Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Story Behind Our Collections - Leilalou

One of the key ingredients in the blend of Sisters Guild is to be able to support new designers in the world of childhood and home. Whilst we house established names that have become synonymous with great design and have already become a constitution of creativity and wonder, we search for those that are new to our eyes. Designers that fulfill an idea we have that we may flaunt through our boutique; an idea sprung from the contagious imaginings of our children and a desire to house collections that may become the classics of our new blossoming generation. Creators that bring to us beautiful craftsmanship, innovative ideas and pieces that encourage children's imaginative play.
As a cottage industry ourselves; two full time mamas who want to stoke the fire of creativity and unfold peoples imagination, we want others to grow alongside us too. As we grow we hope to become a platform for new-sprung  talent and intriguers of design and creativity.

When we discovered Leilalou we were overwhelmed by its simplistic beauty. The Russian doll like shape, the colour, the delicate detail is one that we couldn't wait to hold; a talent we wanted to show to the world and share with others.
Leilalou heeds the wishes of little children who want to share their world with a friend. A collection of little linen dolls perfect for little hands to hold. A companion for adventure and play.

In each piece you can see a unique character and in that a story. My daughter Sophia brings them to life with theatrical tales of their lives, imagined through their features and fictional characters she ascribes; 'Tallulah' a beautifully stitched Indian doll is a peace loving girl who dances to gentle drum rhythm and who is overseen by the watchful guardians of mythical Indian gods, 'Chloe' speaks French and is only interested in the very best fashion and hates to get mucky, 'Olivia' is an urban rabbit dressed in her finest and knows of a thousand recipes for carrots and lettuce. It is Olivia who often serves the tea at parties!

Oona (my younger daughter) carrys, holds and hugs her own favourite. Absentmindedly playing with 'Nicoles' little pink ears and serving her tea. She is the one friend she insists on sharing her bed with and I wonder as I tuck them both in at night if she also shares her dreams.

The collection is created using Irish, French, Lithuanian and Japanese linen with mixes of cotton and rosebud fabrics, their characters embellished with felt wool and ribbon and often with contrasting fabric to the back. Each character is unique. Hand made with love and an appreciation of aesthetics that are pleasing for children with an obvious understanding of a child's imagination.

The creator, Lesley, has a talent for successfully creating recipes.  A professional chef who upon moving to France grew a garden full of fresh herbs, so full in fact that her family couldn't eat enough of them. Lesley made a scented bag using the otherwise wasted herbs and found a new passion. It began with heart appliqued bags and cushion covers and then with the arrival of her own children, perhaps the most inspiring time of a woman's life,  she ventured into the world of childhood and has been creating linen dolls for children all over the world since.

Lesley has since discovered a love of the 'therapeutic nature of hand embroidery' and with each new creation has developed new talents for felt making, knitting, fabric stenciling and more recently screen printing.
Taking inspiration from the treasures around her; trailing junk shops and markets sourcing pieces for her sewing box, and with what seems like a constant flurry of new found talents through an ever growing desire to learn and create we know Lesley's talents are an adventure worth watching

I get so excited when a new arrival of Leilalou dolls arrive. Its a mixture of the packaging with the pretty french stamps atop and my imaginings of Lesley in the little French village in which she lives slowly, lovingly bringing linen to life with the characters in her mind.

The leilalou doll's are made with such soft linen and cottons they feel wonderful to cuddle against your skin, the soft palette of colours enhance its innocence of design. Created to be adored, they make beautiful gifts for young children and babies.

I am so proud and completely overwhelmed by the arrival of 'Sophia' and 'Oona' to the boutique too. Designed upon my own two daughters inspired by our blog discovering fairies. Not only has she a talent to create but an eye for character too as Lesley captured their personalities perfectly describing Oona as a woodland imp and bringing them to life so beautifully. The girls were utterly amazed and can't believe they have their own little dolls. Now 'Sophia' and 'Tallulah' have become quite the pair and 'Oona' and 'Nicole' are tucked in either side of Oona at night.

I know that these Russian doll shaped, perfectly prized possessions will be adored for years to come. Their tales theatrically re-enacted on bedroom floors, they will enjoy thousands of tea parties, share millions of memories, have their ears nibbled and drooled upon, be hugged, be loved and childhood secrets will be whispered in their ears.

They are the perfect company for little hands and when one day my children leave the nest that is our home I will ask that 'Sophia' and 'Oona' continue to live here to keep their beds warm.

This is part of our series of blogs where we share the story behind our collections; because the collections and their creators mean so much to us here at Sisters Guild we want to pass the story on.

We bring a new blog each day; other series of blogs include our 'Monday Makery' with ideas and 'how to's'  to make and bake with all the family, Wednesday we woo you with our favourite pieces from the boutique and its new arrivals, Thursday is all about the art of living; discovering places and sharing new treasures and Friday we bring you the 'A-Z of Sisters Guild' a collection of pictures that convey the life behind the boutique

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