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Wednesday 30 September 2015

Sweetheart Pincushions

I found the largest of these three cups in a charity shop sometime back. The gilding was rubbed, the flower was missing a couple of petals, and there was no maker's mark. But even though it had seen better days, it was far too baroque a confection to resist.

Quite by chance I turned up the two smaller gold cups - this time in near perfect condition - at a table top sale soon after.

I had no idea what I'd do with any of these, but I knew they were destined for something special. Like many makers, I avoid using my favourite materials. Especially when, as was the case here, I know I'm not likely to find replacements! So I bided my time, waiting to be inspired with the perfect idea for these little beauties.

In the end, I realised they had to be pincushions. But not just any pincushions, hand-felted merino wool cushions that would coordinate with the cups and echo their lavish designs, recalling the heavily beaded and embroidered pieces that used to be given as gifts to a sweetheart. Pincushions that would be functional, yes, but also be tiny objets d'art in their own right.

Above you can see the results and judge for yourself whether I did my cups justice. In each case, the felted interior was beaded and appliqued with a variety of haberdashery, lace and crystals. Personally, I love them. And someone must agree, as the two smaller versions will soon be winging their way to America as very indulgent little Christmas gifts, where I hope they will be very much loved.

As for the original larger cup, it is currently for sale. It's still my favourite of the three but I do think it's missing one thing. There's a plain white scroll draped down one side just begging for an inscription (available at no extra charge!). Personally, I'd go for "prick". But that's just me....

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