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.

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