If you hadn’t noticed, the Courtesans collection was completed in January. Eight shawl patterns. I’m incredibly pleased with how the collection came together, especially as this was my first big foray into developing a group of patterns together around a central theme.
The theme evolved from the fact that I have a small collection of books (mainly non-fiction) which I love. Two of them focus on Courtesans in the UK and France during the nineteenth century. The history of the women and the society they inhabited described within these texts continues to fascinate me, despite the frequent re-readings. To be blunt, I’ve re-read my paperback copies so much that they are starting to look dog-eared and rather well-thumbed. However, I have a lovely BF who tracked down some beautiful replacement hard copies for my birthday, including an illustrated version of my favourite. I’m rather lucky.
The personalities of these women, and some of the stories associated with them, meant that they were an excellent source of inspiration. I’ve tried to capture some of the individual character of each woman, linking the pattern motifs and other design elements to a specific aspect of them. So for La Lune Rousse, the courtesan Cora Pearl, was unsurprisingly, known for her trademark pearls. Therefore in the shawl I wanted to capture the idea of strung pearls – the short rows, beads and eyelets echo the idea of draped necklaces. With Duplessis, the strong image of La Dame aux Camellias meant that a flower-centred design was appropriate. Each of the shawls has a story behind it.
All of the shawls, included the beaded and unbeaded samples of La Lune Rousse and La Païva, are currently on display at Ginger Twist Studio, as part of Jess’ ‘Designer of the Month’ programme (February is me).
The complete collection will also be at Edinburgh Yarn Festival at my stand (and many of the shawls use yarns which will be available via other vendors attending the festival). Both the individual patterns (hard / digital copies available) and the complete e-book (digital only) will be available for purchase.