Monday, 30 November 2015

Vintage Girl Gang - Claire ReInkOurNation

Girl Gang Monday's began because of a lack of "gangness" in my life. I know lots of creative, independent, strong women on a one-to-one basis and thought it was about time we started celebrating each other and our vintage inspired lives.

We've had Gwen, Rosie, Jill and now I'm about to induct Claire! 

I first knew of Claire about four years ago when we both worked at a local arts event - she was painting a piano and I was hosting the "street art tent"... Yes. Street. Art. 

I met her son who was a beautiful free spirit who created some artwork on my stand. I watched Claire develop the piano throughout the day and loved what was unfolding. 

The following year I invited Claire to host a stall at my first big art festival. She works under the name ReInkOurNation and was blogging and Facebooking her work, so I knew it would work well in the setting. It turns out it was her first market-type event and she sold loads! I was chuffed for her and soon became a big advocate of her talent, inviting her to further events I was managing and commissioning her for wedding gifts. 

Made for my friend's wedding, when I was a bridesmaid

Made for the same friend's 30th birthday - she now has a small collection!

For my 30th birthday, Claire rocked up with a gift that looked like a small surf board (I was pregnant so this was a perfectly feasible present for a baby?) Once I opened it I was moved to tears to find she'd made a sign for our home! Her and Mr Pigeon had been secretly conversing behind my back, to come up with Pigeon Villa (hence the blog title). This is one of my proudest possessions, still!

Claire has always looked ethereal and has a specific style of her own. When her and her fella asked me to be a guest at their wedding, I couldn't wait to see what they'd do! A woodland wedding with it's reception at (once again, my favourite place, which seemingly gets a mention in every post) Cafe Indie!

Which leads me nicely onto our vintage chat and why Claire is a fully initiated Girl Gang Monday member:

Tell me more about THE dress!
My most memorable vintage buy has to be my wedding dress. I came across it in the window of a charity shop and literally did a double take as I walked by. It was early morning, I'd just walked my son to school and the charity shop wasn't open yet. I wasn't letting that dress out of my sight. I stood on guard outside the door waiting for the staff to arrive and open up, ready to elbow any other wannabe wedding dress buyers out of the way, eyeing up everyone that walked by ready to proclaim 'I was here first!' A twenty minute wait and £10.00 later and the dress of my dreams was mine. I only had to wait another two years to meet the man of my dreams and a further five years to marry him.

This dress wowed everyone on the day and beyond. No-one quite believes it was only ten quid!

Let's talk vintage muses 
I adore Audrey Hepburn's style, in and out of movies. So minimal and so chic. And also so totally in contrast to the kind of clothes I actually buy and wear. 

One can but dream. For more realistic muses I look to bloggers. What I love about bloggers is, generally, they're just ordinary girls like you and me who have gone through a journey of learning what styles suit them, what doesn't, evolving as they've gone along. They've made mistakes. They've learned from them. And they've documented it all. 
My faves would be Rebecca of A Clothes Horse who mixes vintage and new so seemlessly. 

Kerry of Yours Truly, x who sadly no longer blogs, for a sixties, mod kind of vibe.

Louise of Pandora for her ethereal seventies styling. 

And I've just discovered and fallen a little in love with Alix of The Cherry Blossom Girl

You've got a good mix of muses, but when did the vintage "thing" start for you?
I don't think there was a specific point when I got into vintage. It was more a gradual change, a slow process in which my tastes evolved from wanting everything shiny and new and straight *shudders* off a supermarket shelf (yes, there was such a time in my life) to waking up one morning and realising my wardrobe is full of 1970's florals and my bedroom resembles a little old lady's. I like to choose vintage because whatever it is, from a battered tin to a beautiful gown, it has a story to tell, secrets it keeps and a different feel to new, a feeling of having been lived in by other souls and of soaking a little of that up.

Do you remember your first vintage purchase?
It was a bright purple 1970s floral bedsheet set. I'd never seen anything so absurdly beautiful. My mum literally groaned when she saw it - apparently she'd had wallpaper just like it as a child. My mind was blown - wallpaper existed like this too! I've always intended to chop it up to create curtains, a skirt, a dress and myriad other absurdly bright, beautiful purple items but somehow have never quite managed to take the scissors to it.

Knowing you, I know you choose vintage over high street and more "conventional" purchase. Why is that?
I am far from having a purely vintage wardrobe, I'd say it's split 50/50 modern/vintage as I like to mix and match styles but there is a definite appeal to vintage in that there's pretty much no chance of anyone having the same thing as many vintage items were handmade or not made in such mass produced numbers as today. With vintage, uniqueness pretty much comes as part of the package and there is a thrill in knowing I'm the only one that has that dress, or skirt, or those pair of earrings.

Finally, where do you shop?
My shopping is split into three distinct groups. Online, charity and vintage fairs. I'm a sucker for Miss P and her shop and she regularly skints me (it's the 70s floral print fabrics - I just can't resist them). Most of my vintage clothing comes from a combination of my favourite online boutique Fancytreehouse who sells a mixture of old, new and quirky which is so enjoyable to sift through and buying from favourite bloggers, like A Clothes Horse, when they have a closet clearout. The lovely thing about buying from a blogger is generally ideas for a variety of ways to style the item come as part of the package and I'll be able to see just how wearable the item is before I purchase it. And as for charity shopping; I just can't resist a good bargain and a good rummage and that joy that comes from finding a treasure amongst the tat.

Claire is a dream boat when it comes to her relaxed take on almost everything in the world. She's so "chill" and creative, which is why I find her an inspiration when it comes to making my own work and wanting to supply her with the tools to make more artwork and products to sell. Be sure to follow ReInkOurNation on Facebook, instagram and blogger for further updates on her creations, countryside meanderings and outfits of the day :)

Claire, you're gorgeous and you're an incredible Mumma-ReInk. Your red lipstick stripes are to be shown off proudly, as you grow in yourself and IN yourself.
If you'd like to join our Girl Gang, please get in touch with Miss P for details on how to sign up:

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