In-Studio Perspectives

It sure doesn’t take long for me to make a mess of the studio. Before vacation, I had put everything away, tidied up, cleaned even. Today has been a blocking marathon with some other projects mixed in.

The biggest project I’m working on is my entry for the Kentucky Derby Museum Hat contest. It’s coming together with the red hat on the block, the polka dot sinamay and feathers. I will post a photo of the finished product next week.

Here’s a look at my formerly orderly workroom….

block 2



Vintage Hat Friday

What a gorgeous piece this is! It’s a finely woven straw cartwheel hat topped with navy chiffon roses all around the edge of the brim. A pretty velvet ribbon surrounds the shallow crown and a custom-made-to-match hatpin secures it. The label reads Marche Exclusive. According to Hatatorium, the store was in New York and the designer was mentioned and/or advertised in fashion magazines in 1940s. The hat is nearly perfect; there’s a small area where the wire is poking through the grosgrain binding. It recently found a home with a happy vintage hat lover!

navy a


navy label

In-Studio Perspectives

I’m often asked where my ideas and inspiration come from. Here’s a simple example. These pretty flowers are on my windowsill at home (I often keep flowers there). Thoughts and memories of nature are with me always.

Isn’t it interesting how this fascinator looks related to the flowers? This wasn’t something I did intentionally; in fact, the fascinator was made before the flowers even arrived. Interesting!

Wouldn’t this be pretty for a non-traditional bridal headpiece? Maybe I should add a birdcage veil….



Vintage Hat Friday

Another pretty cartwheel for spring. This one is a lovely soft pink straw wide brim with a loopy straw brim and shallow crown. Netting surrounds the brim and secures at the back of the hat with two custom-made-to-match hatpins. The designer is Phil Strann, a California milliner who designed in the 1950s. You can find it for sale in my Etsy store.

Phil Strann Front

Phil Strann Front

Phil Strann Back

Phil Strann Back



In-Studio Perspectives

Every year in January I set some goals for What a Great Hat. One of this year’s is to apply to more gallery-style art shows. I applied to have my work displayed at the Dairy Barn Art Center in Athens, Ohio for “Art We Use,” a national exhibition of objects both everyday and special. I’m so excited that my work has been accepted to be in the exhibit!

The Dairy Barn jury received submissions from 131 artists from 36 states and three countries; over 330 pieces and 600 images to consider. The jurors selected 69 artists for the exhibition with a total of 128 works.

Photos of the three pieces I submitted are below. The first piece, “Checks and Balances” will be in the show as well as the second photo, “Not So Vanilla Swirl,” which also received an honorable mention! I hope to visit the exhibition and will post photos when possible. Which of the three is your favorite?

The exhibition opens June 20 and runs through September 7. For more information on the Dairy Barn Arts Center, click here.



Dairy Barn 1



Style Monday

(From the Met’s website: “The inaugural exhibition of the newly renovated Costume Institute at The Met in NYC examines the career of the legendary twentieth-century Anglo-American couturier Charles James (1906–1978). Charles James: Beyond Fashion explores James’s design process, focusing on his use of sculptural, scientific, and mathematical approaches to construct revolutionary ball gowns and innovative tailoring that continue to influence designers today. Approximately seventy-five of James’s most notable designs will be presented.” The exhibit is open through August 10, 2014.

What a treat it would be to see this exhibit! You no doubt saw some of the gowns worn by celebrities at the opening night gala. Here are two of James’s gowns and the incomparable Sarah Jessica Parker in an amazing Oscar de la Renta gown. Pure fashion fantasy!

Charles James SJP



All images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Website



Vintage Hat Friday

This week’s hat is so elegant! I’s a nice quality navy straw cartwheel hat with a cutaway back. It is covered with tiny velvet and silk calla lilies. So pretty and feminine. The designer is Henry Margu, who designed hats from the 1940s to the 1960s. This one looks very 1950s to me. It’s available for sale in my Etsy store.



In-Studio Perspectives

One of the most rewarding hats to make is the turban. It had never gone out of style, but it’s a style that not everyone is comfortable wearing. The fabric draping on the turban is done on the bias. Draping sometimes takes on a life of its own as the material almost comes alive with its unique personality.

I had the pleasure of making a silk turban recently as a custom order. The hat was purchased by a young woman who loves hats, style, and has the confidence to wear it beautifully. Here’s the finished piece.

turban a

turban c

turban b