Sunday, February 5, 2012

International Millinery Forum--Part 2

Ready for another post about the International Millinery Forum in Australia?  I've decided to post another two entries about my experiences in Australia, and particularly IMF.  This is post #2...scroll down the page for post #1. Post #3 coming up in the next week or so.

OK!  Last post I left you after the fabulous opening cocktail party.  Early the next morning, a Monday, we began classes for the approximately 200 delegates.  Each tutor (instructor) taught 3 full day classes and 2 half-day classes.  My full day class was entitled Dyeing to Make Hats--taught on Mon, Thursday and Friday; my 2 half-day classes, Rock the Block, were taught on Tuesday morning and afternoon.

I was interviewed twice for local television.  IMF is a huge draw for the city of Wagga Wagga and it is widely covered on TV and newspaper, as well as their tourist information bureaus.  Here are a few screen shots of my interview.

Lots of pictures below of the dyeing class, where we concentrated on cold batch application, tie-dyeing, and immersion dyeing.  I'll let the pictures tell the story.

Cold batch application to sinamay, jinsin, raffia, silk straw.

Tie-dye, below, of the same straw yardages--jinsin, sinamay, raffia, silk straw.

Immersion dyeing of hoods and capelines.

Check out the gradient dyeing below!

And a couple of experiments in dip dyeing straw yardage.

And finally, the results! 

I'm thinking those dyed pieces of straw are going to make some incredibly beautiful, interestingly shaded hats and headpieces. 

On to the Rock the Block class, where everyone was learning to make inexpensive fascinator blocks, similar to the ones they had seen at the Trade Expo.  I'm certainly not trying to diminish what blockmakers do, because if you've ever tried to make a block, of any type, you know that the DESIGN is not always as easy to execute as one might think.  There are subtleties that you wouldn't even think about, believe me. 

I was, however, very pleased with the blocks the delegates made, and pleased that they listened when I instructed them to keep the design simple, at least for this first block.  Again, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

We even had a few who finished in time to actually block some sinamay over their new fascinator blocks.

The past two International Millinery Forums have been incredibly fortunate to be able to offer classes by one of Australia's foremost and most highly skilled milliners, Jean Carroll, OAM.  Jean began her career at the tender age of 14.  Yes, 14!  And this year, at the age of 89, she decided it was time to hang up her needle and thimble. 

IMF gave a stirring tribute to Jean at an afternoon reception after classes were over one afternoon. Although Jean didn't teach this year she told me she just couldn't stay away.  We were all so pleased to see her at all the festivities. Sydney milliner Neil Grigg emceed the proceedings and spoke of Jean's wonderful 75 year career.  I can tell you there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

Jean and Neil.  Isn't she gorgeous?  And so very classy!!  Neil, you did an amazing job!

Congratulating Jean on her career.  I asked her what she would now be doing with her days.  She answered she didn't know but that she would enjoy whatever life gave her.  How sweet.

I will leave it there for now.  Honoring Jean is a great place to end this post. 

But one more shot, below, of a very relaxing evening at the local pub with my host family, Kim and Scott; joining us were delegates Helen and Jill from Darwin.  Cheers!

Post #3 will be about the Gala and my last few days in Sydney.  Hope you've enjoyed the post!!


  1. I am glad I found your blog...I have often thought of trying to make hats for Renaissance Faire.

  2. Thanks for writing, Gracie! Find someone to teach you and get started. You'll love making hats! My teaching schedule can be found at