Doll Photography: Mark Mortensen
Working photos: Leslie
When creating my Hats, I choose my theme and then research the look..the feel of what ever I am interpreting. I study it with thoughtfulness.
For Peony, it is the variance in color, the dance of the petals surrounding the middle stamens all springing to life, the overall shape and size.
I wanted the color to be floaty..almost transparent. To do this I needed to hand dye white silk.
I drew out the shapes and then used a hand mixed silk dye (Procion). I then, painted on the color onto the damp silk. I love the way it gently drinks into the fabric.
Next, I decided to sew these petals together backing them with a pinky-peach tone dupioni that is stabilized.
Here sewn, turned and pressed.
I then stepped back and observed the clustering of the petals. I decided to steam press them into this curved shape...this creates the movement...the dance!
I chose black as the base of the hat so the Peony was able to hold all the attention. I quilted the silk -linen fabric of the hat base. Note the silk linen with the striated weave is enhanced by the quilting. I love this fabric with its course stiff feel opposed the the softness of the silk flower.
I like to hold a surprise to the viewer within the interior of my hats...so I used the printed silk brocade that holds the Peony blossom in sisterhood.
Peony in place crowning the hat. Initially, I had no stamens in the middle but it so needed just a bright pop of color..the yellow did it. I had to cut the stamens and place each on in my hand to get the right fullness and flutter.
It was the placement of the Peony on top of the hat. I chose to an asymmetrical positioning. I believe this gives the flower itself a carefree look to it, like the "real" flowers that bounce upon the branches of the bush.
The final touch was the leaves from dupioni, placed in a breezy fashion off the flower blossom.
Peony is known as 牡丹 (mǔdān) in Chinese and is the king of flowers. The Peony symbolizes compassion, good fortune, feminine beauty, and peace.
For me Peony, was years in the making to be created as she was meant to be soft and feminine with a sense of lightness...delicate peace.
My hope is that series on Peony brought you an understanding of my work and a smile to your heart.