Sunday, July 15, 2012

San Antonio Millinery Block Making Class

 I love San Antonio, Texas!  I've taught here for several years, on and off, and it is always a pleasure to go back.  Above is a colorful shot on their famous Riverwalk.  Margarita, anyone?

From one of the many river taxis that ply the waters, I made this shot of the river entrance to Southwest School of Art, where I'd be teaching.  The school is on the grounds of an old convent and is beautifully landscaped with large trees, shaded verandahs, and a lovely gazebo.  These steps lead from the river up to the school.

Just another beautiful view of the San Antonio River.

Now on to class.  This class was one that had been asked for several times while teaching at the SSA.  Hatblock making is one of my most requested classes, particularly since the hatblock...the building block of millinery, if you will...can be very expensive, especially the more unusual shapes.  We had a full class of 8!

We are using a common building material, found in home improvement stores, to carve our blocks.  I always caution students to keep their first attempts fairly simple.  The more you know about hat blocks and how straws and felts block over them, the more you will know about how block shapes can be rather deceiving in their complexity.

 JJ is adding some detail to her slope tipped crown block.  We carved only crowns in this class, but you can certainly carve brims as well.

Jean works on a fascinator block from some of the residual foam.  Save those knocked off bits for small hats and fascinators! Jean always does great work. 

Rita, one of my long-time SA students, made two blocks in class.  The first is actually covered in the blocked toasty straw you see in the forefront.  Pretty little cloche block that will get lots of action, being that cloches are one of the most sought after hat shapes. In the background she is working on the saucer hat/brim.  You'll see the results further down this page.

Couple of finished blocks.  Note that they are simple in shape but will create some lovely, usable crown or whole hat shapes.

Austin milliner, Laura Del Villaggio was in class.  What an honor to have one of my peers in class.  Above, you see two hats she blocked on the pieces she made in class .Love the simple lines.  My kind of hats, Laura!

And here you see the saucer hat/brim that Rita created from one of her blocks, using windowpane sinamay.  She later sent me a picture of how she finally finished it off...which you see below.


Next blog post will be about my June class in Alexandria, Virginia...lots of fascinators!

Thanks for reading and please pass this blog on to your friends.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Atlanta Crin (Horsehair) Millinery Class

I'm a bit behind in reporting on my 2012 teaching schedule.  I'll be posting the three classes I've already done this year, other the the International Millinery Forum in January. (Find the IMF posts here on the blog.)  Let's start in May, in Atlanta, at the Spruill Art Center.

The class was entitled Crin (Horsehair): Hats, Fascinators & Embellishments.  I decided in this class that I was going to start calling this millinery medium CRIN, not horsehair, which is what we call it in the USA.  Crin is the standard term for this nylon woven braid that is primarily used for bows and rosettes in 'church lady hats' or the ones you see in departments stores.  But there is so much more you can do with crin.  See the following pictures of the ladies in class.

Judy works with a vintage crin with straw woven into the design.  I got this crin from a defunct hat manufacturer in California last year.  It is very nice but not that wide.  Crin comes in many designs and widths.

Love where this fascinator is going.  Good job Patrycja.

Hatsumi, who has studied millinery in Japan, works on her fascinator.

Joyce's nice use of beauty-marked crin in black and white.

Love this abstract design!

Crin fringe!!

Pretty little headband from Gloria, using two colors and textures of crin.

Judy with her vintage crin and lots of colored feathers.

Check out the two pictures of Shanna's full hat of crin.  Pretty little cloche.

Back side of Shanna's cloche.

Hatsumi's full hat. 

Each person did a full hat and then a fascinator.  Crin can be a real bear to tackle but these students did a great job of working with this very versatile millinery medium.

I'll be teach another millinery class in Atlanta, at The Spruill Art Center in September.  Here's the info on that class.

Blocking Hats: Straw/Felt Open Studio
Beginning through advanced milliners will enjoy this class of blocking straws and felts over traditional hatblocks. Studio will make available over a dozen blocks to use over the weekend. Beginners will learn the very basics of steam blocking and more advanced students have an opportunity to block as many hats as they like over the more complex hatblocks. Each will progress at their own comfort level. Learn about the blocking differences in felts, straws and other millinery mediums; puzzle blocks; shaping and couture finishing techniques. Coaching for all skill levels will be available.

Contact Spruill for registration info, fees, etc.

Stay tuned in the next few days for the class posts on San Antonio, Texas and Alexandria, Virginia.

Thanks for reading! Classes for the remainder of the year, throughout the USA, are listed here.