Gemma Sangwine

Unique and bespoke millinery and hair accessories


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Guest Exhibiting at Atelier for Select 2016

After opening our studio at Stafford Mill for the Select Trail for the last 5 years, we took a break in 2015 and enjoyed being tourists and visiting local artists and craftsmen for a change.

But in May 2016 I decided to join in again and took the opportunity to exhibit at Atelier Stroud, along with Heloise of Pink Frazada, Heather Haskins (Atelier’s resident seamstress), Francesca Chalk’s printed textiles, Polly Lyster’s Dye Works and Deborah Roberts Photography.

Atelier is a light, airy, friendly and relaxed space which hosts a sewing club and regular workshops. For the Select Trail the sewing machines were put away and our group of local artists and makers moved in, laying out our wares and generally taking over!

We had lots of visitors over the two weekends, many of whom had never been to Atelier before, so it was great to introduce them to the space, and to talk about our own work.

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For me it was a bonus to be able to just rock up with all my stock and display props and set up my stall, rather than having to tidy up my own studio to make it presentable for visitors, which if you have ever visited us at Stafford Mill, you will know it is quite a task.

I end up frantically pushing boxes under tables and randomly shoving materials and equipment into drawers….and then spending the following months looking for them!

Later this year you can catch me as a guest exhibitor at the Made in Chalford Christmas Fair at The Victoria Works Studios, Chalford, on the 3rd & 4th December 2016.


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And Finally….here’s the last one I made!

So….the last two blog posts have been about pieces I made for a collaborative photo-shoot….well here is the 3rd and final piece!

The dress was made from 8 metres of pure silk taffeta with a lace-up back and flower corsage at the waist.

I wanted to make a Pre-Raphaelite style floral crown to go with it, and Emmie was able to save some of the off-cuts of fabric for me to make the flowers with.Sally montageI had recently been practising making fabric flowers and was keen to hone my technique and make a finished floral head-piece, so this really was the perfect opportunity!

To start with, two layers of fabric are bonded together, this works best if one of the layers is cotton organdie, but in this case I used two layers of the red silk (I did a small amount of the red silk bonded with black chiffon for a bit of variety!). Then I cut out the petals in a range of sizes, pressed and manipulated them into shape and stitched them together around a fabric covered ‘bud’ to make a natural looking rose.Sally WIP montageI found some green silk (gifted by a friend who popped by the studio and saw what I was up to!) which was perfect for making some leaves and also to wrap around the headband.

The finished piece is asymmetric with a mixture of different sized roses, and includes some made with black chiffon for a darker feel.Sally final montageOn the day of the shoot Harriet did a great job sweeping Sally’s long hair into a romantic style up-do, with braids on one side, emphasising the asymmetric look of the floral crown, which she positioned off to one side, and which also echoed the corsage on the waistband of the dress.

The dress is the ‘Josephine’ by Emmie Miles Bespoke Dressmaking & Design, hair by Harriet’s Organic Hairdressing, make-up by Aine Thomas. And of course the photos are by the very talented wedding and portrait photographer Camilla Reynolds.

The photo-shoot was a lot of fun to be part of, everyone enjoyed the day and Camilla did a great job of recording it all;

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Creativity in the Stroud Valleys

I have lived in Stroud for 10 years now, and feel very lucky to have settled in such a beautiful, vibrant and creative area. Nearly everyone you bump into is an artist or maker of some sort, or closely related to one.

The Studio at Stafford MillThere is a strong history of the textile industry with many old weaving and spinning mills, often built by the river Frome to make use of water power, and some of those that survive have been converted into offices or studios, including Stafford Mill where I have a studio alongside my sister Victoria of Studio Vee, and fellow Winchester School of Art graduate Nick of Leto & Ariadne.

In the month of May, over two weekends, many of these artists and makers throw open the doors of their work spaces for the SIT Select Trail and SVA Open Studios. Having taken part and opened our own workshop for the last 4 years, this time we decided to opt out and visit some of the studios we have heard so much about but never been able to get to!

Here are some of my highlights;