Monday, May 28, 2012
I have just got home from the best workshop I have ever been to, in any capacity. Louise Brooks, from Hats From The Hall was the inspired and inspiring tutor to myself and Clare Hedges ...and that was it! Almost individual tuition. Each of us made three hats, various Fiddly Bits and had a truly wonderful time. It was held at the workshop space of Hat Blocks Direct , a wonderful family firm, really welcoming and knowledgeable about hat making; mum is a milliner herself! Fantastic. Can't overdo the superlatives.
So...what did I make? Well...you can see them above. None of them are completely finished; the saucer, below, has to have its binding completed, whilst the other two are complete hats, but are missing embellishments (as is the saucer, of course...). We started by making a fascinator base by hand (I don't think I've ever stitched so much by hand in my life!), and added sinamay embellishments. I really wanted to make a pillbox hat, so that was next, made over a lovely dimpled hat block. Not bad for one day, huh? Day two, and we made the saucer, which I suppose you could say is half way between a hat and a fascinator; bigger than a fascinator, easier to wear than a hat, and doesn't ruin your hairdo.
I've never felt so at home with techniques and craft. At the end of it, I felt that I have finally found what I want to be doing, the reason for collecting all that knowledge, skill and experience. I LOVE making hats. Clare had just as good a time, and we had a great girly weekend! If you get the chance to learn with Louise, run, don't walk. She is an absolute star (and she hates getting her photo taken...sorry, Louise!!!).
This image shows Clare stitching and listening to Louise in full flow. The 'dolly' or head shaped block on a stand, came home with me (oops...) as did a set of small blocks to make...well, yes, small hats... just don't tell Robin... The one on the far right of the shelf is used for extra large coolie hats, apparently. There were an assortment of hat brims and crown brims and really everything you could possibly want to make hats with. We both loved it, and I really didn't want to come home... but all good things come to an end eventually, don't they.