- Jan Appleton
The inspiration behind my new Seashore Collection
I've got many happy childhood memories of beach combing with my gran and my dad. My neck cricking from always looking down to see what was at my feet. Picking up rocks to see what was hiding beneath. That love for 'little things' as not changed and you'll still find me on the seashore pottering around with my eyes to the ground around my feet. And just occasionally looking up to take in the views and the huge sky above me (the sky always looks much larger when you've been looking for small details on the ground).
Just a sample of some of the many, many photos that I take whilst on the seashore.
The things that are washed up and left on the seashore have fascinated me for a long time and I wanted to incorporate some of those finds into my knitwear at some point. So, after a long time of thinking and re-thinking ideas and constantly going back to certain elements that caught my eye I have actually completed my Seashore Collection - summer version. The one thing that kept on 'speaking' to me was lobster pots. I just love them, the colours, the patterns, textures, the way they live in and out of the sea and that was one element I really wanted to capture.
I wanted to replicate the netting and incorporate the myriad of colours of lobster pots.
I don't know what you think when I say seashore, but probably for many it's beach, sand, sea and maybe ice cream. Not for me, it's all the things that are washed up, the flaky paint on old fishing boats with their seaweed tangled ropes anchored to the ground. Buoys that no longer serve their purpose. Rusted iron that once anchored the boats and rope, so much rope, scattered amongst the other debris in a fusion of colour. Life that once lived in the sea and now washed up on the seashore, merging with it's surroundings.
Debris and nature leaving a colourful footprint.
Ideas for colours and textures started to form over time, with the odd drawing and then lots and lots of tension swatches This is when the fun really begins, because there's no guarantee your sketches and ideas will transform into an actual garment or that the colours and yarns chosen will work as you anticipate. This part of the design process can be frustrating and time consuming, but for me also an enjoyable time to explore, challenge and develop my knitwear range.
I had also been experimenting with buttons. Frustrated at not finding the perfect buttons for my knitwear I thought I'd attempt to make my own. After, oh I don't know how many attempts and using different materials I was happiest working with resin. And at last I could start adding buttons to my knitwear that reflected my style and achieve the result I wanted.
My Seashore Collection Buttons made from resin and grains of sand from different beaches, each beach having it's own colour distinction.
Now everything was starting to come together, all the time and effort and frustrations were starting to pay off and my summer Seashore Collection was now a realisation. With my mesh lace and hand crafted buttons I felt that I had managed to incorporate my mood board into a new stylish knitwear collection.
Colours reflecting the washed up finds on a seashore.
Knitted in a lovely soft cotton that's machine washable (I'd ticked another box that I wanted to achieve). Yes, I believe you can be stylish and practical too. My new Seashore Collection - summer is now online the perfect wear for all of the year.
Imagine strolling on the beach or just needing an elegant cover up on a chilly evening. This Seashore asymmetric poncho, with it's mesh lace panelling and decorated with one of my hand crafted buttons, is that perfect wardrobe staple that's so versatile and comfortable you wondered how you could live without it! Matched up with my Seashore infinity scarf decorated with one of my hand crafted buttons too (each piece is labelled with which beach the grains of sand came from for the button).
Designing and knitting isn't the end of the process! Then comes the photo shoot, oh dearie me, that can be difficult. Time constraints, weather and my lack of modelling prowess is limiting AND just to add insult to injury the only decent day we had in a long time was a very breezy day. This meant I had to put stones on the bottom of the mannequin stand to stop it blowing over! Poor Mark from Mark Appleton Photography really had his work cut out.
Windy conditions for the photo shoot!
From an inkling of an idea to going through lots of processes over a period of time, a piece of knitwear is born that's unique and stylish, yet so comfortable and practical to wear.
Elizabeth Larsen Knitwear Seashore ponchos and Seashore infinity scarves
are available in a selection of colours.