Innovations in AI technology and what this means for artists

It is now 2023 and I feel that we should be living in an alien landscape as depicted by the many science fiction films of my childhood. Except at first glance, nothing much seems to have changed. There are times though that I see glimpses of this new world when new technologies emerge and we can appreciate just how much our world has changed in recent years.

The more recent wave to hit the social media platforms is the emergence of AI and its skills in copywriting, image creation, video editing and so on. It is absolutely astounding what it can do. Far from it producing stilted robotic responses to any questions it is asked, it is very conversational, comprehensive and extraordinarily knowledgeable. In seconds it produces lengthy texts that sound remarkably human. It’s like talking to an intelligent graduate. 

I have been witnessing it creating very laudable marketing strategies for businesses through to very comprehensive legal agreements for companies working together. 

I watched a singer songwriter recently ask an AI to create a song about some topic he was working with, in the style of a particular artist that he loved. Within seconds, the programme played a song that actually sounded pretty good. He was impressed too. It was quite astounding. 

The image creation is pretty spectacular however it is not flawless. I wanted to create a generic image of a taxi driver in a British city and I have to admit that it did look a bit like Frankenstein had been involved in the process. Even so, this is very very early days, so who knows what this technology is going to produce in the coming years.

As it is a self-learning programme, it is already producing surprises. For example it can tell what sex you are from a retina scan or your ethnic background from a lung X-ray. I gather that the medical professions have no clue how it is able to do this and can see no evidence to give them any ideas of what it can see that they cannot.

I know that for many people, they will be asking what has this got to do with luxury fashion and our unique creativity. For me, I can see that we are at the beginning of a massively important era of human appreciation. With technology doing a lot of the mundane tasks, this is going to free up our creativity. 

For years I have had a passion for the Art of Hand Crafted. We have always championed the preservation of traditional techniques as well as celebrated innovation and new ways of creating interesting pieces. 

Many thousands of hours have gone into developing our skills over the years and experience has offered many opportunities to combine various  techniques to come up with inspiring art pieces that can only have come about because of the journeys that we have been on. Original work is as defined by our own uniqueness despite similar influences and paths walked. 

There is the potential for a deeply spiritual connection between art appreciators and the artists crafting beautiful things. Art is not just about developing our unique style and expertise. As an artist when heart and soul becomes totally focused on our work, that body of art is naturally imbued with our attention and energy. When that piece resonates with someone, they are often  not just inspired by the colour, form, and function of the piece but somehow resonate with the energy that is imbued in the piece. 

For me, AI has a powerful part to play in this journey. Not only will it take on the everyday tasks that keep an artist away from their soul’s purpose but there will no doubt be a public reaction that is the antithesis of what AI is about. 

If you are an artist, practise your art and put heart and soul into creating your uniquely original work. As a collector, find those pieces that light up your life and bring something special to your world. 

Art may become one of the most valuable investments that we can make as a result of this technological development. It connects us one human to another particularly pertinent ways but most importantly it will always enrich our lives immeasurably.

By the way, this was not written by AI – but by my own fair hand and mind. 

I would love to hear your thoughts on how you see this changing our world. 

Flowers for my Mother

Flowers for my Mother

Flowers for my mother. She would have loved the crazy idea of covering the walls of our new/old summer house found (for free) by Georgina on Facebook marketplace. I can hear her giggling at the sheer madness of it. This is my current mode of “organised fidgeting” 40 paintings and the roof/ ceiling to be painted too. Inspired by the over-the-top decorations of Castell Coch.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day

Mother’s day. This photograph of my Mum, taken by Charles, is my favourite image of a very special person. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t think of her. 

My mother was a huge influence in my life. Her childlike delight in discovering a new flower in bloom was contagious. She would take me by the hand to show me a hidden treasure – a cluster of white violets under the linden trees that lined the avenue to Stowe School. Our home was built at the side of the second Stowe avenue. It was my mother who taught me to knit, crochet and embroider. She did not like machine sewing much – she found it tiresome. But she always had something creative for the evenings – sitting quietly by the fire with what she called ‘organised fidgeting. A phrase that I too use when doing creative ‘stuff’ while the television is on in the background. 

It was my mother who found an advertisement for a postal course in textile design in a magazine – perhaps The Lady which she shared with her friend Nora. My mother thought I would be good at this art form because I loved drawing flowers. I only did a couple of the exercises and only remember one comment that one should veer away from designers like William Morris. I knew nothing about him and when I went to the local library and found out about his art I was smitten.

 I didn’t do anything with textile art until years later but my mother just knew that was where I was meant to be. She was like that – a gentle, funny, wise and unassuming woman who always put others first. So the flowers that I am painting for our summer house in the following post are a tribute to my mother.

60 years married today

60 years married today

Today is our 60th wedding anniversary! I don’t think I would recognise me if I met me in a street. 60 years is astonishing. A wonderfully weird wedding. My father-in-law gave me away because my parents lived in New Zealand. My cousin’s vicar husband married us.

We did not have cars because the reception was just across the road from the church. I had made my sister’s November wedding dress which I altered for my day. I made the bridesmaid’s dress, my mother-in-law’s complete outfit including her hat. With the help of the In-laws I made the cake and decorated it.

Charles had to leave the house (I was living with his family before the wedding) to practise his and his best man’s speech. He was so nervous he ended up stealing Harry’s speech. No idea what Harry said instead. We caught a train to South Wales but stopped for a one-night ‘honeymoon’ in Birmingham. I wonder how many people choose Birmingham for their honeymoon?

And that was the beginning of our life together. We have been partners in everything, love, work, play, creativity and everything else between, including sparing with verbal badinage occasionally – well it would not be natural not to have the occasional spat! So here we are looking so young and innocent – never imagining the incredibly interesting and varied life we were embarking on. A shy secretary and a physicist dressing some of the most exotic women in the world. I still can’t believe it myself how the twists and turns of our life have taken us on a rollercoaster ride.

Ambers of Amersham

It was an absolute delight to discover that an old favourite shop that we used to supply, is still very much in existence. Walking around towns in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, small independent outlets selling high quality clothing seem to be very few and far between. Like us, Ambers have celebrated being in business for over 50 years and continue to deliver the good old fashioned high level customer service that we love. We are very excited that they will now be stocking a collection of our things from February 2019. It is many years since we first met and worked with the talented Carla Cameron whose character and style could never be imitated nor forgotten. Sadly she passed some years ago but her legacy lives on and the shop continues to thrive supported by a wonderful team who have themselves been with them for many years. Carla and Alex’s son Alistair, keeps the spirit of the business very much alive having skillfully stepped into Carla’s role. He is an absolute delight to be around and it cannot be overemphasised just how thrilled I am to see that there are still outlets out there which share our ethos of loving our customers and wanting to do what they can to offer unrivalled customer service.
Ambers is not your usual high street shop being located in an old building that has been carefully converted from a fifteenth century mill. It is now an elegant salon perfect for a relaxed shopping experience whilst enjoying much of its original charm. There is not just women’s fashion but it also has a restaurant, hair salon, beauty department, children’s clothing and a tailor. They have a wonderful selection of women’s wear – elegant day time classics to the grander formal gowns for black tie events. There will be a good collection of Charles and Patricia Lester outfits in their Windsor Room including outfits for mother of bride and groom, special occasion and some evening pieces. Their fabulous team will also be happy to organise ordering anything special if you require something to be made in your own chosen colour, size or in a slightly different style.
Saturday 2nd March, we will be taking a larger collection to them for a special day for Mothers of Bride and Groom. If you would like to join us, please do let us know especially if you would like to try on particular pieces which we can arrange to be there for you. Ambers of Amersham The Millstream, London Road, Amersham, HP7 9DA Telephone: +44 (0) 1494 722471 Email: Opening hours Monday – Saturday: 9.30 am – 5.30 pm

We love this! Is it Valerie or it is Jean wearing one of our…

We love this! Is it Valerie or it is Jean wearing one of our vintage #handpleatedsilk dresses? Don’t they both look fabulous?
Thank you @idiosyncraticfashionistas! We love your style!
This dress is called a Nancy by the way. #bespokecouture #luxurycouture #timelessfashion .
#Repost @idiosyncraticfashionistas with @get_repost
@museumatfit #historyofpink exhibit curated by #drvaleriesteele! See it - It’s up til Jan 5, 2019.
. #pinkpunkpowerfulcolor #valeriesteele #museumatfit #idiosyncraticfashionistas #moschino #advancedstyle #advancedstyleolderandwiser #ageless #agelessstylebloggers #agelessstyle #agelessfashion #40plusstyle #50plusstyle #50plusandfabulous #60plusstyle #60plusandfabulous #disruptaging #wearwhatyouwant #iwillwearwhatilike #charlesandpatricialester

Charles and Patricia Lester Social

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This is something we don’t see often. The original labels with…

This is something we don’t see often. The original labels with @patricia_lester’s signature. Only found now in #vintage pieces made some time ago. This was a cape that was originally designed for #barbrastreisand whose hero status has been renewed in my eyes through her latest album Walls. Her heartfelt message strikes home and resonates deep with the values we hold dear. It aligns with the belief that self value, the beauty of carefully crafted works of art, mutual love and respect of all of humanity and so on are all a part of appreciating the important things in life.

Charles and Patricia Lester Social

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#Handmarbling in action. It’s actually a photograph that has…

#Handmarbling in action. It’s actually a photograph that has been animated using one of these clever apps but it does give a sense of the movement that is created with these hand marbled fabrics. What do you think? This is definitely something for the self actualised fully empowered woman who wants something unique for her wardrobe.
#handmarbledsilk #bespokecouture #luxurysilk #empoweredwomen #womenleaders #luxurycouture #slowfashion

Charles and Patricia Lester Social

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I found this little work of art that needs to be finished. .I…

I found this little work of art that needs to be finished. . I think it needs a title. What does it remind you of? . It’s a wonderful range of luscious emerald greens made using our signature hand painted, hand pleated silks. . #ART #TEXTILES #textileart #silkart #silkartist #handpaintedsilk #silkpainting #handpleatedsilk #bespokeinteriorart #bespokeinteriors #luxuryinteriors #arabhall

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Fabric remnant sale film/theatre production

Luxury fabric remnants for sale

Fabric remnants blues film costume
Fabric remnants blues film costume

We are clearing a space by selling off a collection of remnants that we have accumulated over the years.  So we are holding a fabric remnant sale specifically for film and theatre production costumes or set design.  These are luxury fabric remnants that really need to find a purpose rather than cluttering up a small printing table that we need to be able to use for shorter lengths of fabric.  So I have started just sorting out some in groups of colours as recently requested.  I will be adding more as and when I can get the photographs done.  Fabric lengths and prices will be added as quickly as I can get my head in focus! 
Prices are reduced between 65% – 85%.  Sizes will be put on here in the next couple of days.

Blue section:

No.  15  a fairly heavy weight ribbed cotton in a rich blue and printed in gold.  £18 per metre

No. 16 is shadow printed with red under the gold – slightly offset to give an interesting dimension.  £25 per metre

No. 17 is printed with a copper print – viscose/cotton —- £16 per metre

No. 18 – printed gold viscose cotton – £16 per metre

No. 19 – viscose/cotton – printed silver —- £16 per metre

No. 20 – cotton/wool (a bit like vyella) printed with silver.  — £12 per metre

Fabric remnants for theatre productions

Fabric remnants greens costume theatre
Fabric remnants greens costume theatre

These fabric remnants are perfect for theatre productions.  They are bold and created on pretty robust fabrics and are perfect for the rough handling associated with theatre work.

No. 1 – dark green silver print – satin viscose/cotton  — £16 per metre

No. 2 – soft lime green – phantom print. — £16 per metre

No. 3 – soft lime green – crackle print in gold. — £16 per metre

No. 4 – heavy satin – tones of green with a deco cube print in gold – shadow print? – £32 per metre

No. 5 – viscose/cotton – dark forest green – copper print – £16 per metre

No. 6 – heavy rib silk in dark green — £20 per metre

No. 7  and 8 – viscose/cotton – dark green – gold print — £16 per metre

No. 9 dark green satin (has a soft feel)  gold print. £25 per metre

Fabric remnants drama opera golds ginger orange
Fabric remnants drama opera golds ginger orange

Opera drama fabric remnants in golds, ginger and orange.

Nos 1, 2 and 3  Rich gold satin – printed with gold. cotton/viscose  — £20 per metre

No. 4 – viscose cotton satin is tabacco printed with gold crackle print.—£25 per metre

No. 5 – heavy satin – bright orange shadow printed with gold. — £32 per metre

No. 6 7 and 8 – viscose cotton printed with gold — £ 25 per metre

No. 9 – cotton/wool (a bit liky vyella – bright orange with all over print. — £12 per metre

No. 19.  Dark chocolate cotton/viscose satin printed with a pewter motif.— £25 per metre

fabric remnants pastels feminine performance costume design
fabric remnants pastels feminine performance costume design

Pastel colours for feminine performance costume designs.

Nos. 21 and 22 – viscose cotton in a soft aqua colour.  One has a stripe print in silver and the other an all over print in silver.  £16 per metre

No. 23  – soft pink with a silver all over print – viscose cotton — £16 per metre

No. 24 – smokey mauve with a silver print – viscose/cotton — £16 per metre

fabric remnants purple mauve royal drama
fabric remnants purple mauve royal drama

Royal purple drama fabric remnants

No. 11 – Heavy satin in a rich mauve – gold flecked print – viscose/cotton — £25 per metre 

No. 12 – lighter weight viscose satin  lustre pink (a mauve kind of pink) with a copper print.  £16 per metre

No. 13 – heavy cord weave cotton – this has painted insets within the print and the whole piece has been stressed and tarnished to add age.  It does not show up this detail well on this snapshot.  Purple – not as blue as it looks with a bold gold print.— £25 per metre  (ON HOLD)

No. 14. – heavy cord weave cotton – again more purple than it looks.  Shadow printed in gold over red.  This was made for lining campaign tents for a Charlemagne period film!  £25 per metre (ON HOLD) – there might be another piece of this lower down the pile!

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Inspired Textile Art

Inspired Textile Art

I am creating a new leaflet to let people know what we do and to remind those that know us what other things we can do.

Inspired Textile Art
Inspired Textile Art

Luxury creative art in clothes

Luxury creative art in clothes
Luxury creative art in clothes

As the print is a bit small on the image I have typed out the text from ‘luxury creative art in clothes’.

Charles and Patricia Lester design and create unusual and timeless clothes for discerning women.  They have made clothes for some very exotic women from all walks of life – icons of film, business women as well as many extraordinary gems of women they meet every day.

There is a large collection readily available from which too choose to buy or that might inspire ideas of how you want to look for those special days in your life or just something to wear every day.

As every garment is made individually, right through from the painting, printing or pleating by hand, it is possible to create a bespoke outfit that is made just for you.

Because the Lesters and their highly skilled team love exploring all sorts of different fabrics, the collection consists of a variety of unusual fabrics.  There are choices available for every day wear, evening, bridal, mother of the bride, red carpet events, cruises, garden parties, beach weddings or just curling up with a good book on a chilly evening in front of a fire.

Bespoke Interior Art

Bespoke interior art
Bespoke interior art

The words on this page ‘bespoke interior art’ are not quite so small, but I will type it out anyway.

Charles and Patricia have spent many years designing and creating original art pieces for the home, a luxury yacht or even an exotic creative touch for a business or for a dramatic art statement in a corporate boardroom.  Using their unique and original textile art they create all sorts of beautiful items for comfortable and luxurious living.

Their unique Wall Hangings and screens are created out of silks that are hand painted and pleated.  This is a new art form using pleated silk as a medium to create an impressionistic style of textile art.

The sensual velvet throws and comforters work brilliantly with the luxury cushions made our of the silks and velvets.

Inspiration and team creativity

Inspiration and team creativity
Inspiration and team creativity

For the page ‘Inspiration and team creativity’ again I have typed it out because of the small print on the image.

Are we unknowingly moving into a golden age of appreciating  real creativity?  Fast food, fast fashion, on-line shopping have taken away the joy of shopping.  Is the one-to-one relationship between the creator and the final part of the creation – the customer – a new and exciting journey into service.

To achieve this lovely relationship this is how we work.  There is a large collection in the studios in Abergavenny.  There is a capsule collection in Liberty’s of London.  In the studios you can browse through all the shapes, colours and ideas.  There is no hurry.  Once we find the style that suites your body shape the best and is something of the atmosphere that you love – then we can make up that choice especially for you.

Another way that we work is through your own involvement.  If you find an inspiring picture, such as the unusual colour combination in this picture, then we can make up your outfit or indeed your interior scheme in this colour combination.  We can even add crystal beads to emulate the dew!

The Textile Studios

The textile studio location
The textile studio location

Collecting caring and wearing Art Clothes

Collecting, caring and wearing Art Clothes
Collecting, caring and wearing Art Clothes

Collecting, caring and wearing Art Clothes collecting, wearing and caring for Art Clothes

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