Studio Musings

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rest, Relaxation and Inspiration

DCL's Fantasy, docked at Castaway Cay
Slowly regaining my bearings after two wonderful weeks at sea on the Disney Cruise Lines Fantasy, sailing through the warm blue waters of the Caribbean.  This was our first time on Disney's new, larger ships and I have to say it was sweet.  I especially loved the new adults-only deck areas. 

Rather than giving you a potentially boring blow by blow of our vacation, I thought I'd take a slightly different approach and share some of the inspiration I found on board.  Unlike other cruise lines, the Disney ships are designed by Imagineers, the same people who design the theme parks and attractions.  In my opinion, it really shows. 

All four ships were designed as "modern classics"; the Fantasy's interior design draws heavily from Art Nouveau.  Everywhere I went, I was awed by their attention to detail and their ability to tell a story.  Time and again, I was reminded of the City and Guilds' Design course I took with Gail Harker years ago - where we looked at all the different ways we might interpret and use a single source of inspiration.    I thought I'd share two of my favorites.

Roses used as a design element in the Royal Court restaurant
First up, the Royal Court restaurant.  It's overarching theme is Disney princesses, with several stunning mosaics depicting the ballroom scenes from their movies.  Cinderella running down the stairs, the feast from Sleeping Beauty, the ball at the end of Beauty and the Beast; you get the picture.  All done in tiny glass tiles.  That's the art, and it is truly beautiful.

But what brought me back to the restaurant before breakfast one morning were all of the different ways they used Roses.  My collage shows a few of these, including the pillars that sweep into tree-like light-canopies overhead, and the carpets and tile underfoot.  Beauty's roses crest each pillar, which are topped in turn by rose bushes which also hide the main light fixtures for the room.   Most of the room is done in muted shades of ecru and cream, reminding me of castle walls, except for the flooring coverings.  Tile paths led through the restaurant, with rich red and gold carpets to either side.  I'm particularly fond of the bramble vines, though the densely packed rosebuds create a gorgeous red-carpet effect. 

It was really funny, because the waitstaff got a kick out of watching me run around taking pictures of carpeting and they started pointing things out, making sure I didn't miss any of the other details, including Cinderella's carriages embossed white-on-white on the plates, and the symbols for each of the princesses - rose, slipper, etc - carved into the backs of each chair. 

FYI, there are three main dining rooms - doing some quick math each can accommodate six hundred plus guests at any one seating.  But they never felt cavernous, or over-crowded. 

It's funny how you think you've taken so many photos, but you get home and discover that you're missing some of the most basic?  Well, I don't have any pictures of the whole, three-story atrium.  Just lots and lots of detail shots of all the different ways they used peacock feathers in the space.

The top right photo is of the atrium's central carpet.  It's every bit as detailed (and as large) as a full-scale wall mural.  If you look, you can see a few people in the picture for scale.  To me, it looks like a jewelry design waiting to happen.

Around the edges of the atrium, below the second floor balconies, the flooring switches to tile, reinterpreting the feather design yet again.  There's a set of broad stairs that sweeps up to the second floor of the atrium.  At the top of those stairs, three peacock feathers sweep out to fill the landing, with smaller blue-on-blue feathers in the background (bottom middle and left in my collage).  If you look closely, you'll note that even the railing carries the design.   The top two photos to the left of my collage are from the carpeting in the cafe area on the atrium's second floor.  The gold band helps delineates the walkway from the seating areas. 

I didn't do any beading on the trip, but I did do a little sketching. 

sketching while lounging on a deck chair around the Satellite Falls pool
Joe grabbed a shot of me painting my sketch in the atrium's cafe

And since it was a vacation, here a a couple of random shots:
One mural from the Royal Court restaurant.   I love all the details!

St Maarteen was one of our prettiest ports of call
An amazing sunrise over the water

my attempt to take a panoramic, just a little earlier the same sunrise
They say it's 7 years good luck to kiss a stingray

It wouldn't be a Disney Cruise without the characters

Capt. Jack Sparrow staggered, wandered down the beach at Disney's private island, so of course I had to grab a shot with him.  Not my best shot - but Captain Jack's looking good.  :)  Joe spent part of each morning journaling at the bar up on the pool deck.  We got to check out the kids' clubs during one of their open houses.  Boy does it look like it would be fun to be a kid!  And Joe heading back to the ship after we toured Costa Maya, Mexico. 

And now we're home.  Can I just say that Seattle seems positively cold in comparison?   It seems that we've jumped straight from Summer into Autumn.  I'm teaching my Fancy Fish at Fusion Beads this coming Sunday.  Last I checked, there's still a couple of spots if you're in town and interested.  Also need to finish up a little something for Sarah's Sequintastic September this Saturday.  Oh, and I've decided to rearrange my studio - I spent the morning moving furniture and tubs of fabric.

Hi ho, hi ho..... Just wish I could whistle as well as they do. 


  1. Two weeks at sea! Thanks for sharing the bliss with us - the colors of the sunrise, the blues in that seascape, and the peacock atrium - brimming with color inspiration.

  2. Wow! That was a fantastic perspective on a cruise, thank you!!! I love seeing all the textures and designs. So glad you had a great time, but I think I would have to forgo the ray kiss...ugh! And yes, I would have been right there with you in the pic with Cap'n Jack!

  3. Hi Karen,
    It sounds like the two of you had a wonderful time on your two week cruise, I am envious. I love the interior shots of the ship and all it's beautiful decorations. Captian Jack Sparow is the most handsome pirate of them all!

  4. What inspirations all around you!!! Was there ever any sensory overload? Beautiful details all around! Happy Anniversary~many many more :-)
    That Sunrise photo sucked me right in.....