Pearls & Swine, in the beginning…..
Pearls & Swine is my accessory business proudly based in the UK, West Yorkshire, fueled by coffee, big dreams and an addiction to creating.
In mid 2005 i was a carer looking after disabled, elderly and terminally ill people. I guess the latter where the most inspiring, i looked after people with terminal cancer who were given a few days to live and somehow they had the most incredible effect on my life. They were such brave, kind, strong people with the biggest determination to live! They would fight to the very end and i realized that life is short and i wanted to do more with mine! I had turned 30 that year and i felt unfulfilled as i had always envisioned being self employed. Terminal care work was magical, rewarding but heartbreaking, i was the last person who would ever meet these people before they left this world and i keep them all in my heart wherever i go. I have the words “We Love and Die Because We Must” tattooed on my lower back in memory of them.
So Pearls & Swine evolved and developed over several years, it all began with a SCARF! As i knitted it the Gates of Reluctance which had kept my dreaded creativity at bay were opened and i was never able to shut them again. Each idea, each creation is a step on a journey…. each day has been a lesson which has resulted in what you see now!
This was the 1st mini beret i ever knitted, you will see others have since made knitted mini berets but i was the 1st that i know of to do so. And it came about quite by accident really. I wanted to knit a flower to decorate the scarf but it turned out as a circle, small and flat. That mistake was a seed that grew into the rest of my life! For some reason i ended up popping it on my head and the rest is history….
I began creating mini tops hats out of fine mesh wire and stretching velvet fabric over them. This was in the days before everyone was doing mini top hats to death. I didn’t really know much about the burlesque scene, i think i came across the movie “Moulin Rouge” and Dita Von Teese quite by accident. I am sort of inclined to soak up the influence and creative atmosphere around me. I was really into the goth look at that time and into clubbing on the goth scene. I used dressing up as a escape from the work i was doing, it was the polar opposite of my day to day life in which i was helping people who were very ill. I loved the glamour of it and tapping into the part of my personality and character that had to be kept alive in spite of working in very intense circumstances.
I made a million mistakes, set up a business then left, worked under a couple names as i was finding my identity as a creative. I sold my work on Brick Lane in London for a few months and the words “Pearls and swine” left my lips on many occasions. I like the ying yang of it plus i had been raised in a extreme religion so i guess it was a bit of a nod at that. It has to do with not being understood in a world which is very keen on conforming and accepting that that is ok, i don’t have to do things the way everyone else does. If i value what i do and who i am that is all that matters!
So i moved from London to West Yorkshire, to the house which i have shown and cloistered myself away to create nonstop for the past few years. I guess the love affair i have with art and creating wearable art grows a bit more every day! My range has developed at a faster pace than i can keep up with, my work is worn by people from all over the world and stocked in several exclusive boutiques in the UK and Europe.
Pearls & Swine is known for it’s quirky accessories which get a huge reaction when worn including Half Mask Fascinators, Giant Cherries Hairbands, glitter fascinators, bird cage veils, shoe clips, vintage inspired hair accessories, flower hair clips, burlesque fashion and 1950’s rockabilly hats, burlesque accessories, Rockabilly, bridal, vintage Inspired millinery, wedding, bride, kitsch hair accessories, shoe clips, bespoke headwear, glitter fascinators, masks and vintage style hats…. the list goes on!
The more wild and fabulous the better! However i am equally able to create more conservative accessories, i have created many fabulous fascinators for brides, mothers of the bride, ladies who go to Ladies Day at Ascot and the Races, Proms, burlesque performers etc. I have also created props for burlesque performers along with my partner Trafford Parsons who is an artist.
I have recently split my business in 2, i now have a burlesque range called Temptress of Waikiki.
This range includes nipple pasties, nipple tassels and customized c-strings! I also offer a bespoke service so whatever your hearts desire in terms of burlesque fashion and lingerie i am here to make it happen. Those who wear my work comment on how unique and well made it is as i am something of a perfectionist who needs to be the best at what i do!
2012 is going to be an interesting year…. i have many ideas i still need to explore so watch this space…. if you like what you see now it’s only going to get better! Happy New Year….