Friday, June 26, 2009

Ziabird Grand Opening/Artist's Reception--Jewelry and Hats

Last Friday night I attended the Grand Opening of a new boutique in Wilmington--Ziabird. Owner Lynn Mannock, wearing one of my free-form sinamay headpieces, not only is a jewelry maker herself, but has accumulated a wealth of local, regional, and national artists who create one-of-a-kind wearable art, most of it jewelry...amazing jewelry!

Lynn is multi-talented. She also is a film/theatrical costumer, a personal stylist, lampwork bead maker, and so on!

She also carries some of my hats, which I'm very pleased about. Normally I don't sell my hats and headpieces outside aMuse, but I was impressed by Lynn and her vision for having a venue for handcrafted pieces here in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Here I am with my friend Debra Pyeatt, a beading artist, who is represented by Ziabird and aMuse. She does very intricate work and many times incorporates some of our local seashells.
You can see some of Debra's work by clicking here.

I was asked by Lumina Station, the shopping center, to give a short interview about my work and how it is fits into Ziabird's collection. This is a shot of me yammering on--champagne glass in hand, of course. You can see one of my flat packing hats in the background.

The hat I wore for this event was one I made to wear to the opening cocktail party at the International Millinery Forum this past January, in Australia. It is a buckram piece, covered in ultraseude, with heavily veined veiling (vintage, don't ya know), and a silk, jewel encrusted trumpet flower. All this is perched on my head, and secured with a strip of the ultraseude used as a bandeau. The men loved it!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Flowermaking for Millinery and Hat Girls

Last week I had the good fortune to be offered two lovely vintage hat mannequins for my shop, aMuse: artisanal finery. I have a few vintage mannequins, but none like the ones this woman brought in for me to see. Most of mine don't have features, just the shape of a woman's head is about as defined as they get. I call them my 'hat girls.'

These new (um, vintage) 'hat girls' are just begging for names! And that's where you come in. I'd love to hear what names their unique faces suggest to you. Is it an old-fashion name like Rose, or Pearl, or Clarise? Or a more modern name like Susan, or Jessica, or Stephanie? What about exotic--Lolita?

I'll post their new names here in 30 days, on July 21! You can either leave suggestions for their names in the 'Comments' here on the blog (comments are at the end of each blog entry) or email them to me at

'Hat Girl #1' is above. She is rather alien-looking but with a sweet smile you can't really see in the picture. Her coloring---silver. Yep, silver, with a long swan neck. She'll be wearing some of the more artful hats.

'Hat Girl #2,' as seen above, is from the 1950's. She has beautiful full make-up and 'real' false eyelashes. (Did I just say 'real' false??) She has some 'Hollywood' about her too. She'll be wearing glamorous hats.

OK, on to the next bit in this blog entry.
I have a bride I'm working with who wanted a silk flower in multiple shades of silk to go with her taffeta dress from Nicole Miller. A beautiful dress that has a very, very matte metallic thread running through it. Sometimes the thread shows up as silver, sometimes, gold, and sometimes coppery or even platinum. It is amazing fabric to say the least!
The flower will be coupled with a face veil of vintage silk veiling; the very fine spider webby type that is hard to come by.
Below is the flower, and I've shown some pictures of the process to get the stamens that same silver/gold/copper/platinum color.

The flower is a combo of about 5 different colors, textures of silk fabric.

I used glass glitter to change the color of the stamens. These are 'mica,' '24 carat,' and 'sterling.' Glass glitter is very different than kindergarten glitter. It is finer, less shiny, and very dramatic.

Above you will see that I've used a tiny paintbrush to cover the tips of the pearl stamens with a quick drying glue, then rolled the ends of the stamens into the mixture of glass glitter. I mixed all three of the colors to get what I thought would be best with the fabric colors in the flower as well as her dress.

Here's a picture of the stamens drying after they have been covered in glass glitter, and the various flower petals, all before being assembled.

Now scroll back up to see the finished flower again.
Millinery tip: use fast drying glue to keep your flowers from falling apart as you assemble.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Millinery Classes in Your Area?

If you are interested in knowing more about the millinery classes, please send me an email at . Let me know what STATE you live in so that I can let you know if and when I'll be teaching close to you.

I look forward to hearing what skills you'd like to study too!

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Atlanta Millinery Class--Blocking Straw Hoods and Capelines

This past weekend I drove down to Atlanta, Georgia, to teach a millinery class at the Spruill Art Center. I've been teaching there for the past few years and try to switch it up as to what I teach, choosing from the over 12 skill sets I teach. This sessions was entitled Sensational Summer Straws: Blocking Hoods and Capelines. We had a full (make that VERY full) class of 12!

The following pictures should show what can be learned in a short weekend of intense but fun study. All pictures are of the attendees and the hats they made from parisisal hoods and capelines using some basic crown and brim blocks. I believe in teaching almost everything you can possibly do with a capeline and hoods to made a straw hat. That leaves lots of possibility for creativity, and I think you'll agree with me that there was an over abundance of creativity in this class!

Here's half the class out in the parking lot spraying millinery sizing on their blocked (crowns only at this point) capelines. They had a choice of 4 basic crown shapes to choose from.

Meredith blocking her lilac brim. She switched crowns with another attendee for a two-toned hat. Very nice contrast of colors.

Vonda and Patrycja re-stitching their crowns to brims. There are lots of reasons you might want to cut crown away from brim. But at some point you have to re-attach them using a specialty millinery stitch.

The class had finished free-form shaping their parisisal hoods and had taken them outside to dry before heading for lunch. I was on my way to meet them when I turned the corner and saw this fabulous still life of beautifully shaped hats! I rushed back into the classroom to grab my camera because I HAD to document this splash of color. Wow! Wait 'til you see the close-ups below.

Meredith and Carole working on their hoods.

Vonda models Vicki's slate grey, tailored and beautifully simple shape.

LaJudith shows off her swirling pink creation. Very, very nice.

Andre with his smartly embellished free-form hat. A trio of multi-colored roses and a curled peacock sward made for a nice combination.
Vonda was everyone's model of choice. She's one of those ladies who looks good in every style hat she puts on. And she made some great hats of her own too.

Diane and her raspberry free-formed hat, topped with a fabulous loosely formed rose of a variety of plum colors. Diane makes smashing hats and has been a student for several years. She's been selling her hats and has done quite well for herself. Good for you, Diane!

A close-up of LaJudith's pink free-form hat. I just love the soft sweep of this hat. So simple and so stylish.

Patrycja is a Kentucky Derby attendee and wanted to make hats that will be different from the traditional ones we mostly see. I don't know if this hat will make it to next year's Run for the Roses, but I think it would be a stand-out!
Here's another view of her hat. Don't you just love it? She's added a couple of large pearls into the crevices. Only a couple of hats were actually complete enough to be embellished, but as I told the class, the embellishment can take quite a long time to do in terms of deciding what you will embellish with, how much or little, where will it be placed, etc.

Meredith wearing her sister Carole's hat that is styled like a wide-open flower. Would love to see this one once these artistic sisters get done with it!

Carole and another of her hats. Nice twists!

Rose said she was skeptical of the free-form part of the class as she identifies more with traditional big brimmed straws. But she was pleasantly surprised by what she created and was very happy with the outcome. I agree!

Take a natural colored hood, shape it by hand, add some hot pink veiling and some bleached and dyed peacock feathers, and look what you get! Love the shape of this hat, Candice.

Carole and Diane with their blocked capelines. Carole's hasn't been embellished in the picture; Diane choose a braided chain hatband and a smart polka dot bias brim edge. Love 'em, ladies!
I have to say this was one of those magical classes where everyone melded as one big happy family for the weekend. Folks were helping each other with ideas, trading materials, and having a great time. I left Atlanta inspired, exhausted, and ready to do it again soon! Happy hatmaking, Atlanta class!
Millinery classes for the remainder of 2009 can be found on my webpage .