I’m sure you’ve already deduced by now that I’m a massive fan of Karen Mabon’s incredible scarves. When I heard that she was going to be holding a full day Scarf Making Masterclass at The Hill Street Design House I did one of those 1980’s air punches. I’ve never designed a scarf before. But you can bet your bottom dollar I have about a thousand ideas for what I’d like to put on them!
After a really insightful talk from Karen about her process and background and a rake through her glorious selection of scarves for inspiration, it was time to get to business. As this was going to be a one off special scarf just for me I decided to go for something super kitsch and retro *surprise* haha! So I spent a while on Pinterest collating inspirational fodder for the theme I’d decided upon; the perfect night out. To me the old school phrases “‘You dancin’?’ ‘You askin’” and “backseat bingo” came to mind; I wanted to create a piece that was all about getting ready for the perfect night out on the town, because that is the most fun ever.
I found some amazing vintage illustrations of the iconic pin up gal Katie Keene from America’s Archie comics as a paper doll and decided that she would be perfect as my idol for the centre piece (because I didn’t fancy putting my mug on it for a change!) I illustrated her and a selection of outfits for her to choose from for a night on the tiles, then added in some vintage style cocktails and a whole lot of hairspray (because you need BOTH of those for a good night!!) This Happy Hair hairspray actually existed by the way; it hurts my soul that I cannot buy it anymore. Boo to boring product design! Anyway, to finish off the corners and complete the look, I took an excerpt from my favourite ever book finds: Joe Bonomo ‘How To Be A Good Dancer’ and traced out some steps for hitting the dance floor with. Being a true lady, I didn’t need to draw in the tall dark handsome dude that whisks her off come midnight, or the kebab she picked up on the way back home. Somethings need to be left to the imagination!
So, with all that fun material to hand, I was ready to put it all together and see the magic happen. I found it easiest to draw out each item, cut them out and play around with the layout on a giant sheet of paper. You need to work out a good amount of spacing between the items and take into consideration the blank space of the finished scarf. Sounds easy, but I found this a bit tricky as I’m not used to working in a rotating square! I really wanted to make it so that I could have a choice on the focal points when wearing the scarf, so I put the hairspray and footprints in diagonal corners meaning when I doubled it up It would be like two different looks. I know, I’m so clever heehee! From there I added in some confetti and atomic shapes to fill out the negative space and add in a little extra colour. Cutting out coloured paper and adding to your design at this stage makes the world of difference, I was super impressed with the effect.
At this stage, Karen photographed my giant sheet of paper, tweaked it in Photoshop to make it black and white and printed it out onto tracing paper for me. Because of the intricacy of my design, we knew there was going to be a lot of colours to pull together for the scarf and we needed to make it easier for her to work with. On the first print out I coloured in how I wanted it all to look using pens that were to hand. Using the second print out I needed to shade in each colour on the scarf on separate pieces of trace, so when layered up it would be ‘in full colour’. Meaning the first print out was all the black lines on the scarf, then on a blank sheet I would only colour in where the pinks would be, then on another sheet, only blues etc etc. This is a little time consuming (as you can see, I have like twelfty sheets of trace here!) but nothing worth doing is easy 😉
Happy days!! The next part of the process is in lovely Karen’s hands; she will be putting it all together for me using adobe illustrator, then when it’s done she’s going to email me an image of what the final piece will look like, just incase I have any last minute colour tweaks. Once we’re both happy, off to the printers she goes! I’m trying really hard not to get too excited just yet, because the printers will take a few weeks to turn around the job, and for me, being patient is a killer. At the moment all I have is my cute little trace to swoon upon; I really feel like I should stick it on the fridge for all to see! So, still a little more to share on this process, but I literally CAN. NOT. WAIT to share the ‘part two’ blog post. I see a night on the town happening to celebrate it in style!!
This experience has definitely got me dreaming up ideas for what I want to create next. A Twin Peaks scarf! A Mermaid scarf! An I Love Lucy scarf! Have you got any themes you’d like to see in silk? I’d love to hear them!
Keep your eyes peeled for the results … and happy accessorising!