Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Here Comes the Bride...

No, not me, in case you were wondering! :D

In November 2010 (which seems a hundred years ago now), I was approached by an American magazine ~ Her Nashville ~ to create a cover for their bridal edition...and here follows a story full of twists and turns and angst and upset and frustration and finally, a Happy Ending.

The art director of the magazine had seen some images of my textile work somewhere online, and liked the style.

I think it was this kind of thing that she had seen...

So I got busy sketching brides...

...and sent in some samples for her to see.  She really liked the second one so I got to work with their colour scheme, choosing fabric and embellishments like tiny pearls and vintage buttons.  It felt like quite a challenge to be commissioned to do something like this, as my usual commission work involves paint and canvas!  Still, I love a good challenge, love stepping out of my comfort zone to explore new ground and all that so it was full steam ahead!

The first job involved making templates, cutting out the figure and laying it all out, then I began to freestyle embroider the first pieces with my sewing machine...

It was quite a project, and I found I was thoroughly enjoying myself.  I had to get the piece ready for dispatch shortly after Christmas (2010) so that it would arrive in plenty of time for their January deadline.

Details were added when the Little Person was tucked up in bed asleep...

...little buttons and hand sewn pearls...


You'll be pleased to know I trimmed her hairy arms before she was sent out!  Anyway, the bride was soon finished and ready to be packaged carefully up for posting.

And that's when the trouble began.  

The bride was taken to a small village post office on our way out to somewhere else right after Christmas.  It was quiet, there was hardly a soul about and I remember feeling under par, that feeling you get when you think you're coming in for a cold and your head's a bit fuzzy and you're not quite with it.  So the parcel was dispatched and off we went for a pub lunch or something like that and I felt delighted to think of it finally winging its way across the Atlantic to the magazine offices.

It must have been a few days later I was tracking its progress online...only to find there was no progress.  There was no news about my bride at all.  

And suddenly it dawned on me.

There hadn't been a customs label attached to the parcel!!!!!!

Have you ever had that dreadful sinking feeling in your belly, like a ten tonne stone has just settled there and a doom laden feeling clouds your head? 

What should have been roughly a five day service to the States turned out to take four weeks.  There were strong restrictions in force at all US customs offices back then and things were being delayed by days if not years.  What chance did my parcel stand without that Very Important Label?  I felt so annoyed at the Post Office woman, she ought to have known an overseas parcel needed one of those, but at the same time I felt annoyed with myself - I knew from previous experience that international parcels needed that label but feeling under par had entirely overlooked it.  Perhaps otherwise I may have had the forsight to mention it...but c'est la vie!

The parcel arrived at the latter end of January and missed the deadline for the February edition.  I was gutted.

However, all the way through this awful problem I had a great communication with the Art Director.  Between us we contacted US customs, the American postal service and Royal Mail with umpteen phone calls and emails to try and find the AWOL package

It finally arrived, and although it was late, they decided it was better late than never and decided to save it for THIS years bridal edition!!  Hurrah!!!  But oh what a wait!

You are welcome to take a look at their digital edition here.

So there we have it!  I'm proud as punch to have my textile art on the front of a mag, and it's one of those moments that's up there with the time my 'Harbour' painting was featured here.  I am forever in awe at the way the internet can bring the world into your living room, how it opens up opportunities and doors that may otherwise never open.  I am eternally grateful to it and feel quite blessed sometimes by the things I've been asked to do or be involved with.

Talking of bridal related things makes me think of Valentines day which is creeping ever closer.  I'm contemplating a design for a card and hoping I have the time to do it!  One thing I've discovered since my little girl went to school is that despite her been gone until 3:15pm, there doesn't actually seem to be any extra time to do things...this baffles me slightly, but on I trot, making art as and when I can...and I recently made this which I hope you'll like.  It's something new, a bit different...

It's called 'Three Little Words' and I imagine it would make a lovely romantic gift for someone.  I have plans for a sea themed one next and am enjoying working on these little mixed media art boxes enormously!

You can find out more about my new work here.

Well I think I've waffled on long enough! What a lengthy post it turned out to be!  Are you still with me??!!

Thanks for reading and visiting, I feel a BIG cup of tea coming on...

See you soon,
Love Julia x x x


  1. So glad that there was a happy ending! Your bride ~ and the rest of your work ~ is beautiful :O)x

  2. Oh Julia, it's gorgeous! Well done for such a lovely commission. I agree with you about the internet: it is amazing what opportunities arise and what friends can be made. Loved seeing the bride develop, if you know what I mean! x

  3. Congratulations on finally getting your bride in print it was worth the wait. Your new mixed media box frame is lovely and I'm looking forward to seeing the sea themed one.

  4. Happy endings do occur! Your bride is so delightful she had to see the light and share the fame with her creator! I have had similar disappointments at missing magazine deadlines followed by very long waits...but the success tastes even sweeter after a year or so!

    Your work is exquisite.

    Have a beautiful week.


    ps You have brought back delightful memories of designing bridal gowns when I was a little girl. It was all I dreamed of!

  5. This looks lovely Julia, well done! I love that random stiching effect, you are clever. I had a 'do' with the post recently, but it turned out OK in the end. Love your little bird too.

  6. It didn't feel like a waffly long post, I could have gone on reading for hours! I'm so pleased your bride had a happy ending, the hairy arms made me laugh!I love the new boxed pictures. :o)
    Jess xx

  7. i love her...thanks for sharing the process with us!
    She's just beautiful!

  8. What a very long wait - but worth it all in the end, your bride is lovely. Congratulations on a front cover!

  9. Oh Julia there I was relaxing with a post work cuppa when I started reading your thriller, the tension and straight after a busy day almost too much. I'm so glad your story had a happy ending!
    I adore your new art style too. ♥

  10. Congratulations - well done, your bride is very beautiful.

    Julia x

  11. It's so interesting to see how a piece unfolds from start to finish - much better than just showing the finished item. Have loved looking round your varied blog.

  12. It's great the mag didn't cancel on you. They know good stuff when they see it!

  13. Julia,
    May I ask you what you used to 'stick' the pictures and bits in place inside the artbox you did?

    I'd love to make one, but not sure what use.

    Well done on the bridal issue, it was worth the wait.


  14. Hi Julia,
    Hope things are going well for you - your work is lovely, as always.
    I have nominated you for an award for your blog. Head on over to my blog and check out what you need to do (if you want to, of course).
    Hope to see you and Jo again.

  15. Wow, your bride design is very beautiful -I'm so glad they went ahead and printed it, she is definitely worth the wait! I do like a story with a happy ending :-) x

  16. Thanks awesome gosh you must be so proud and excited well done you x

  17. Great news - your little bride pic is just perfect for the job! x Jo

  18. Clever, clever girl, how gorgeous is that, congratulations. What a nightmare it must have been, when you realised no customs label, but alls well that ends well.
    Love the valentine card.

  19. Your bride is such a beautiful creation....my heart was sinking when I was reading how it almost disappeared and I was soooo glad that it all ended happily! I love your two new pictures too, Julia. You are a very talented lady....I look forward to each new creation!
    Have a happy day.
    Helen x

  20. beautiful!!! Absolutely beautiul!!! I love your bride!!! And how fantastic that they still went with it after all this wait! She is so worth it!!!

  21. Hello, Julia! I love your creations! Your bride is so beautiful and pathetic :o)Love your style! Congrats with happy ending!
    I`m your new follower now.
    Have a nice day

  22. Beautiful Julia! Just beautiful. And what a story. I am all for a happy ending. :D

  23. hahah...the hairy arms was pretty funny


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