During Fringe we can often forget about the aspects of Edinburgh that make it a cultural destination by itself. One of these artistic elements is textile and craft and as part of Craft Scotland Summer Show Workshops, fashion designer Emily Millichip is teaching the art of hand-appliqué. The result — a pair of bespoke tropical flower earrings that I shall wear come rain or shine.
I’ve learned a skill I will use for many years to come.
As someone who is used to craftwork I expected the process to be relatively simple, but like most things in life, the reality came as a shock. After selecting my fabrics — I went for bronze metallic leather, fuchsia felt and neon green satin tassels — I began the task of making. What was great about taking the class, rather than watching a YouTube video, is that Emily was able to offer tips of the trade and hands-on help to make the process easier — everything from the best glues to which butterflies will work with the weight of your earring.
Tassel-making took a couple of practises but within a no time at all, two 70s-style earring tassels, with a modern twist, were born. It was the fusing of the leather onto felt that posed the biggest challenge. After one failed attempt, the second try was victorious as I pressed the hot iron onto the fabrics. Next was a simple process of cutting out tropical shapes before attaching them together and fastening with earring posts.
Waiting for the glue to dry, I looked down at what I’d created in disbelief. The sheer concentration made the hours disappear like the sands of time. The workspace venue offered us a hot beverage and it was a chance to admire the other craftpeople’s work. Feeling inspired, and with time to spare, I was able to make a second smaller pair — no tassels — in just 20 minutes. Emily looked chuffed with the fruits of our labours, and she should be. Not only has she brought the tropical heat to my temperamental British summertime and expanded my creative mind, but I’ve learned a skill I will use for many years to come.