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One of those things that strikes at the most inconvenient of times and is often AWOL when you really need it.

As you venture into making your creative hobby a business, you are forced to start contemplating things like “target markets” and “business aesthetic”. These are both horrific as far as I’m concerned and I’ve largely avoided them in the hope it would, kind of, sort itself out as the business developed. The problem is, if you want your business to develop and end up in the right place, you do have to give these things thought sooner than you’d really want to. As we approach the new year, I am once again mentally reviewing my business, thinking about what aims I have for the coming year, where I want the business to go, what I want to achieve… and I can’t really get away with ignoring the two big elephants in the room named “Target Market” and “Aesthetic” any more.

I’ve had chats with many of my fellow corsetières over this [particularly Jen of Wyte Phantom – Thanks Jen!]. Due to the nature of our business (specifically bespoke I feel) nailing down these things can be hard. When you spend so much of your time working towards breathing life into someone else’s imaginings, it’s hard to pin point what your own aesthetic is; none-the-less, identifying it is crucial if you want to end up making corsets you enjoy making. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where everyone only comes to you for ultra Goth corsets when you’d really much rather be making neon unicorn ones. What you want is people saying “I want a Neon Unicorn corset, I must get one from *insert corset maker name here*!”

This is where you link your aesthetic back to your inspiration. If you’re anything like me, you get your inspiration from pretty much everything (yeah thanks ADD), and if you flick through my sketch book there really doesn’t appear to be much of a coherent thought running through it.

However I have noticed that nature inspires me enough to make a physical item.

This inspiration is not as straight forward as making a corset and sticking some flowers on it (although yeah that too), but all things in nature.

Moody Corsetry Spring Bride - Model/Headdress/MUA: Alivya V Free (c)2016 Sarah Ann Wright Photography

Trees are a huge thing for me. I’ve always loved them since I was a kiddy walking in my local woods. I find them solid, reassuring, ancient, all seeing, but some times a bit creepy. Never changing but incredibly changeable at the same time. Love a good tree.

New Forest 2011

I am also inspired by the geometry in nature, the parallels, and the symmetrical. Colour combinations that sometimes appear and look amazing, but no one would have seriously thought to put those two colours together.

Animals inspire me – their colours, shapes, and sense of character you can get from them.

Dan Ransley Photography 2016

Landscapes. . . the sea. . . the night sky. . . cloud formations. . . rain.

Scotland 2013

Right now, my biggest inspiration is the way nature interacts with our man-made world: rain on a window, trees lining a wet road, or nature swallowing an old building. That juxtaposition of the inorganic and the organic. I can think of two pieces I have created where this inspiration is present.

Frost queen – My first ever photoshoot!

Frost Queen – Model: Lorraine Claridge-Whybrow, Makeup: Glitzy Flamingo, Photography: Simon Whybrow

And my Iceni Corset – made for OCOC15

Iceni Corset – Model: Gingerface, Photography: InaGlo Photography

Now I wrote a little inspiration post about the Iceni Corset for the OCOC blog [which can be found here if you’re interested]

In both these pieces, the corset and the more flowing chiffon fabrics have been applied to the underlying construction and they enhances the qualities of each component. I LOVE this combination! The solid structure of the corset being swallowed by the softer, more organic feeling fabric. Direct inspiration is from the sea swallowing a breakwater, or snow consuming a sculpture.

I’ve always been wary of verbally identifying my inspiration as a generic “Nature” because that’s neither general nor detailed enough for what I’m trying to get across. It automatically brings up the vision of corsets in nothing but floral prints. That’s not me. I thought perhaps “Organic” but that just puts me in the fruit and veg aisle of the supermarket.

I wouldn’t say I was or wasn’t one thing all the time. I’m not sunshine and fields of flowers all the time, and neither am I dark and brooding all the time… but nature can be both things with spring meadows and a vicious sea storm. I don’t want to narrow myself down to a very specific look and nature is glorious in it’s variety.

I don’t think I neatly fit into a specific clothing or scene “genre”; perhaps, my aesthetic is still a little vague but I think that’s OK for the moment.

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