It should be illigal to have this much fun with a hot glue gun…

Making a totally hand-made wedding, all by yourself, when it’s your wedding, may seen like a monumental task, but I can’t tell you how much I absolutely adored every moment!

It was really important to me not to waste anything, before and after the wedding and to up-cycle where possible (ex. collecting the jars for the vases). We wanted to be as conscious and ethical as possible from our decoration to our caterers. We had a totally vegan meal, which exception to the wedding cake, and bought all bamboo dishes and even bamboo straws, which everyone took home as gifts.

I love going to the markets in Saigon, the craft market in particular. I wanted to make “ART” hats for the Photo Booth, and decided on the culturally appropriate Vietnamese Conical hat to use as a base (there were also glasses to match). I found it magical how I’d have an idea, like, a fruit basket hat — they go to the market and find a glass jar full to the rim with plastic fruits and veggies… buy the lot,spending a fiver, and enjoy contructing the base then adding the toppings!

Here are the hats:

  1. Pom-Pom Perfect (so nice to squeeze)
  2. Mirror Head – kids and adult sizes gold/silver
  3. Granny’s Garden
  4. Birds on the Mekong
  5. Fruits and Veggies

The ceramic money-cats were attached to a carabiner (my husband is really into climbing) and were used to clip onto each champagne glass so they wouldn’t get mixed up (there were 9 different guys). I bought them months before the wedding, not knowing what they would be used for.. but were perfectly paired in the end.

The place settings came from a Banyan tree growing at the venue, which was being pruned.. I collected as much wood I could fit on my bike, dried them for a few months, then brought them to a carpenter who sliced them up. I painted them my favourite dark blue then Melody, by beautiful hand-writing friend, wrote the names in gold.

Another running theme was the “Mirror Balls”  which I would reflect the lights at night … both from the vases on the table and from above.  I actually constructed 7 medium to large ball using styrofoam balls as the base…  the small ones I found.  I made the seating plans, Lys and Ben sign, and bar menu with the cut mirror squares, which all sparkled magically.

The shoes, wow… so they took me around 10 hours of hot gluing each tiny crystal piece onto a quite worn pair of shoes I’ve had for years — upcycling at its finest! I loved the way they turned out, and can’t wait to see the professional photographs.

I can’t explain how satisfying the process of laying awake at night, brainstorming ideas, going to the many markets hunting out the materials, therapeutically assembling the pieces, seeing the finished product, and then, on the night, sitting back and seeing your vision realized. I wouldn’t change a single detail and am completly thankful for having the oppertunity to share my creativity with my nearest and dearest.



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Wedding & Visual Communication

Wedding Logo

Again, I approached the design, like a brand – more personal, but with a unique mold, which I could apply each element towards. The idea of a postage stamp was the platform, which the RSVP postcards evolved from.


After dinner invites
Photo Booth Design
70 – Hand-Painted wedding invites

The’ Thao Dien Village’, where we got married, is encompassed by frangipani trees, which I’d many a day, gaze upward at, enjoying the contrast of the blue sky with the white flowers with the complementary green leaves and yellow highlights.

On each painting, I wrote “Home is wherever I’m with you” … which was sung by our wedding band on the day.

To try to limit the number of questions (which did and didn’t work) of having 50 overseas guests visiting, I created a wedding guide, with a map, which I made into a PDF which could be accessed on any smart phone.

The biggest challenge I had with visiting guest, was the number of people who just did not read any of the information provided, and would instead directly message me… at any given point of the day I had 7-10 whatsapp message to answer — that was my biggest challenge, managing family and friends questions!



Map of Thao Dien


As I prepared for every eventuality, providing as much visual communication as possible, you can’t prepare for people not reading or looking, who instead, will just ask… to the point where, after sending the final email to our guest, one friend ask us to simply tell him what it says, as he’s too busy to read it, ha!


it’s been a while

My computer is actually dusty..

Captains log, Dec 21st 2017, the last entry before the new world, well that’s a bit dramatic, last entry before Christmas, before New Years, before my birthday, but mostly, before my wedding – mini moon – honeymoon.. settling into home/routine, again.

I wrote my tutor an email before Christmas, explaining I wasn’t going to apply for the recent assessment, alleviating some of the pressures I had been putting on myself.

I developed my wedding no differently to how I’d approach any creative journey, anything I do in my life, with conscious delicacy based on personal meaning. Because our last living Grandparents couldn’t come to Vietnam, they are in their 90’s, Ben and I had our civil ceremony in Vancouver, based on the Pagan ritual of hand-fasting — binding our hands with an antique length of lace.

Alyssa & Ben - 28APR17 - 049_preview
Hand-Fasting / Civil Ceremony

After the ceremony, I went downstairs to where my Nonnie stored her wedding gown, which she lent to me to wear, for our wedding in Vietnam. The length of lace used to bind our hands, I intended to see into the long train (it took me hours hand-stitching each small gap). The hand sewing was so therapeutic and meditative, the attention both in the moment, and the exact placement of each stitch carried an intentions of love;  the love I have for my Nonnie and her past, the life and beauty of the antique dress, and the mark of change, in the now, making it my own (although I do have to return it to her).

My Nonno holding us my Nonnie’s wedding gown to see if I’d like it!


WhatsApp Image 2018-01-10 at 10.06.06

Studying the Textile portion of this course, referring back to my own personal work I do with bespoke fabric painting, including everything else this course has taught, from visual communications, photography, creative writing, and contemporary art – my wedding was an expression of what I have learnt this past year.

I look forward sharing my months of creative wedding development as a part of my life and the OCA coursework in the following blog postings.

Research Point – Digital Printing on textiles

The research point asked to take a look at Mary Katrantzou’s work, looking at an article in style magazine and answer a few questions regarding the article. The article is no longer accessible; [accessed 03/03/14]

What do you make of the article’s reference to ‘the room on the woman’ and ‘the woman in the room’?

I have instead decided to you my own research into a different designer, who I love, the label is called The Age of Reason, by ALI MAPLETOFT.

Age of reason is based in Brighton, we’re I found them after my friend raved about their scarves. It was only until today that I spent the morning reading through all of their blog postings and mission statements, that I began to fall further in love with them. The designs are fierce, strong, and uncompromised, whilst remaining ethical, environmentally sound, supporting British industry and celebrating women of every age and distinction, highlighting uniqueness and individual beauty.

Here’s how Ali explains her company:

It’s a design company with an anti-sweatshop ethos. It’s all about making fun, playful prints – cushions, scarves, womenswear – in a way that’s ethically sustainable. We’re not exploiting anyone. There are no children working on it. We’re trying to do as much as we can in the UK and we source as many sustainable products as possible. We use wool to stuff our cushions that comes from Orkney sheep that eat seaweed! They’re the most sustainable sheep in Britain, apparently. We also believe in inclusivity and sharing. We’ll share our supplier details with anyone who wants to know. If a university student wants to know, we’ll tell them. If another brand wants to know, we’ll tell them, because we believe in moving that ethical community forward. Some people view that as sharing trade secrets, but that’s not the secret. The secret is the creativity. That’s the bit that’s important. We also believe in helping women, which is why we use older models, street-cast models and models.


Reading through their process, I was inspired by their transparency. Ali writes about wanting to share her manufacturers details, sharing the love, by not keeping any secrets from those who perhaps would like to produce their own designs. She walks through her steps from initial ideas, onto sketches, collage, then digital rendering, ready for print. You can appreciate the time and talent it takes her, true artistry, vision and style.

What I learnt is digital printing is very eco-friendly as there is no ink wastage which can pollute the water.  I’ve always been a keep supporter of natural dyes, but they are not suitable for garment manufacturing as the colours fade and run.  You need a chemical mordant to set the colours, which as harmful and toxic to both the environment and person. A lot of water is needed to rinse or boil off dye resists such as bees-wax or otherwise. There are traditional practices which with the right environment, such as in Japan where they use the local mud and rivers to create and wash dyes, on an industrial scale, this type, or any type of dyeing pollutes or uses a lot of water.

Digital printing is a way for artists/ designers to produce large-scale work (135cm x 135cm) + onto silk  or cotton with little impact on the earth. The colours are so vivid, and allows for grades of shades and tones, which previously would be impossible with block printing techniques, used in industrial printing. You would have to layer your colour to create form, with digital printing, you can be more creative, with more ease and accurate results.

I hand-paint fabric, it’s what I love to do, creating one of a kind works of art, never to be replicated. I love the way the age of reason keeps the integrity of its work, but creating a limited number of scarves. Instead of mass production, churning them out, they make sure what you are buying is as special as can be.

Ali says this about Fast Fashion

I’m really excited about how fashion is changing, with more emphasis on individuality and less on trends and seasons. People used to think of sustainable fashion as beige and boring. That’s changed so much, and it’s great to be a part of the movement.

Ali put women artist and designers on pedestals by promoting them in England and America, as well as being sure she contributes 10% of everything she sells to the charity called Womankind Worldwide. It’s about empowering women globally.

If I could choose a mentor, it would be Ali Mapletoft.

Research Point – Fashion Images

Here is my Pinterest Board of Fashion Images I am drawn to, looking at iconic photographers such as Irving Penn, Annie Leibovitz, Richard Avedon, David Lachapelle, and designers such as Dior, Gaultier, and Versace.

I’ve tried to vary my searches by time – era, Vintage, Classic, Designer, Art, Couture, Iconic, Modern —  basically what I am drawn to, trying to look at Silhouettes, Volume, Drape, Movement, and Colour.  I wanted to steer away from the obvious but I do love Gaultier’s Saints 2007, and Dior Classic dresses.

Palimpsest in Textiles

Pal-imp-sest: a parchment or tablet, reused after earlier writing has been erased (Oxford Dictionary)


Palimpsest — A compounding of designs, layers of creation, like sedementary rocks, they tell a story of time. This is perhaps my new favourite term, especially when looking at it in terms of Architecture, or indeed Textiles, which we’ve been asked to do in this research.

In searching for examples of Palimpsest, I came across this explanation in the Thesis by Robbert Verheij, on Architectural Palimpsest. ¹

It is a metaphor to suggest the processes of transformation through time. Phenomena occurring in the world around us constantly change and evolve, but at the same time they leave inscriptions and traces.


Palimpsest for me us conversation between the old and new, traditions and modernity, generation differences in aesthetics, all talking about the same thing, only use different vocabularies.


Reading through the pages 68-70 (PLACE) Totes Haus ur by Gregor Schneider, 2001 (an uninhabited apartment, with hidden doors, and light coming in through dark window, shifting out perception of room, and safe places) I reminded of the main characters explanation of making of quilts in the book “Alias Grace” by Margrete Atwood,   The idea of a bed, made beautiful, adorned with a handmade quilt, is a beautiful place, where we rest, love, sleep, and dream. It can also be a sinister place, where woman give birth, where you are ill, and where you often die.

We often look at textiles in a warm, comforting way,  a place to hide away, to be safe, but this isn’t always the case.




In a more positive light,  Palimpsest in quilts, often past down through generation, tell a story through cloth. A torn piece of a flag, a mothers hankerchief, a corner of a favourite dress, or a piece of a baby blanket, all composed to create a tapestry of history, telling a story of each generation. It was not uncommon, in early American culture, for quilts to reflect a mosaic of a woman’s life, often including swatches of material from memorable events such as pieces of a wedding gown or a child’s baptismal garment ² and were often mentioned in a will, past down from generation to generation.

Another beautiful textile Palimpsest is Kantha Quilts made from layers of Sari materials and hand-sewn running stitches.



And of course there is the utterly wonderful and my favourite textiles in the world. The Japanese Boro, made very similarly to the Kantha quilt, with simple parallel running stitched binding worn and old indigo cloth, constantly mending it over and over with more and more patches, until, it consists only of patches.



In summary, the whole idea of Palimpsest in textiles, is to keep, mend/ make / add to, and pass so future generations can remember and re-tell the story.

Life is made of layers of time, represented in fabric mended together by memories.


  1. Robbert Verheij,  Architectural Palimpsest.Graduation thesis Faculty of Architecture Delft University of Technology pg. 12.


  2. Quilts, available at [29-11-17]

Christian Boltanski’s 2010 installation Personnes, at the Grand Palais, Paris

Research Point


  • You’ll see that, in addition to the garments, the noise of heartbeats permeates the exhibition. Why do you think this might be?

Laura Cummings writes for the Guardian on Christian Boltanski “Personnes”

The austerity of the scene is overwhelming, compounded by the booming heartbeats that seem to emit from nowhere and yet all around – time being measured out by human life.

It’s not clear whether this is a graveyard of empty clothes, or a camp or spirits, but revising the title “Personnes” which means in French Person, but also holds a turn of phrase when used, “Nobody.”

The Heartbeat echos and is felt in the living. Is it a question of us all being one, and nobody, a joining of rhythms, a common beat?

Perhaps is a question of anti-physical, nobody, but a sound.

Boltanski’s talks of the Hand of God, in his interview, and how the few a chosen daily, by chance, or will, to die. There is no rhythm, no reason, no answer.

  • To what extent are the textiles transformed into something other than fabric?

The formation, or shape, on the clothes laid on the floor, creates a sense of organization, human organization, of a camp, or marching soldiers, even and distributed. The shape of the mountain, monumentally overshadowing the camps of clothes below, is symbolic of a higher power, a pyramid, a hierarchy, a tip, pointing upwards.

Each garment is treated individually, they are laid out, instead on bundled haphazardly on the floor.  The claw which collects the clothes, let’s them go, in a way which you can see each one fall, like leaves.

The idea on Momento-Mori,  materialism and ownership, which represented an individual’s life, is very prevalent in this piece. Each one of those thousands of garments was once worn by someone, it is not clear if that person is still living, but it does remind you of accumulation of one times one times one, equals indefinite numbers.

  • What’s the significance of the installation title – and of the mechanical grabber?

Personnes in French means No-one, and the mechanical grabber is the hand of God, randomly choosing clothes, or someone, or no one.

  • What associations does this work conjure up in your mind

It reminds me on concentration camps in Germany, the mass graves, the order, the senseless killing, a hierarchy a white supremacy choosing without consideration, who will die.


Christian Boltanski, Guradian, written by Laura Cummings available at [22-11-17]

Christian Boltanski, Youtube, available at [22-11-17]

Exercise 1 What function does Straub’s textile serve?

Straub’s designs were hand-made first on a loom, and then made to industrialised standards through machine manufacturing. I believe that this hand-made development created a more humane design, through slow design practices, which has not only pleasing colour palettes, but calming simple repeat patterns.

You could say that Straub’s designs are quintessentially British, which brought forth respect and sense of pride, you couldn’t help but appreciate, and therefore not vandalise (perhaps).

Straub’s textiles are not only strong and durable to withstand commuters, gum, dirt and other bodily fluids, the print served as a way of communication, creating unity in the transport department.

There was a certain print for the routemaster, underground, and train system, and even aircrafts, which created an identity by which passengers feel united, without consciously being aware.

The pride of Britain, in its transport system (TFL) had become an emblem of England, as soon as you see a red double-decker, you think of London. Every good brand has not only a font, a logo, a colour, but also a feeling. The fact that Straub, one person, created all of the prints, kept the transport brand tied together. Although the prints were are all different, they were made by the same person, the same slow considered design, hand crafted on a loom, and influenced by a strong school of design, the Bauhaus.

The Bauhaus was founded with the idea of creating a “total” work of art (Gesamtkunstwerk) in which all arts, including architecture, would eventually be brought together. It is no wonder Straub’s designs work so well to create the same “total” feeling on the TFL.

Looking through google images, you see umbrella’s, pillows and cushions, made from Straub’s designs. They automatically feel out-of-place, but do make you reminisce of a daily commute, even if it was tedious, for some reason, they still make you happy.

These hand-woven designs, were made to make everyday people feel content even during long journeys. It is incredible how timeless they are. The colour palettes are well thought-out, the pattern,  whether geometric or organic, all have serve a human purpose, of which includes movement and distance, comfort and securty, pride and indentity.

Marianne Straub — Moquette textile 1970


Textile Pattern design creates an identity, whether is be Mulberry plaid, Liberty Prints, or for seating on public transport. The repeating pattern and colour may look different from up-close to far-away, with smaller details blending in and altering the perception of colours. They also hold a sense of time, an era; 60’s flower power, 70’s geometric shouting squares, 80’s neon shapes,etc..

The Moquette Design, up close, looks wild — you’d never imagine conservative transport agency choosing such bright colours, and defined patterns, but when you see them on a whole,,seat next to seat, row after row, you realize the positive effect they have on an otherwise dreary tube line.

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec — Clouds

TEMPORARY or PERMANENT — could be either, remain in a place long-term, but also due to it’s easily assembled/dissembled design it could be temporary.
LARGE SCALE or SMALL SCALE – could be either by fitting in a normal sized house/room or covering a whole warm of an office building.
TRANSFORMING and/or DEFINING — the clouds can transform a room through division or through feeling, rounding the edges, creating soft, cushioning feel
PATTERN and/or COLOUR and/or REPETITION and/or SHAPE — the clouds do all these, through patter and simple use of colour the repetition of the adjoining shapes create larger installations, which are versatile, and impermanent.