Fleurieu Living Magazine – April 2019

(Jacob Rumans) #1

in, culminating with the business taking out the big gong at the
prestigious National Bridal Awards in 2000.

But all great things have to come to an end. Nikki married and moved
to Wilmington in the state’s mid-north, and in 2003 they sold the
business. After the birth of their first son Eli, it was time to devote
some energy to husband Matt’s budding winemaking career, moving
first to Denmark in Western Australia, and in 2005 after her daughter
Zoe was born, to the Coonawarra region in the south-east of South
Australia. While living in Penola, Megan maintained her dressmaking
with her own made-to-measure bridal and evening wear studio, and
was drawn back into textile artistry. The Caldersmith family was also
completed by the arrival of son Liam.

Megan collaborated with luminary Penola-based textile artist Joann
Fife, developing numerous exhibitions and becoming very involved
in the Penola Arts Festival. During this time Megan was dying silk
and wool, blending art and fashion using corsets as a medium, and
building on her lace-making skills inherited from her grandmother.
Megan learnt to construct lace in a new way, even incorporating
precious lace that Grandmother Pearl had made many years ago, into
new wearable art with a story.

After nine years in Penola, the Caldersmiths moved to their forever
home on the Fleurieu. Matt, working as winemaker at Hardy’s Tintara,
and Megan, opening ‘She Sews’ in McLaren Vale specialising in
alterations, bridal and evening wear, and made-to-measure clothing.
Megan now travels overseas to places like Singapore, Indonesia
and Malaysia to source unique designer fabrics each year. She has
also become an in-demand stylist on local photographic shoots and
has plans for a textile art exhibition incorporating children’s textile art
lessons at Fleurieu Arthouse.

Megan laments that she no longer has any of the lace or garments
that her mother or grandmother made left, they have all been
repurposed into something new and beautiful in their own right. The
women in my family are also gifted seamstresses, and my chat with
Megan inspired me to pull a dusty, musty old suitcase out from under
my bed. It contains precious dresses, laces, crochet and knitting that
the women of my family created, and it felt wonderful to touch their
detailed handiwork from as far back as the 1920s. I think I will always
be in awe of the skill and artistry involved in creating a timeless outfit,
which Megan has in spades. How lucky we are to have someone of
her talent ensconced within our local community.

Above: Megan works at restyling a precious family heirloom. Right: Custom-made gowns in silk and European lace.
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