How do you get from the Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens to  a  beautiful and unusual hat?

First, research and a visit, on  a bright but very chilly morning,to  the Princess of Wales Conservatory.

Then, the flowers!079

Countless thousands of orchids forming columns and arches, bowers and canopies as far as the eye could see.  As soon as I saw one perfect colour and pattern and rushed towards it,  I was distracted by yet another exquisite example above, beside or below my line of vision.

Sketchbook in hand with ipad under my arm and 084trying not to block the paths, I drew and snapped everything.  As soon as I decided that the primrose yellow and pale mauve orchid was my favourite, I spotted another that was fuschia purple and shocking pink …or white with violet speckles…or shades of and flame red tangerine…

I was delirious with colour,  stunned by the spectacle and overdosing on creative energy.  So many ideas to work on at home especially as I want to make a hat that captures the essence of the flowers rather than making a conventional hat and just trimming it with sprays of artificial orchids.

Next, the hard part! Experimenting with techniques 113and ways of looking at the flowers to find unusual and pleasing shapes, then selecting and  re-assembling them from different viewpoints to celebrate their unique qualities.

This is as far as I’ve got…three bespoke hats  to be finished by the end of March means I can work on the design in 3D using paper cut-outs but won’t be able to transform the ‘pattern’ into a beautiful and exotic hat till April in time for Ascot.

So watch out for Part 2

Orchid Festival – Kew Royal Gardens till 6th March.