Ever since I was a little girl I loved to read about myths and legends, particularly British ones. Until my teens I had a fascination with fairies and would spend hours pouring over illustrated books such as ‘Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book’ by Brian Froud and ‘A Flower Fairies Treasury’ by Cicely Mary Barker. There was something so magical that captured my imagination. Fast forward 20 years and I get to revisit it all again with my 6 year old daughter, and it’s AMAZING. Whether walking through our local woodland looking for fairy doors in the trees of visiting the seaside and watching for mermaids tails hidden in the waves, I get to see it all through the eyes of another person and it is so inspirational. My daughter loves fairies, unicorns and mermaids just as much as I ever did, so designing this collection felt effortless. We got to read lots of children’s books together and on a recent holiday spent hours at the beach looking for shells as inspiration to draw from.
As with every collection I design each fabric has its own individual story which is brought together by a poem. Let me take you on a magical journey...
You awake to an unknown sound.
You’re drawn to the sea.
You tread a familiar path,
wind rustles through the trees.
Sand beneath your toes is cold,
gritty and damp from the tide.
The soft sea mist reaches you.
The moon glistens as your guide.
The expanse laughs joyously,
all grey no longer blue.
What was that noise you heard?
Was it a siren calling you?
The waves continue to whisper,
the water strokes your feet.
You take a small step forward
not wanting to retreat.
Was that the flick of a tail
or a trick of your eye?
Reflected in the water
is more than the nights sky.
Look a little closer,
see the crab in its shell.
Sea foam silvery in the moonlight.
Seaweed swaying in the swell.
Is that a figure you observe
frolicking in the deep?
A child of the sea,
your spellbound heart she must keep.
Does she sit upon a rock
and embrace the watery moon?
Hands held high
singing a bewitching, beguiling tune.
Do the whales bow to her?
The jellyfish dance to beat?
in the depth of the gloomy deep?
The tempest wakes you.
Time to retrace your trail.
You hurry home,
leaving behind the captivating, enchanted veil.
Firstly I'd like to introduce my hero print 'Sirens Spell'. This one comes in 'Sea Mist', 'Light Blush Mauve' and 'Dusky Turquoise'. There is so much detail within this print, you could spend ages making up stories within the pattern or counting the different types of sea creature. I wanted these designs to have a fun, interactive feel to them and appeal to grown ups and children alike. Within this collection I always knew I wanted to use the deep turquoise and navy blue tones, but to balance them with softer pastels so it didn't feel too 'blue' which sea themed collections often can. As the hero prints are the busiest and carry the most detail, I kept to my more playful pastels so the designs didn't become too distracted.
Next up is probably my favourite design, 'Enchanted Ocean'. I say probably because 'Seaweed Sway' is a big contender. This secondary print was actually the first fabric I designed in the collection. I had a concept of a mermaid capturing a falling star in the ocean while the enchanted sea creatures bowed and danced around her which I really wanted to bring to life. Using a limited palette, I wanted these designs to really 'pop'! Available in 'Sky Blue', 'Light Aegean Blue' and 'Midnight Blue'.
Continuing on with the magical theme and stars falling into the water, I loved the idea of the jellyfish dancing in the starlight. 'Jellyfish Dance' has a lovely soft energy to it and we spent many hours watching jelly fish at our local aquarium for inspiration. Available in 'Light Blush Mauve'' 'Dusky Turquoise' and 'Porpoise Purple', again the soft pastels add a harmony to the stronger blues to balance the collection.
Finally meet my two co-ordinates or blenders as some people call them, 'Seaweed Sway' and 'Concealed Crab'. 'Seaweed Sway' was how I imagined the mermaids flower meadows under the sea. I had so much fun designing this, researching different seaweeds and ocean plants, then putting my own spin on them. It comes in 'Sea Mist', 'Porpoise Purple', and 'Aegean Blue'.
As a lot of my other designs within the collection are very detailed, I wanted 'Concealed Crab' to be much simpler with only a couple of hand drawn linear elements. The cheeky concealed crab can also be found hiding elsewhere in the collection and can be found on three of my fabrics. This design is available in 'Sky Blue', 'Twilight Mauve' and 'Midnight Blue'.
I hope you enjoyed coming on this magical journey with me. I’d love to see everyone’s creations. Please tag me in any photos on Facebook and Instagram using #CassandraConnolly or @cass_connolly.
You can find 'Sound of the Sea' in all good fabric shops from March 2023. Enjoy!