In the spring of 2022, a long-standing client approached us for a gift for his brother, who is part of the Fortnum and Mason family. He wanted us to use the Eau de Nil blue synonymous with Fortnum’s. So, we carefully selected the Backing fabric, getting a piece custom dyed to get a perfect match. He also chose this beautiful kingfisher design, which again incorporates the blues. He also asked that as part of Fortnum’s plan, he wanted to be plastic-free.
In discussion with the client, we knew that we needed to keep the shine of the feathers but did not want to use plastic sequins or just thread paint it, so we worked several samples in various alternate materials.
We settled on the metallic leather hand-cut sequins; this allowed us to get the softness of the feathers without losing the shine. Each sequin was hand punched to the correct size and shape and similarly layered over each other to the feathers, but over several layers of wool felt padding to give shape. We finished him with thread-painted details, using monofilament silks in over 30 colours.
He took about three months to complete the work. It was finally ready for mounting the work over the calico onto an aluminium mount board with a foam interior. This board allows us to mount larger pieces than the card stock used for smaller pieces, which would twist and flex under the tension on larger pieces; it is also light enough to hang on a wall once framed.
The client was so impressed that he commissioned a second piece for his home. “Thank you for producing such a unique and delicate piece. My brother adored it and now has pride of place in their home. Finding something for my brother is hard, and you surpassed my expectations with this piece.”