Their Journey into Millinery with Edwina, Rachel and Noel

Edwina Ibbotson, Rachel Trevor Morgan and Noel Stewart share their journey into millinery. This is part 1 of a series of podcasts from Milliner’s Question Time at London Hat Week 2015.

MQT panel imageLondon Hat Week Logo
For one milliner it was a direct path for another there were many turns along the way. Listen to Noel Stewart, Rachel Trevor-Morgan and Edwina Ibbotson talk about their journey’s into Millinery.

This interview I moderated was recorded live before an audience at McLaren Hall during London Hat Week 2015. I will be releasing the recordings in several 20 minute podcasts. Please sign up for the Hattin’ Around Newsletter to find out when the next episode of Milliner’s Question Time 2015 interview has been posted.

Show notes are below.

Please enjoy getting to know three amazing people and clever London Milliners.
Show Notes:
London Hat Week 2015
Milliners’ Question Time
MacLaren Hall 11-13 Mandeville Place, London

Show Timing:
00:20 Intro
01:20 My introduction of Edwina, Noel & Rachel
01:47 Edwina Ibbotson’s Introduction
02:47 Noel Stewart’s Introduction
03:25 Rachel Trevor Morgan’s Introduction
04:12 Leanne askes about their journey into millinery with Roses & Thorns.
05:16 Noel Stewart shares his journey in millinery.
08:26 Rachel Trevor Morgan shares her journey.
12:23 Edwina Ibbotson shares her journey.
21:06 Conclusion & Thank you’s
Edwina Ibbotson’s Introduction
Milliner for over 20 years
Studied at Fashion Institute of Technology NY with Ann Albrizio
London College of Fashion with Marie O’Regan
Studied with Rose Cory and French milliner Roland Bouget
Work for top London milliner, Philip Somerville
Pieces called for exhibits and photo shoots
Edwina’s designs are couture millinery at its best. Her designs are flirtatious, timeless, romantic with a slight vintage feel and constructed to perfection.
Noel Stewart’s Introduction
Studied at the Royal College of Art
Worked for Designer Dai Rees
Stephen Jones’ assistant at Christian Dior, John Galliano, and Louis Vuitton
Appointed Creative Director at Christy’s & Co. Hats, owned by Liberty
Noel’s inspiration comes from contemporary art and architecture. Whilst using his extensive skills, he modernizes millinery.
Rachel Trevor Morgan’s Introduction
Milliner for 25 years
Operates from her 17th century atelier in St. James’
She is a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Feltmakers
Granted the Royal Warrant of appointment to Her Majesty the Queen
Has a husband and three children.
Rachel is renowned for her beautiful handwork and design. Resulting in a glamorous feminine elegance.

Noel Stewart’s Journey
Lampshade project
Evening course summer holiday
Favorite task is stitching a Petersham
Making furniture – making hats
Dai Rees – steep learning curve
Stephen Jones
Royal College – Millinery MA
Philip Somerville
Stephen Jones
Rose/Thorn – Everyday is different

Rachel Trevor Morgan’s Journey
Traditional foray into millinery
A levels – started focus on the theater
Mother wore a lot of hats to church on Sunday
Wrote to 10 hat companies in West 1 (London), must be good.
Kangol – Graham Smith – met Graham, offerred a job. Best place to learn for 3 years
Philip Somerville – smaller business – met Edwina (Ibbotson) Learned the other side of business
Market stall – Central St. Martins
Little workroom that was rent free
Moved to St. James been there for about 22 years
Rose – adore her job – Thorn – long hours
Love &amp Hate in equal measure
Don’t go home for 3 weeks before ascot

Edwina Ibbotson’s Journey
Photography in Edinburgh
Ice cream parlor – hated it
Rework hats from charity
Nanny in American for a few months
New York – FIT 9 months
Ann Abrizio tutor –
Met Lilly Daché and Mr. John – didn’t fully appreciate it
Course should take 3 yrs, but did it faster
Following boyfriend to Nottingham, decided can’t live here
Had been to Leeds, Manchester, London
Lived in squats
London College of Fashion
Stephen Jones interview, but no job
Marie got her a job at Philip Somerville’s – Mr. Somerville
Marie teaching Carole Denford (The Hat Magazine) there at the same time.
Lunch meet friends and not go back
Class w/ Rose Cory
Class w/ Roland – she lived in Paris
Rachel was very sweet and would let Roland, Edwina, and Andrew use her workroom for a few months.
House model at Philip Somerville’s – holes in jeans, Dr. Martens, hair a mess. “Get Edwina a nice dress”. Occasionally answer the phone. Small workroom, on a busy day had 8 milliners. Older ladies w/ lots of experience
Work experience in Paris – Knocked on Marie Mercie’s door. They glued everything – not impressed but they did good work on the 17 guinea machine.
Princes Business trust, loan & grant
£40 government scheme
Living in squats – amazing houses
Climb through the window
Two different lives – ladies who could afford expensive hats.
Clerkenwell Green
Bridal wear designer
Fashion lady
Same shop for 18 years
Doesn’t sell to trade anymore, mostly private clients
Love going to work everyday
Thorn – ratio of home life & work life.

Thank you to Noel Stewart, Rachel Trevor Morgan and Edwina Ibbotson as well as Becky Weaver from HATalk, Georgina Abbott from Atelier Millinery, and Owen Morse Brown of Guy Morse Brown for their help in coordinating the venue, ticket sales, and audio recording.


A Good Hat Day

I love the charity shop hunt. I don’t know if it is the biological hunter/gatherer instinct or a conditioned response from flea markets and garage sales with my father as a girl, but Monday I hunted and gathered.
Conical pointy
This particular Monday brought me to Tooting, London. A name that always brings a smile to this California born girl. There was a charity shop across the street and I had a few minutes before I’d be missed, so I tucked into the shop. It was a gold mine for me. I rarely find hat books at Charity shops, but this was a good day. I discovered a fun book on felting and making hats, Fabulous Felt Hats by Chad Alice Hagen another was a child’s book The Hairy Hat Man’s House by the Letterland Storybooks and just as I was about to leave, high up in the window display was a wonderful conical straw hat. I’ve been on a bit of a Conical (aka Coolie) shaped hat kick lately. My computer desktop is full of images and my pinterest Hats pinboard is all about conicals right now.
Felt and Harry Hat books
A hat and two books later, I return home to discover that the latest edition of The Hat Magazine has arrived! The first thing that must be done is to flip to the back for the Workroom Technique section. This issue is, “How to Work with Feathers” by Edwina Ibbotson and it did not disappoint.
The Hat Magazine Jul:Aug:Sep 2016
In addition to the Monday, Good Hat Day, I’ve had two “finds” and book shops lately. My eldest daughter is a book junkie. She can’t pass a book shop without wanting to go in. And seeing as I am like that with fabric and hat shops, I can’t fault her. So I end up in a lot more book shops that I would on my own. Over the previous week I discovered two books, The Panama Hat Trail by Tom Miller at Travelling Through and Hats by Colin McDowell at Skoob Books. In true Leanne-form, I have started all of them, but the only one I’ve properly read all the way through is….yes, the children’s book. I am a slow reader, so this back log of books should keep me busy for the remainder of the year and into the next.
Hats n Panama Trail books
Back to the “Good Hat Day”, I then went into work, where I work on the computer doing the marketing, social media, website updates, invoicing, and anything else that needs to be done, while surrounded by beautiful hats and intensely creative skilled people. And to top it all off, hat class, where I could work on my own Conical shaped hat. Three layers of sinamay and I’ve wired the edge so far.
conical rounded

AND THAT is a Good Hat Day to me! Have you had a good hat day? Tell me about it in the comments, and sign up for my mailing list.
Good Hat Day

Amsterdam – Hat shops, Bicycles & more


A long weekend trip to Amsterdam with my family and a quest to visit their local hat shops. I found an artist collective, two great hat shops, a nice fabric & haberdashery, and a funny hat lamp.

Artwear Jordan – Brouwersgracht 145
An artist collective with a focus on women’s fashion, beautiful linen garments, felted hats and jewelry. The founder is a woman from Marin, California. I find American expats all over the place. She was charming and I could have happily worn any of the pieces in her shop.

De Hoed Van Tijn – Nieuwe Hoogstraat 15
A tall gentleman greeted me and graciously answered my questions and allowed photographs. This shop is a mix of hats, not only mens’s and women’s styles but also covering many price points. There are some nice factory hats as well as couture pieces. He told me that his husband designs some of their hats, along with several other milliners. They were arranged by color rather than by designer collections which made for great pictures.

A. Boeken – Fabric & Haberdashery – 31-35 Nieuwe Hoog Straat, Centrum
A respectable fabric store with a vast assortment of fabrics. They take up about three shop fronts, each one unique, with a focus on different things. There was also a lovely yarn shop next door, called Stephen and Penelope Fine Yarn. As you can see in the picture, I was not the only one who was distracted by these shops while walking by.

Oh, good heavens! There is nothing like encountering a “Body Power” naked bike ride while walking over to the last hat shop. I hope you appreciate my careful picture selection of the cyclists from a rear view, having gone past us.

Hoeden M/V – Herengracht 422
A beautiful hat stop and a charming young woman, Bronte, who was gracious and welcoming, to my rather bedraggled family. The shop was really nice with several enchanting displays and variety of hat styles for men and women. They sell pieces from multiple milliners and also have their own brand, called Bronte which is designed by the young woman’s mother. They have shops in Dusseldorf & London. I haven’t been to the London shop yet, but I will go, soon.

On a different topic, I love apple pie. In fact I am a bit of an apple pie snob. It needs to be made with fresh tart apples. Overly sweet, mushy canned apple are extremely disappointing. I have had some amazing apple pies as my Grandma made fabulous apple pie for Thanksgiving every year in California. In California, when ordering an apple pie, you would often have a choice of Apple Pie or Dutch Apple Pie. It wasn’t until I was putting my fork into a glorious big slice of apple pie at Winkles in Amsterdam, that the little a-ha moment happened and I thought, “This is real Dutch Apple pie.” Here is a picture,  as you can see, it does not have a crumble topping. I wonder if it is another example of the word Dutch, being confused for Deutsche, the word for German.

Amsterdam is made of many canals. Brewers canal was gorgeous and our AirBnB place as very small, perfectly eccentric and right on the canal. It was very picturesque.

I love second hand shops and we came across a large one – Episode. It had lots of hats. Actually they had lots of all kinds of clothing and accessories. I escaped without buying anything this time.

Perhaps the most unusual hat item of the trip was a red hat lamp in a store on the square in Harlemmerbuurt.

I dramatically under estimated the bicycle culture of Amsterdam. If I had not taken the picture myself I would think it was a commercial for how civilized a cycle culture can be. This is at the back of the train station by the ferries.

I am curious as to how they manage the derelict bicycles. Our small block of flats here in London constantly struggles with too few racks to lock our bikes as there are old rusty bike that remain locked to the rack, long after their useful life and likely the owners have moved out of the building long ago.

I possibly should have called my blog Hattin’ & Bikin’ around as I love riding my bike. In Amsterdam it is not just a commuting method it is a way of life. These are not what some Londoners call the Lycra brigade, the cyclists in their road racing kit that do battle with London traffic every morning and evening. In Amsterdam, people take their kids to school, pick up the days shopping and go visiting friends, using their bikes. Take a look at a few of the cycle parking lots that were particularly impressive. The first was a triple layer structure outside the central station, little did I realize there was another one on the other side by the ferries.

How about the cycle parking near a concert venue!

Amsterdam was a complete delight with many unique features. It was not the legal prostitution nor the pervasive aroma of canibis smoke that was the most stimulating for me, it was the bikes, and the fabulous hat shops. If you get the chance, it is a lovely place to spend a long weekend.

and remember, Interesting people wear hats.

Feather Class with Ian Bennett

Feather Dyeing, Cutting and making a Feather Mount. The thing with these classes are that in many cases I have the general idea of how to do these things, but it is the little tips and tricks of people who are experts that you pick up by taking a class or working with them in person that makes a huge difference. It is also great to learn different techniques. So learning how to dye and cut feathers from two different expert milliners is not a waste of time, in my opinion.

class feather dye results
Results of feather dyeing in class

I took a great three evening feather cutting, dyeing and feather mounting class at Kensington and Chelsea College, here in London with milliner Ian Bennett.  Ian gave out some lovely pages of notes that included his sketches, which were very helpful. I must admit to sketch envy. I would love to sketch well. You can get a glimpse of an Ian sketch in the corner of the image above from the results of my in-class dyeing.

Acid dyes are best for protein based fibers such as silk, wool and feathers. I experimented using some Jacquard dye I had from a previous silk dyeing project. The dyes were already in liquid form and I diluted them more, so my colours were not as bright as some, however I did like the softness of the muted colours.

I got a tripped up with the 24 hour time the night of my first class.  I saw 18:30 on my calendar, and later remembered 8:30, rather than 6:30.  I was embarrassingly late. I got the notes, but it just is not the same as being there.  Ugh!

A few highlights

Sharp, long blade scissors, lightly pinch the spine, support the blade.

How to cut a feather
How to cut a feather
feather dyeing at home
Feather dyeing at home

Nugget 1 – The ability to dye feathers (and other stuff) is one of the key elements to making unique one of a kind hat or head piece. Being unique helps enable you to charge couture prices for your creations.
Here is my dyeing station at home, aka the kitchen counter. I started with yellow, added a little blue, then added a lot of blue.

Do not boil the feathers, actively dry feathers, especially ostrich so the will return to being fluffy and not look bedraggled.

Nugget 2 – Feathers have personalities. This may seem obvious, but I grasped it on a different level after this class. You can trim them and change their appearance, but consider the “feeling” you want when making a feather mount.  Some feathers are spiky like Biots and others have a “sharpness” like Turkey feathers. On the softer side, with a swaying movement are Coque feathers while a full ostrich feather offers a soft roundness. What about eye catching drama from Lady Amherst and Peacock feathers? Use them to create a tone and establish balance.

my first feather mount
Feather mount made in class

A feather mount is a collection of feathers that are combined onto a wire, so they can be placed on your hat as a single unit. Mine feather mount included goose, biot, hackle and a little bit of ostrich.

Nugget 3 – When making a hat, if you handle it too much it can look tired before you are even finished. By creating feather mounts you can conserve the amount of manipulation you need to do to the hat.

I have put my dyed feathers to use for my daughters school play. I am making 6 head pieces (aka fascinators) for the girls.

dyed feather fascinator
Dyed feather head piece in progress
dyed feather head pieces
Dyed feather head pieces – Pink, Green & Yellow

My Hat in a Gallery!

I would like to introduce, Migration, a hat I made of teal pleated sinamay with hand beaded butterflies and a seed beaded crown. This piece was inspired by a mix of several pieces from the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum of Childhood (MoC).

Migration Morley Gallery

Over the last several months I have designed and made three different hats for three hat contests. Not all the hats made it to the second round of judging, but to my delight I got an email that my hat, Migration, was accepted by the V&A Inspired by… contest and that it would be exhibited at the Morley Gallery in London.

Inspired by acceptance

If you would like to read more about my “Inspired by…” entry, Migration. I am in the Exhibition Catalogue on page 3.
If you want to learn more about the UK based “Inspired by…” contest or details on the exhibition Inspired by…2016 is on exhibit from 17 May 2016 – 17 June 2016. Please check the website for the details regarding opening hours.

Migration 2 Rear Right web

Migration 3 Left web

Migration 4 Features web

I recently attended the Gallery Preview and Awards night at Morley College. It was a thrill to see a hat I made on display in a gallery. I just discovered a video of the event on the Inspired by…website. My hat shows up around :13 as well as my family and I on the left side at 1:21 for 1 second! It was a lovely evening with good weather, fabulous music, and creative people.

Inspired by… is an event for adult learners throughout the UK to submit photos of a piece of art/craft they have created with inspiration from something in the V&A collection. The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. The V&A Museum of Childhood (MoC) is located in Bethnal Green and where I drew my inspiration for this piece. MoC have effectively created a place that is interesting and fun for both adults and children.

I have been attending classes at Morley College for several years and it is a wonderful place to learn new things and meet people. Many of my friendships have grown from classes at Morley.

Migration 5 In Progress

This is a collage of images highlighting the pieces I was inspired by as well as the hat making process.

Inspired by… at Morley Gallery is a small and diverse exhibit, I encourage you to go take a look. It is around the corner from the Imperial War Museum, just a short (5 -15 min) walk from Lambeth North or Elephant & Castle tube stations and Waterloo station.

Loving living in London!

and remember…interesting people wear hats.

London Hat Week
6-12 October 2016

London Hat Week Logo
Registration for London Hat Week Opens on 20 May 2016! Milliners, Hatters and Headwear enthusiasts 6 thru 12th of October 2016 is a great time to be in London. There will be many workshops and events for you to learn new skills, meet master milliners, and talk with like minded people.

If you want to see the master schedule of all the things going on for LHW2016, go to London Hat Week..

If you want to see more about the workshops I am hosting and sign up for them, go to Workshop & Events Page.

Peaks workshop image
Petersham workshop image
Pricing & Spreadsheet tools image 3
Milliner's Roundtable Items

I have enjoyed participating in this event for the last couple of years and each one gets better. Last year I hosted the Milliner’s Question Time and a Milliner’s Roundtable Discussion. Both event were very well received and fun to host. At the end of the week I was knackered while being creatively and emotionally energized!

This year I am again hosting the Milliner’s Roundtable Discussion as well as expanding my offering to include some practical hands on millinery skills in A Study of Peaks and The Milliner’s Ribbon – Petersham. In an effort to keep some balance and since many of us creative/maker types find pricing our products difficult, I thought a course on a Pricing Spreadsheet and Other Useful Tools would be helpful. I love spreadsheets and worked for many years in technical support, training and marketing for spreadsheets.

You may have noticed that there currently isn’t a Milliner’s Question Time (MQT) listed. This may change, however in the meantime, I will work on posting last year’s MQT 2015 podcast with Edwina Ibbotson, Rachel Trevor Morgan and Noel Stewart.

I love the attitude of mutual learning and sharing of ideas that is found during London Hat Week and would love to meet and share ideas about millinery, technology and business with you.

and remember… interesting people wear hats.

Heads and Tales
by Aage Thaarup

Aage Thaarup book cover image

Heads and Tales by Aage Thaarup is a book I saw at Jane Smith‘s class at Morley College as well as in her workroom, then I saw it referenced in the Forward of Susie Hopkins book, The Century of Hats as part of the forward written by Philip Somerville.  The cover sleeve image alone is enticing enough, but the combination of all three was irresistible. I had to read it.

“I can’t go no lower,” said the Hatter. “I am on the floor as it is. . . .” Alice in Wonderland

It was an intriguing opening quote. It didn’t sound up beat or encouraging. An odd way to start a book.  However by the end of the book, I understood.  The book was first published in 1956 and Aage Thaarup had already experienced a roller coaster ride through starting up a couture millinery business, a World War, money issues and a passion for travel.


The book is a fabulous collection of stories told by Aage Thaarup that conveys not just his experiences and attitudes but it also reflects a different era. There are many of references to Princess Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and other society ladies.

Aage Thaarup (1906–1987) was a Danish-born milliner who ran a celebrated hatmaking business in London from the 1930s up to the 1970s. His hats adorned many famous and beautiful heads.

He made hats for the Queen Mother and her princess daughters, later one of them would become Queen.
queen mother in Aage design

A young Queen Elizabeth needed a hat for Trouping the Colour, which is the queen’s official birthday, not to be confused with her actual birthday (earlier this week – 21 April 1926). This would become arguably his most famous hat.

young queen trouping the colours

What I enjoyed about the book was Mr. Thaarup’s determination and resilience.  Although money management was not one of his strengths.

He was creative, resourceful and brave. Heads and Tales was written while he was trying to recover from his second round of bankruptcy.  He describes how low he was at the time, which clarified why he choose the opening Alice in Wonderland quote I mentioned above.

He seemed to cultivate a good relationship with the press as well as clients and could design with different ends in mind, some for  attention and some for beauty.

Aage Thaarup hat on model

Vogue cover feb 1949

Being from California, I believe California’s generally align with Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Sacramento. I am from the San Jose Bay Area, also known as Silicon Valley and the small(ish) coastal town of Santa Cruz and although I am not from San Francisco, I feel like it is my representative Californian city, and thus felt a sense of pride when I encountered the following quote on page 204.

“I flew back to San Francisco, where people were polite, where the waiters side “Thank you”, and everybody was rather nicely dressed, as befits a city with a soul.”

Other places to see Aage Thaarup and his hats are the V&A as well as some British Pathe films.

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) has a few Aage Thaarup pieces. They have much of their collection online which is an extremely useful reference.

Pink Velvet Hat by Aage Thaarup from the V&A Collection.

Aage Thaarup in V&A pink velvet

Daisy hat by Aage Thaarup in the V&A Collection.Aage Thaarup hat in V&A collection daisy

British Pathe films – Aage Thaarup designs a hat to look like Royal Albert Hall on British Pathe.

Which seems odd, until you read his book and realize that for a while he was popular for making hats resembling landmarks after doing a hat resembling the Rangitoto volcano while visiting New Zealand.

Aage Thaarup British Pathe

There are several more British Pathe Movies of Aage Thaarup. They are just a couple of minutes and good fun to watch.

In summary, Heads and Tales was an easy read mostly told through anecdotes about travels, clients, WWII, and millinery. It is a reflection of his journey from a small boy in Denmark to a couture milliner in London, starting over again in 1956. It was interesting, educational and inspiring.

When asked which is his favorite hats, “My favourite hat — is the hat I am going to make tomorrow .”

and remember…Interesting people wear hats.

A Hat for My Husband

I have finished my first hat for my husband. I think he looks very handsome in it and you know…. Interesting people wear hats. This hat is a midnight blue fur felt trilby with a simple leather band trim.

jeff 8 midnight felt common

Here are some photos of the process… at this point he wasn’t too sure about this whole hat thing.
jeff 1 midnight felt start

He is still uneasy about were things are going
jeff 2 midnight felt 2 pieces

The brim is being blocked using a brim block that I carved last summer in Jane Smith’s block carving class at Morley College.
Jeff 3 midnight felt brim

Jeff is tall and my original crown shape had a fairly deep crevice in the top which made the hat sit high on his head. The combination would have made riding the London Tube a little difficult. I didn’t want to carve a new crown block so it was time to do some hand shaping.  I was able to combine steam from my kitchen kettle with an egg iron in a stand (thank you Susie Hopkins), a head block, along with some tips from a great video on hand shaping a hat by Kevin from Pork Pie Hatters. It took some time but looks much better.
jeff 5 midnight felt hand shape 2

The hat is getting closer and Jeff is starting to believe that it might actually be wearable in public. There was still a significant amount of cutting, brushing, sanding and stitching to go, but I was getting excited to see the finished hat on Jeffrey.
jeff 7 midnight felt almost done

He wore his new hat to the Hidden London Underground tour we took last weekend at the Charing Cross Tube station. It was a good tour and he looked so handsome in his fur felt trilby, despite the high vis vest.
jeff 9 midnight felt hidden tour

Hatting Happiness is both of us wearing hats I’ve made. I love my green velvet 8 piece cap with hand dyed silk lining.

and remember… interesting people wear hats.

Hats 1740 – 1780
by Jean-Étienne Liotard, artist

Liotard was known for his amazing detail in painting the fashion of the day, which was the mid to late 18th century.  The sitters often wore hats and they were painted with fantastic detail which is very interesting for people like me who are a bit obsessed with hats.

Jean-Étienne Liotard exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts (commonly referred to as “The Royal Academy” has now closed, sorry, but if someone asks if you want to see a Liotard exhibit, do not make my mistake and ask if they mean the stretchy garment that dancers wear.

Marie Adelaide of France, Dressed in Turkish Costume
Liotard Simon Lutrell Turban
Jean-Etienne Liotard. Simon Lutrell of Lutrellstown, 1753-54

He was know to travel a lot so there are a variety of styles of head wear, of which the turban was featured in many pictures. I am quite fond the turbans, particularly the glamorous movie star style. These images highlighted the many ways of doing the wrapping and folding found in a turban.

Jean-Etienne Liotard Laughing Self Portrait
Jean-Étienne Liotard, Laughing (Self-portrait), c.1770

Jean-Étienne Leotard was a man before his time when it came to personal promotion. This late 18th Century self portrait shows a large smile, missing tooth, toque hat and turkish style of dress. Another unusual element is that he is not holding a paint brush but instead is pointing his finger. These elements were unique for the time.

Lady Ann Somerset, Countess Of Northampton

Liotard’s use of pastels is also noteworthy,  my friend, Dusia who coordinated the visit, brought to my attention his common use of two specific colors which he uses in nearly all his paintings, a beautiful blue (“rich sonorous blue” or “electric blue”, and a salmony red. It is interesting how consistently these colours appear in his paintings.

Jean-Étienne Liotard - Portrait of Marie Fargues, in Turks costume
Marie Fargues

Grown-Up tip – To avoid the sleepy feeling I often get at museums & exhibits, I have discovered that if I focus my attention on a particular interest, such as hats and head pieces, my endurance in greatly improved. I have used a similar technique with my children, by asking them what they are going to look for, or offer a suggestion of what animal they can find.

Liotard exhibit
Unofficial name: Its all about the hat
Leanne Dusia Kitty at Liotard RA
Me (Leanne), Dusia, and Kitty – my museum buddies.

Thank you to Dusia and Kitty, for a fun afternoon of learning and inspiration.

I will keep my eye open for more Liotard paintings. I really enjoyed the subjects, the use of colour and of course the Hats.

And remember, interesting people wear hats.

at Elephant and Castle

Hurray a new millinery supply place in town that is close to me. This could be dangerous.

Back in October, I rode my bike over on a Tuesday and was greeted by the owner Michelle. has been around awhile online, but has just opened a physical shop at  The Art Works Elephant which is around the corner from the Elephant and Castle tube station in London at Elephant Road & Walworth Road. Look for the orange door inside the courtyard.

Petershams at Art Works Elephant
Petershams look for the orange door

Petershams has a lovely selection of sinamay and feathers.

Sinamay feathers petershams
Sinamy and feathers

Shelves of basic hat bodies, combs, headbands, veiling, etc.

Supplies Petershams
Miscellaneous Millinery Supplies

And a few skeins of strip straw. This red was so amazingly vibrant. I was very tempted, but I already had a table full of feathers, sinamay, and tubular crin.

strip straw Petershams
A few skeins of strip straw

Let us not forget the petersham ribbon.

A variety of petersham ribbon

The shop is small and does not have every size of every colour, of every item, but it probably does have something that will work. And if you are in need of ideas, she has a box of vintage hats under the cutting table that are good fun to look at and try on. I thought these two were fun. The red straw with strawberries and the little beehive of tiny blue tubular crin.

red vintage hat petershams
tiny tublecrin vintage hat petershams vintage hats under the cutting table

Michelle is also from California. How many people do you think are from California, living in London and making hats? More than two?

Michelle Petershams
Here is Michelle Osborne the owner of

And if all of this is not enough, Michelle has a new puppy, that can be found in the back workroom. I am sorry that I didn’t get a photo of puppy cuteness.