Sparklewren

aesthetic art corsetry

Exploit me, please!

We make all sorts of corsetry here, but my specialism really is in innovative ideas and ornate embellishment. That's what I'm best at and what I love most. So when clients give me the chance to appliqué lace, create texture, or work with pearls (my goodness, the dull click they make when your fingers push them around inside a box is delicious...) I am excessively happy, and they are too.

Please do exploit my "talents"! There are so many things in this life that I'm bad at (or just don't specialise in) that it seems silly to not exploit the things I do well. Likewise, my assistant Holly is fast becoming passionate and adept at working with crystals, beads and so on (unavoidable when working here, I think!), that we do spend most of our time merrily embellishing. It is the bulk of our work, and I am very happy about that. I love it so much that I have often created an entirely new corset (which, as you likely know, is a lot of work) just because I wanted to explore surface embellishment ideas. I love it so much, I'm half tempted to offer embellishment alone as a service, decorating your own corsetry, perhaps, or re-working existing Sparklewren designs or old wedding gowns in order to give them new life...

A lovely client in her Little Bird/Phoenix hybrid. Dove-grey coutil embellished with hand-painted couture lace. Lace appliqué is about gesture. The placement of every tiny motif should be elegant, as though it were a beautiful ink sketch or watercolour painting.

A lovely client in her Little Bird/Phoenix hybrid. Dove-grey coutil embellished with hand-painted couture lace. Lace appliqué is about gesture. The placement of every tiny motif should be elegant, as though it were a beautiful ink sketch or watercolour painting.

I believe this is why I also love vintage-inspired bridal. When else (outside of haute couture) can one lavish such decorative attention on a full gown? Brides want to feel special and I want to create something special. It's the ideal combination.

Beautiful Brenda's bespoke "Swan" gown... Both the bride and gown will be with us at Hotel du Vin on Sunday, do come to say hello!

Beautiful Brenda's bespoke "Swan" gown... Both the bride and gown will be with us at Hotel du Vin on Sunday, do come to say hello!

We are attending the "I Do in Vintage" Wedding Fayre at Hotel du Vin in Birmingham this Sunday (19th October, 11am - 4pm), and in preparing for it the studio has been awash with lace, crystals and other such lovely things! Not just the display corsets and couple of gowns that we will be taking, but also (and this is reasonably new for Sparklewren) some accessories. Art Nouveau inspired head-dresses, pearl earrings, beautiful textures and tones... I am especially loving the head-dresses. Opulent, poppy-inspired, hand-made silk flowers mounted onto gold-tone head-bands, with pearls, crystals, tulle, organza, and all such loveliness. If you're in town you really must pop in to take a look.

Bespoke client Elle in the Tjarn corset. I wish you could really see the detail in here! The silk duchess was scrubbed with a wire brush to create "faded grandeur" texture, then flushed in green and black silk paints for subtle tones. Black and gold lace was layered up with translucent green beads catching the light. The whole effect was of watery depths, just like the Swedish fairytales of "dark water" and mysterious creatures which inspired it. The next corset I am making for Elle is far more subtle, though still decorative, it's a joy working on unique pieces like this.

Bespoke client Elle in the Tjarn corset. I wish you could really see the detail in here! The silk duchess was scrubbed with a wire brush to create "faded grandeur" texture, then flushed in green and black silk paints for subtle tones. Black and gold lace was layered up with translucent green beads catching the light. The whole effect was of watery depths, just like the Swedish fairytales of "dark water" and mysterious creatures which inspired it. The next corset I am making for Elle is far more subtle, though still decorative, it's a joy working on unique pieces like this.

I suppose I know most of my own failings... and my strengths. So many creatives, especially seamstresses, try to be all things to all people, but we just cannot serve every client well. If your project would be better suited to a colleague, I will suggest them to you. If you request something untested, I will be sure that you understand the nature of experimental work (90% of the time it works out brilliantly, but you have to be prepared to take a risk). If you want something that I no longer do (old aesthetics or styles that I have improved/discarded) then I will be honest and say that I can't replicate it but could do something inspired by it. 

In short, I want to love my work and for you to love it too. Which means focusing on projects that best harness my strengths as head designer, and Holly's strengths as assistant. If we can't do your commission justice then it's better for all concerned that we don't accept it. And if you're unsure on what to commission from us, then the clue is in the title of this blog post. With all the things that I can (pointlessly) lack confidence in, with all the typical artists' anxieties I can have, there is one thing I absolutely know... I am great with lace and sparkles. Exploit that!