Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It's time to say 'thank you' and farewell

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I've spent the last few weeks thinking about writing this post and what words I'm going to use. So many emotions have been tumbling around in my head. I've made the difficult decision to close Rangoli so that I can focus on my new business, Three Thought Bubbles.

It's hard to sum up how much I've loved running this business. It's been such a huge part of my life for the last fifteen years. And it all began after a six month trip around India in 1994. This seems like the best place to dig up some favourite memories and thank everyone who has helped me along the way.

Aisling, River Ganges, Varanassi, 1994.

Here I am gliding along the river Ganges at dawn! I look a bit serious, because a: I'm never been a morning person and b: we were passing lots of funeral pyres along the waters edge. But this photo reminds me of the magical and crazy adventure that we had and how the trip inspired me to return to college to study jewellery design. 

'Princess and the pea' necklace and hand-beaded bridal shoe commission.

When people ask me what the best part of my job is, I always say, it's the people I design for. You ladies have made my job so worthwhile and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. When I first set up Rangoli, I supplied jewellery to shops. I never met my customers. It felt totally soulless to me and that was the huge turning point. Designing for 'real people', meant that I could chat and get to know the people who wore my designs. Listening and offering advice became a favourite part of my job! That, combined with the hilarious conversations and stories we've shared. Ciara and Deirdre, I still remember your visits to the studio...

Left: Rangoli 'lace' headpiece, top: painting by William Larkin, Bottom: Valintino dress

The story of Rangoli is also about my passion for pattern. India showed me how beautiful it is to decorate the body from head to toe in dazzling jewels. Ornamenting the body just makes me feel happy! And lace has been a constant inspiration because of the intricate, natural patterns. The pics above show how timeless this fabric is, from the 17th C Painting by William Larkin to a Valentino dress in 2012.

Watercolour sketches for Rangoli crochet headpiece
Although I design jewellery too, it's the hair accessories that I've enjoyed creating most. I've always thought of them as hair jewellery. My favourite designs are my beaded hairwires and crochet head-wraps. The best part has been seeing how each person chooses to wear them. And there are some amazing hairdressers out there that I've been lucky enough to collaborate with. This is also a great place to thank each of you who have shared their gorgeous photos with me!

Rangoli beaded hairwires and crochet forehead headpieces

There are so many people who have supported me along the way. A big shout goes out to my family, along with the best bunch of creative friends a girl could ask for! I'd also like to say an extra special thank you to Mary Shiels, who taught me crochet and tapestry, many moons ago, and lead to me experimenting with fine metallic threads and wires. And finally, I'd like to publicly thank my husband Ben, who has been my biggest support through all of the ups and downs of running my business. We took that trip together to India and haven't stopped exploring and being travel adventurers since!



I have a limited number of designs which are available to purchase. So if you know of anyone who is looking for bridal accessories, please share my website, blog or Facebook page.


My new adventure (and business) is called Three Thought Bubbles. I now help businesses to be human on the web - something that I discovered how to do at Rangoli. I believe that the passion behind a business is something worth sharing. I hope you agree!

Thanks to everyone for your support, business and friendship.

x Aisling


Monday, September 2, 2013

Rangoli bridal hair chain

Monday, September 2, 2013
Rangoli headpiece sketch

I always think of my headpieces as jewellery that you wear in your hair. Why should a necklace only be worn around your neck? Here's a peek at a recent commission that's got me really excited! I know it's going to inspire a whole new collection.


Thanks Tara, for letting me share your bespoke headpiece! It was designed to go with the Lita dress by Catherine Deane, (seen below).

After lots of chatting and sketching, we came up with a design that can be woven into Tara's soft up-style. The idea for the beaded chain came from the petal shapes in the skirt. They're so delicate and are trimmed with tiny pearls and antique silver beading. The beaded chain moves in the same way as the fabric. Little details like that, really matter to me! And the beaded flowers pick up on the lace embroidery.

I know that Tara's hairdresser will create an amazing style around her headpiece. I can't wait to see the pics!

Rangoli, beaded bridal chain.
 Lita dress by Catherine Deane

It might also surprise you to hear that I design very few bridal necklaces. Have you ever considered not wearing a necklace for your wedding? Here's my personal thoughts about necklaces and wedding dresses.

  • Most dresses are absolutely stunning by themselves. This goes for the most minimal of dresses to ones that are embellished with thousands of sequins and pearls. By not wearing a necklace, people get a chance to really see you in your beautiful dress, without being distracted by a neck-piece.

  • Your dress may have a beaded belt or striking, decorative detail. Think of these details as your jewellery, but worn on a different part of the body. Sometimes, adding a necklace to the look is just too much.

The best piece of advice I can give is to just be you - wear what makes you feel happy. I spend lots of time with clients, just listening to how they talk about their own style and what makes them feel comfortable. At the end of the day, I believe that's the most important thing.

Most people who visit me don't have a clear idea of what they're looking for. That's one of my favourite parts of what I do; to offer you lots of advice and show you styles you may never have thought of! I'm always up for a chat about bridal accessories - you can get in touch by email or phone.  Or if you're at the early research stage, check out some of my recent commissions here on the blog.

Rangoli website
Rangoli sketch by Aisling Nelson
Photos of Lita dress taken from the Catherine Deane Website.

Monday, August 19, 2013

A stylish, alternative hen party, in Dublin

Monday, August 19, 2013

One thing that I notice from chatting with you ladies, is that the old style hen party is well and truly dead. Maybe it's the new DIY trend, that makes us want to learn something new, while still having fun! A good friend of mine is now offering creative hen parties, from her Dublin studio. Would you like to learn how to decorate your very own vintage style tea-cup?


This is an amazing opportunity to be invited into an artists working studio for an afternoon. Ayelet Lalor creates bold sculptures in ceramic and bronze. She is probably best known for her colourful Divas. The idea for the parties  came from her life-long love and collection of unusual tea-cups!

Ayelet Lalor sculptures
"There is something about the act of drinking out of a teacup that is so inherently pleasant; it brings out the Lady in all of us modern, busy, clumpy, contemporary women. I have been collecting teacups for many years, and each teacup reminds me of a different time and place, like a mini set of memories."

Do you know someone who would love to get creative for her hen? Ayelet has great ideas for customising these parties. Her own wedding had a Midsummer Night's theme. Every guest received one of her handmade teacups too! I can personally recommend these parties as I went to one with some friends recently. We sipped Cava and laughed (and learned) a lot. I might look a bit serious in the picture above, right. That's because I was deep in concentration, decorating my masterpiece!

After the party, all pieces will be dried, fired and clear-glazed, and can be collected one week later. The set of vintage cups could make a gorgeous gift for the bride to be! They could even be used as centre-pieces on the wedding day.

To find out more, have a look at the Creative Parties website. You can also keep up to date on the Facebook page. And spread the word if you know someone who is looking for something different to do!

More information:
Contact Ayelet: +353 87 648 5856

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sunny wedding waves to Siobhan

Thursday, August 8, 2013

It's a spectacularly sunny August 8th and one of 'my' brides, Siobhan, is getting married today! I wish herself and Eoin a brilliant day.


These pretty hairpins are dotted through Siobhan's hair as I type. After much chatting and sketching, I designed individual pins to go with her Denise Assas gown. The feature of the dress are hand-beaded cap sleeves. Did you know that I have a bit of a sleeve obsession?

Flicking through my V&A book 'Tiaras; A History of Splendour', reminded me of why I love to design jewels for the head. These ladies look like they regularly dress up for dinner. I've a friend who dresses like this on a daily basis! Caroline owns Dirty Fabulous with her sister Kathy. Every day is an 'Opera Day' for her. If you like bejewelled vintage dresses, handbags and headpieces, this is the store for you.

So, how will you wear your wedding accessories again? Here's my advice; make sure you take them out and wear them lots. Vintage style jewels are gorgeous with all sorts of outfits. I recently heard a lovely story from Elaine; she has now loaned her Rangoli comb to three of her close friends for their weddings. That makes me feel so happy! I suppose the other option is to throw a tiara dinner party and invite the girls around?

Image credits:
Taken from Tiaras - A history of splendour by Geoffrey C. Munn

Monday, July 22, 2013

Rangoli fantasies

Monday, July 22, 2013

I'm almost speechless; I have another tab open with the Autumn/Winter collection of Alexander McQueen, on pause. If outrageous wishes were to come true, I would be working for this company; producing the most elaborately decorative body jewels and fashions {happily quaffing espressos to get me through my eighteen hour work days!} Alexander may be dead but his vision sears on.

This is a world of half fantasy, where feminine frills collide with Gothic armour. Listen to the words used to describe the collection; Sharp pressing, multiple folds, quintuple and dégradé pleats, soutache embroidery, triple bulleting, silk and metal thread embroideries, enamelled flowers and more.

This show was only seen by 150 invited guests; three showings with 50 people at each. Imagine receiving a golden ticket to this event?

If you have 5 minutes and 56 seconds to spare, sit back and enter the world of Alexander Mc Queen. Watch how the models glide in and out of the ornate, gilded rooms of the Opéra Comique.  The soundtrack is magical too.

And if you're a total fan, you might like to check out my other Alexander McQueen posts! Hot or not? What do you think?

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Open Door Supper Club

Monday, July 8, 2013

This post is absolutely nothing to do with weddings but everything to do with taking time out for you! If you're planning a wedding, you deserve some relaxing treats.

We all need more adventure in our lives don't we? When is the last time you dined with ten people you didn't know in a mystery house in the centre of Dublin? Recently, Ben and myself went to Aoife's 'Open Door Supper Club'. We had so much fun!

Over on Twitter, Aoife describes herself as a retired archaeologist, turned actor and supper club host. I want a CV like that! This creative lady has a true passion for cooking and combining unusual ingredients. Aoife hosts a monthly supper and tantalises readers of her blog with her upcoming menus.
"Once again the event will happen in my home, a Victorian era house, where you will sit alongside others - some friends, some strangers...strangers who will most likely be your friends by dessert! You will all be connected by the shared experience of going on a 7 course edible adventure ...and generally having a bit of craic."

This menu won me over straight away...

Rhubarb Schnapps on the Rocks

Sea Salt & Black Sesame Crackers with Dips

Le Start
Char Grilled Flat Breads 
with Aspargus & Cratloe Hill Sheeps Cheese

Palate Cleanser
Lemon Thyme Sorbet

Le Main 
Slow Cooked Commeragh Mountain Lamb Tagine

Le Sweet 
Iles Flottantes -Poached Meringue 
with Foraged Elder Flower Custard 
Goosegog Coulis & Praline

Le Fin
Herb Teas / Espresso
with Surprise Petits Fours

My favourite flavour memories included the rhubarb schnapps, (numero uno!), saffron yoghurt, lemon and thyme sorbet and guacamole with pomegranate jewels.

We got to meet a bunch of friendly and interesting new people. And it was by no means all couples. New courses kept appearing before us! All we had to do was pour ourselves some wine from the ice bucket. Once we got to the coffee and petit fours, Aoife and Shane joined us and we just chatted away like we knew them forever.

Aoife also caters for small private groups. It got me thinking about how great this would be for a mellow hen soiree. From talking to my clients, most would do anything to escape the typical hen antics.

Aoife's next supper club is on 27th July. If you hurry, you might be able to book a place. If not, make sure to follow her blog for details of her next tasty adventure. Aoife also caters for small private groups - imagine getting ten of your besties together for a no particular reason other than catching up and  eating delicious food. No washing up either! I highly recommend it.


Thanks for a great night, Aoife and Shane.

Find out more about The Open Door Supper Club on;
Aoife's Blog

Friday, June 28, 2013

Bridal cap sleeves

Friday, June 28, 2013

I think that shoulders are a gorgeous part of the female body! And I adore sleeves. Delicate or sculptural, transparent or solid. I'm designing for a client who will have ornately beaded sleeves on her dress. Looking through my Pinterest boards, I'm reminded of my ongoing obsession...


I made this Instagram video as an ode to the wondrous sleeve!


Here are three recent pins - The first is the Clio dress by Rosa Clara. The fringed sleeves must look beautiful when they move. The second dress is by Amanda Garrett, from her 2012 collection. The last dress is by Christos Bridal and is called Meadow.


What do you think? Are you a sleeve girl? I use Pinterest to save my inspiration - you can see more of my favourites in my 'Gown Love' album.

Are you looking for hair accessories or jewellery? I'm based in The Design Tower in the Dublin Docklands and I'd love to hear your ideas. For more inspiration, check out some of my recent commissions on my blog or website.


Image credits:
Rosa Clara Clio dress via Wedding Inspirasi

Amanda Garrett dress: via Pinterest
Christos Bridal dress, via Pinterest

Video credits:

Image 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.