Sarah's work captures the charisma and charm of vintage Hollywood, Busby Berkeley's dancing girls, Fred Astaire tap, tap, tapping and films such as 'The Greatest Show on Earth' (1952).
'Curious Pip' is peopled with trapeze artists wearing beaded tights, sequined mermaids and chorus line girls wearing feathered headdresses and Esther Williams smiles. You can't help but have your spirits lifted when you look at these pieces.
Sarah is a Bristol based textile artist and illustrator who originally trained and worked as an actor and who has recently returned to a former love; ballet classes. It therefore may not surprise you to hear that Sarah is:
"Obsessed with tatty vintage costumes, circus history, fairytales and old Hollywood."
Sarah's showgirl creations stem from this interest and thus Curious Pip was born as a outlet for her constant sketching and making.
As you can see from the illustration below, Sarah weaves a story through her drawings about the history and character of each creation before they are stitched into life by hand. The Curious Pip blog gives you an insight into how these little characters come to life through examples of her watercolours and 'work in progress' shots coupled with some fabulous old photo's which have provided Sarah with inspiration.
Above left: Lucille Doll Face who lives with us in the Applewood workshop (2012)
Sarah says that her aim is
" To create work which not only evokes nostagia but brings comfort and a smile to your face"
So without further ado, please welcome the 'Curious Pip Chorus' to guide you through Sarah's workboxes and workroom shelves..
In Sarah's workroom she has a set of shelves (above) where you can see Curious Pip creations nestled amidst inspirational books, curiosities & jars of haberdashery. Look at those lovely tea cups & saucers.
Right: You may have noticed the rather fabulous hair which the Curious Pip Chorus have? It's made from soft & luxurious merino wool tops which you can see here in shades even Technicolour would be proud of...
Ahh, the smell of the grease paint! Sarah applies facial details by hand using paint & stitch.
"I guess one of my favourite pieces of equipment is a bog standard wooden chop stick which I use to turn my dolls bodies inside out! I also love my Fiskas scissors and my pinking shears."
This Brother sewing machine has run up many a long leg in it's time! Oh-la-la!
Right: tantalising bits of haberdashery and polka dot conjuring up visions of backstage at the circus. Bobble trims, bright feathers & gold braids all housed inside a Cath Kidston sewing box complete with a dotty interior to match the work table.
"My shelves are full of knick knacks - old tea cups filled with buttons, needles and pins, jars of pencils and pens, brushes, boxes of paint, books, and old movie dvd's. My little boy calls them all my treasures!"
We spy some Tutti-frutti Hatted brooches on those shelves waiting to be whisked away to new homes. If you'd like to take a closer look nip over to Curious Pip's Etsy page HERE, and if you are really quick, you might even catch some of the items which are in the Curious Pip sale this week!
To keep up to date with other news from the Curious Pip camp you need to look here:
With the exception of 'Lucille doll face' all photographs in this post belong to Sarah Burford. We'd like to give a big thank you to Curious Pip for taking part in the Workbox Introductions series and for generously allowing access to these images.
"And as the characters take a bow, a shower of red roses land on the stage to the sound of enthusiastic applause. Eventually the slow closing swish of the velvet curtains signals the end of the performance. Until next time ..."