It’s embossed and silver foiled with initials and Latin quote and is fully lined. L: 21cm X H: 8 cm X W: 8 cm.

Further to the refugee crisis.   Here are a few suggestions and I’ll keep the list updated.

Philotimo. Philanthropy. Humanity.    

a wonderful article from and their INDEGOGO campaign 

Helping Those Who Are Helping Refugees in Greece

See also:

OXFAM INTERNATIONAL – Syria refugee crisis – How you can help during the refugee crisis in Europe



HOW TO HELP REFUGEES – further suggestions

An updated list of organizations to donate to help victims of the refugee crisis


Thank you for reading!


Working Outside En Plein Air

I’m working with black leather today and decided to push my cutting table outside as sometimes it’s difficult to see the cutting lines that have been scored around the pattern onto the surface of the leather.  Natural light is the best,  and now that it’s not so hot, but not yet cold, outside if perfect for work!

The cutting table has wheels so it’s pushed around the studio as needed.

 Cutting lines are scored onto the leather with an awl using the card pattern as a guide, then the pattern piece is cut with a leather knife and steel ruler.

Black leatherI have often been asked to post videos and information outlining  what I do,  so I have made and remade this this particular pattern, and little bag, a few times to find the easiest construction method.   Hopefully soon I’ll be able to post a fun, straight forward tutorial, which will be as simple as possible.  It would be truly wonderful to help inspire other peoples creativity.

The tutorial will be suitable for beginners and will be for a small pencil case/ storage bag.

Pattern Drafting

So, here I am again back at the drawing board, as they say.

Now, I enjoy the challenge of making patterns for bags and accessories, but I find the hard work is getting the pattern to actually match what I  visualised in the first place.  Even after going through all the design stages, making the pattern is often like solving a 3-D puzzle…and it’s amazing how deceptively complicated the design of a seemingly simple square shaped bag can be.   I usually end up making lots of samples until I’m happy with the final pattern.

Pattern cutting

Here is a good example of often deceptive bag patterns from Don Morin’s blog Bag’n-telle.  

Designer and educator Don Morin  is incredibly generous with his expertise and advice, it’s a blog worth following for anyone interested in making bags and accessories.

One of his posts is especially interesting, entitled  DEVELOP YOUR SPATIAL SKILLS .

It’s about how he uses his “mind’s eye” to see in 3-dimensions, visualising pattern shapes, and he offers tips and advice about how it’s possible to develop spatial skills to help you make bag patterns.

As well as offering  a lot of great bag patterns absolutely free on his blog, Don Moran also does a online Craftsy class called MAKING LEATHER BAGS  which is definitely worth a look!

In fact Craftsy have lots of great online classes… check out their free mini-classes HERE

Ok, now back to the drawing board!


The Bad Kitty Tote