I love experimenting. Not all the hats I make end up with a client; some are made to test a new material or a new technique – and some are made for pleasure.
This first piece was made a while ago – I have always loved fibre optics (must be my seventies childhood). The photo quality is not great here but I do love the impact this makes when lit – and of course you cannot see it in a still photo but the fibres sway beautifully.
Next up a slightly fiercer piece – an experiment with materials again. This time with metal mesh – similar in some ways to the woven sinamay that is a milliner’s staple. This woven metal sheeting will be familiar to sculptors who sometimes use it to form armatures to support clay. The skewer “hat pin” seemed to fit the theme.
Any milliner will tell you that they can be inspired by the oddest things – in my case at one point it was hubcaps. This piece is based loosely around the theme of “re-use” – the small crown is covered in a piece of white leather that was a swatch sample from a sofa shop. The “scarf” is a white bin bag.
Sometimes it is people, not materials, that are the inspiration. None more so than the Queen of unusual headgear Sara Cutting. Sara has raised over £22.000 for Macmillan wearing creations either of her own design or made by some of the most famous milliners in the world. I have had the honour of lending her some of my hats, and also of making some especially for her:
What is the strangest headgear you have ever seen? And what is the oddest thing you have ever worn on your own head?!