Getting Lucky in Ireland

My last visit to Ireland was February 1998, so when California friend, Laura, suggested we meet up there this Autumn, I was all in. Arriving at the Dublin airport, I was delighted to see a larger than life, image of milliner Martha Lynn, representing the craft of Millinery.  I love when millinery gets visibility, especially on a large scale.

Thanks for advice from my London friend, Lis, we went to Bray. It was the perfect balance of things to do without being a busy city. We enjoyed a couple days of coastal hiking, exploring, shopping and a few pints. 

I brought home a little treasure from Greystones Antiques. This simple little buckle I am sure will end up on a hat.

Laura and I headed north to enjoy the streets and treats of Dublin for a couple days before returning to our respective families. We grabbed the first Sightseeing bus we came to, for a quick tour of the highlights of Dublin, then it was time to go hat shop hunting.


I feel like I found the pot of gold on the first shop, which was Anthony Peto‘s hat shop. Thank you Anthony and Petra for taking time to talk to me without any notice.


Anthony’s main showroom and workshop are in Paris where employs a full team of skilled crafts people. His Paris business has been around for 25 years, while his Dublin shop has been open since 2015. Anthony Peto hats are stylish and well crafted. He offers a variety of styles for men and women. While grabbing the like to his site, I re-discovered this video showing one of Anthony’s team, making a strip straw hat in about 7 minutes.  Anthony Peto’s website news page. I would love to have one of those sewing machines and a straw spinner like he is using.

While trying to find another milliner in Powerscourt Centre, Dublin, I stumbled across a costume design exhibit called Frame 7 by Marion Cuddy.  There were some hats, which is always delight. I believe the milliner was Michael Mullins.
Nearby was milliner and fashion blogger Jennifer Wrynne’s boutique. She been a milliner since 2011 and opened the boutique in 2016. Her hats were primarily special event hats.

I love window displays that include headwear, especially when it is clever and creative. Thank You, Irelands Eye .  On a side note: I wish the fashion magazines did a better job of including headwear in their features.

Inspiring, brave and bold, Claire Garvey Couture makes crazy fun hats and clothes. Claire had recently bought her shop after 18 years in business. I think this is what she said, I was so agog looking at stuff I didn’t write it down. Congratulations Claire!

I feel very lucky to have met two amazing hat designers and visit their shops, made a couple of new friends (Kelly & Lynette) and most importantly, connected with my long time friend, Laura. Until next time, Ireland, Thank you.

Bridport Hat Festival 2017

Bridport is a small villiage in Dorset, in the south of England, just 1.5 miles from the English Channel. I had heard of the Bridport Hat Festival for several years and this year I finally entered images of a hat in the contest. I was delighted to have been shortlisted and sent in my hat for judging. I took the train/bus down from London on Friday afternoon in early September. If you can get a seat with a table,  long train rides are perfect for finishing a hat and meeting nice people.

There were hats in nearly every Bridport shop window and the charity shops had loads of hats for sale at great prices. Above are my favorite charity shop finds of the weekend, although I didn’t buy any of them. An eccentric grey hat by Pop Goes the Weasel, a lovely but far too small, white felt by Graham Smith for Fortnum & Mason. A Frederick Fox in a fawn with black ribbon & flower trim and another no-label hat with loads of stitching.

From Bridport I enjoyed a walk that lead me by the river then through three fields,  down to West Bay for the evening. (Images L-R, water mill by brewery-Bridport, Harbour West Bay, Dorset Coast – West Bay, Station Kitchen – West Bay). It was a gorgeous day and I savored a delicious dinner at the Station Kitchen. I appreciated a cozy night’s stay at a vegetarian B&B, The Old Mill House in Bridport.

The Old Mill House was not much to look at from the street, but had gracious hosts and a small bridge over the river in their serene garden.

The highlight is seeing the variety of hats. A lovely couple wore Twin Peaks, hemp hats from Kathmandu by Elephant Road, a couple in matching outfits, and my strip straw hat with wavy border and vintage flowers.  I think this hat below, a hand felted scene of Poseidon/Neptune was stunning. Can you see the horses coming out of the sea foam on the left and sea creatures following behind on the right?

The Bridport Hat Festival is a fundraiser for various charities. One of which is Brain Tumour Research. They seem to be at a lot of the events I attend. I like collecting their annual hat designer badges.

At one of the charity fundraising stands a gentleman was enjoying selling 2nd hand hats by coming up with some outrageous claims. I bantered with him a few moments, then just as I was ready to decline and depart, I saw another unlabeled stitched beret, in gold and it fit me. If you’ve been following my blog posts, I have come across several of them in my adventures in Southern England. Who made these hats? The price was right and it came home with me. 

More crazy hats from jesters to lampshades. A couple who went with a breakfast theme of a skillet with bacon & eggs and a large fried egg.  Hats with loads of stuff on them to a US political themed hat.

Then in the vendors hall I spotted this little wire framed gem. I will be teaching a wire frame half hat class during London Hat Week in 2018, Cocktail Half Hat with Daisies. It also came home with me, as another sample of how versatile the wire frame technique is to make charming hats.

The vendors hall featured several milliners and hat makers. Here are a few.  From Left to Right. Fairytale Chic, Humphry Hats, International Feltmakers Association, and Hats-A-Head. I love all their creativity and craftsmanship.

Finally, the catalyst for my journey the Milliners and Hatters Open Competition.  The hats were on display all day in the Town Hall. At the end of the day the hall was cleared, then set with chairs with a center aisle. Each hat was modeled and awards were given.  I didn’t bring home any prizes but it was fun to have my hat on display and then modeled at the end. The hat on the far right was the overall winner. I think they will eventually get photos of the hats on the Bridport Hat Festival website.

My learning opportunity came when the hats were modeled. Despite having a center back mark and comb for placement, my hat ended up backwards and on the wrong side of the model’s head. Luckily it looked beautiful from all sides, but it really would have shown better if it had been worn properly. Live and learn, next time I’ll make it super obvious. 

Bridport was a lovely town and we had great weather. I think it would be a good place to take my family for a little holiday in the future.  Thank you Bridport for a fun day out.

Cycling in Germany along the Danube

We did something new for this summer holiday. Cycling with family and friends along the Danube in Germany.  In my case it was Hattin’ Around the Danube.

How do you like the cycling caps I made for everyone? I used a free pattern by Dill Pickle. The pattern, instructions and caps were great, however I found the pattern ran a little small. Most of us needed the “large” and the 23.5″ (59.6 cm) head needed the “xl”. We used fabric pens to sign and decorate the caps.

Regensburg, Germany was a great place to start our trip. Architecture, history, river, good food and the start of what could be called the ice cream trail. It also had the best hats & hat shops of the trip.

HutKönig is a long establish hat shop with an excellent reputation and helpful staff. The couture felt hats were gorgeous. I loved the shapes, the colors and layered trims.

Take a look at their old glass tank steamer and hidden behind, a burgundy embosser with gold tape. Mental note, add embosser to the hatting/millinery equipment wish list.

I took loads of photos of hats, but this little miniature millinery shop was too cute to leave out of the post. They are made from real straw, felt and lace. I love digital zoom.

HutKönig actually had 5 hat blocks for sale. All of which were for small head sizes, but I can put a sock on it. I decided on this one after much deliberation.  I was hesitant to buy too many hat blocks on the first day of our trip, although the tour company moved our bags from place to place.

Lilo  is a marvelous small hat shop. Lilo, herself, was absolutely lovely and kind enough to take a few minutes to talk with me. Her hats are charming and her look is distinctive. I saw a few of her hats in boutiques elsewhere in Regensburg and recognized them as Lilo’s.

Straubbing, Germany was met with a hot and exhausted group of cyclists. I brightened up when I saw this adorable little fellow in a straw hat with his parents in the town square. 

I spotted one hat shop called Luise Danner der Hutladen, but sadly we were pedaling again the next morning before they opened.

Deggendorf, Germany was the smallest of the towns we stayed in. It was also the shortest day of cycling which is good as it had been very warm for this London based family. We arrived early enough to have a look about and the hat shop was still open.

Olga’s Hut und Mode was several rooms, upstairs with a friendly poster of Olga, pointing the way. Olga was in the shop and kindly allowed photos, but we had language issues. I told her about my blog and gave her a card, she nodded and then showed me a selection of blue hats. To be fair, blog starts with “B” and my card has a blue hat on it. If only I’d followed through with my Duolingo German lessons.

Passau, Germany is where the confluence of three rivers join, the Inn, the Ilz and the Danube. They are often represented by three colors, Green, Black and Blue respectively.

I located one hat shop, Edelweiss & Rosenrot but they didn’t want any photos inside the shop which is unfortunate as their displays were upholstered in bright green moiré.

It was a wonderful trip with loads of ice cream for the kids, a fair bit of käse spätzle (German style Mac n’ Cheese) which just might be my favorite german food and the guys enjoyed a little beer.  Fun, friends, family, cycling and hats. It was a good holiday.

 

KCC Millinery HNC 2017 Collections

Kensington & Chelsea College (KCC)
Higher National Certificate (HNC) Year End Collections 2017
Hosted on 1 June 2017 at Kensington & Chelsea College, London UK.

This year was another delightful exhibition of some talents new millinery designers. The nervous excitement could be felt throughout the room as the milliners stood beside their collections to meet, greet and answer questions about their work.  There were fabulous shapes and creative use of materials, everything you would hope to see at a millinery exhibit. The milliners are listed in order of how I walked around the room. Thank you for an inspirational evening. 

Natalia Volkova – Wild Orchids

 

Alex Thompson – Cabinet of Curiosities

 

Phoebe Leung – Phoebe Pheo Millinery – Lost Stars

 

Odette & Elliott – An Evening at the Opera

 

Teresa Briz – Mandala

 

Chelsea Ratcliffe – Micha Millinery – Cygnet Collection 

 

Irina Dobrovolska – Irina Bluebird Millinery – Meditation

 

Heather Ogilvie – Fibonacci

 

Gemma Fox – Gothic Allure

 

Hannah Lewis – Hatterly – Fluidity, Movement & Motion

Carole Denford of The Hat Magazine, was spotted at the event. That woman must have Hermione’s time turner from Harry Potter, because she is everywhere.

Farewell KCC, until next year. I couldn’t resist this lovely image of the Imperial Wharf Station looking toward the Design Center as dusk.

My pictures really do not do the hats  and head pieces justice. I would highly recommend that you come to the exhibit next year, it is open to the public. Congratulations milliners you are off to a great start. I hope to see you Hattin’ Around. LF

p.s. I have included links to website that were available on their cards at the event. If I have made any errors, please let me know.

 

 

HATstock Report – Talks

I have been wanting to go to The Hat Works Museum in Stockport for  years.  HATstock made it happen for me. However, I am going to need another day to go up and see the Museum properly.

This was a high density day. Early train ride from London, new city and venue, 6 talks, each lasting 30 minutes, exhibits from milliners with varied styles and materials, a market place of lovely millinery supplies and a beautiful museum. Concluded with a quick search for a sandwich and a 3 hour journey back home. Only for hats or a sick child can I endure that dense and lengthy of a schedule.

Presentations were informative and entertaining, which is a very good combination. Here is a highlight of the talks I attended.

Nick Parkin of Parkin Fabrics
The History and Production of Sinamay movie

Here is a trailer of the movie, but the whole movie is only available through a Parkin Fabrics presentation.

Nick also passed around various samples of sinamay materials. A very light weight and soft fabric used for making wedding garments for the very hot Philippine environment. Unlike the much stiffer sinamay we use for hats.

Then the tighter weave and panning of sinamay which makes what we call pinokpok which is also used for hats.

Sophie Cooke, Amanda Moon, and Siobhan Nicholson
The Hat Stand
Journeys into Millinery

Sophie did a great write up of their talk and Hatstock. I can even prove I was there. This is me in the front row wearing a black cap with Harris Tweed trim and my Hat Case at my feet. If you want to read the whole Hatty Heaven blog article.

Here are a few links for The Hat Stand Sheffield and the specific millinery sites for Sophie Cooke’s Imogen’s ImaginationSiobhan Nicholson Millinery’s Etsy shop, and Amanda Moon Headwear.

Bink of Pearls & Swine
Social Media and Selling Online

Bink is as bubbly to talk with as she is in appearance. I have seen the Pearls and Swine brand in my social media sites, but I cannot tell which one: Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.  With a name like Pearls and Swine I didn’t forget.

Her social media advice was great. Although a bit vague on specific actionable steps which I would have liked, her messages were powerful and clear.

  • Be active on social media it is much cheaper and reaches further than a brick and mortar shop.
  • Make it fun for readers.
  • Be genuine, creative and different.
  • Build excitement and anticipation in your promotions.

Bink has marketing mojo in more than just social media. When I visited her millinery exhibit, she gave me a little goodie bag with her card, as well as cards of other people. She too is leveraging relationships with other vendors, less formal than The Hat Stand ladies, but still valuable. Look at all these little treasures in the pink and white striped goodie bag.

Bink has several lines of hats and headwear.  Pearls and Swine and Temptress of Waikiki

Rupert Battersby
Battersby Hats of Stockport

Rupert told stories told through narration of old photographs that had been lost for generations in various family homes. The pictures had all the costume and glamour of a BBC period drama. Rupert’s sense of humor and story telling was amusing. It was riveting to see these very old pictures and hear stories.  Some challenges, some victories, and the elegance of a wealthy family long ago.

Battersby Hats of Stockport, An Illustrated History, by Rupert Battersby.


The Hat factory which has evolved over the years. The large water tower on the left was built after the hat works burnt twice.  However once the water tower was built they never had a fire. I suppose the water tower indirectly did the job.

Georgina Abbott and Becky Weaver
LHW goes Regional

I’ve known Georgina and Becky, the founders of London Hat Week since the first London Hat Week several years ago. I always enjoy talking with them. They were at HATstock to promote the idea of building regional hat events. If the energy and excitement of HATstock is any indication, it is a great idea. Personally I would love to visit more regional events. Georgina Abbott owns Atelier Millinery and Becky Weaver is the editor of HATalk.

Here I am pictured with Bronwen (the coordinator of HATstock) on the left, Becky & Georgia in the center, and me to the right.

Sharon Bainbridge
A Woman’s Hat is Close to Her Heart

I loved Sharon’s presentation. It was a mix of slide show and commentary on hats and the creation of identity. How a hat can change your mood as well as your persona. She touched on the idea of a milliner as a technical crafts person and having the artistic vision to generate a transformation of the wearer.
Sharon is very knowledgeable about hats and history and her diverse career path is fascinating. From lawyer to milliner, to Leeds College of Art tutor to exhibit curator. I would like to spend more time with Sharon and attend more of her talks.

I love getting together with milliners. They are a diverse and interesting mix of people with marvelous stories and skills with a common interest in hats. I came home exhausted but my hatting cup was full.

Thank you all for a great day.

London Hat Week 2016 Wrap Up

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Leanne with Stephen Jones.

London Hat Week 2016 (LHW2016) was a success! My workshops were well attended with good reviews.  I packed in as many event as possible and loved the variety. Everything from the Hat Walk with Laird Hatters, Champagne High Tea at the Villandry, The Hilary Alexander and Stephen Jones interview at the Dirty Martini, Hat Exhibition at Coventry University in London and movie night at The Cinema Museum to watch the documentary, Mad about Hats. Here is my summary of the week. Note: the following video sometimes loads slowly.

London Hat Walk and Interviews from Phase 7 on Vimeo.

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Impromptu photoshoot with dapper fellows from Laird Hatters
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Milliner from Netherlands and Ana Pribylova from UK/Australia

Hat Walk with year was a little different than the last couple and I’d say very successful. Laird Hatters sponsored the event and we were treated to a spot of tea and cake at The Espresso Room to start our journey at their New Row shop and a reward for finishing at their shop on The Strand with a lovely chocolate and a little tipple. The walk route was good fun featuring a leisurely stroll to Trafalgar square, where we stopped to take photos, chat and regroup, then continued on to the end point. I met several fabulous women from the Red Hat Bees of Bardwell, a woman from Scotland, as well as the Netherlands and Spain.

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Delightful Milliner from Scotland
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Avid hat wearer and photographer

There was also an Interview of Georgina Abbott and Becky Weaver, Founders of London Hat Week.

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Hilary Alexander and Stephen Jones interview each other at the Dirty Martini in London, Oct 2016

The Stephen Jones interview by Hilary Alexander was absolutely charming. The two had a lovely chemistry that comes from years of working in the fashion industry where they were familiar with the same people over many decades. The venue, Dirty Martini was fun and interesting but ill suited for this event. Many of he attendees I have met over the years. It felt like a fun reunion.

 

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Guy Morse-Brown Hat Blocks at the LHW Market

The Market Place venue had amazing murals and architecture, but I stayed focused and true to my mission to explore the millinery supplies. 😉  I alway love a chat with Catherine and Owen of Guy Morse Brown.

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Masario at the LHW Market

I bought a few bits from Masario and some felts and Petersham from Parkins.

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My pretty new orange felt hood and matching Petersham from Parkin at the LHW Market
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Who knew you could get Ostrich leg leather at Walter Reginald at the LHW Market.

I am looking forward to heading over the East London to visit the ladies at Walter Reginald, leather specialist. They were fantastically helpful and educational. Who knew there is Ostrich leg leather. I am also wanting to try out fish leather. I touched it for the first time, and was surprised at how “leathery” it felt.

Hattin’ Around Classes and Milliner’s Roundtable at London Hat Week 2016

@Mrs_Gaskett picture on instagram of nautilus she made in class.

My first cockade workshop with #hattinaround great session #LHW

A photo posted by mrs_gaskett (@mrs_gaskett) on

A Study of Peaks workshop covered a lot of tips and techniques on materials and shapes.

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Milliners Ribbon – Petersham workshop, learning about basic things, how to make a head fitting and shrinkage to advanced trimmings such as Cockades and the Nautilus. I also demonstrated how to do some vintage trimming from hats in the V&A Museum of Childhood collection.

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The students were a delight. I had people from all over the world with varying levels of interest from ladies who have been in the millinery business for 20 years, to others who enjoy it as a hobby. I received great reviews and everyone said they learned something new.

A big huge thank you to Baxter Hart and Abraham for their generosity of ribbon and information about Petersham. Go see them for supplies, they are in Luton and have always been wonderful to me. The best part is they are patient with new milliners.

Milliner’s Roundtable

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There were lots of good tips from the Milliner’s Roundtable.  A mix of milliners  from Australia, France and a strong showing from the UK crowd.  Several ladies from the South London as well as two who are near the same village in southern England, who knew of each other but had never met. Here are some ideas to help build awareness and a following that I really appreciated:

  • Giving talks at a local venue about hats or hat making?
  • Doing a charity fundraiser that features your hats, like a ladies tea with hats being modeled?
  • Approaching an empty shop owner who might appreciate an attractive window display while waiting for a new tenant.

Champagne High Tea at the Villandry was fun, but perhaps a poor choice of events to attend, as I had cut out refined sugar and alcohol from my diet. I have been to better venues for High Tea in London, but I always like trying some place new. The best part was getting to chat with charming people from the UK and Europe. We even swapped photos of hats we liked at the exhibition.

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Movie Night at The Cinema Museum, the Museum is in the Victorian magnificence of the old Lambeth Workhouse, where Charlie Chaplin spent time as a child, in Kennington.  It isn’t the easiest of places to find but it is a treasure.  I joined other milliners to see an informative and interesting movie about the making of fur felt, the plight of the beaver and the impact of mercury used in hat making. Mad about Hats was a labour of love for director Olivier Vandersleyen and his family. Here is the Mad about Hats trailer.

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I am seated in the grey fedora, next to the sign. The director and his wife are standing behind the sign, hatless.

Hat Exhibition at Coventry University, London was a sight to behold. Hats from around the world in many ways. I posted several pictures on my Facebook page.

So much of millinery and hatting is done in isolation, at least for me. Late evenings or while my children are at school. London Hat Week is an opportunity to connect with people of similar interest from all over the world.  Thank you Becky Weaver of HATalk and Georgina Abbott of Atelier Millinery for creating this wonderful event.  I look forward to more at the next London Hat Week is planned for Spring 2018, dates TBD.

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Leanne at London Hat Walk

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.
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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

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Perhaps the most unusual hat item of the trip was a red hat lamp in a store on the square in Harlemmerbuurt.
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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.
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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.
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How about the cycle parking near a concert venue!
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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.

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.

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.

690px-Jean_Etienne_Lìotard_-_Ritratto_di_Maria_Adelaide_di_Francia_vestita_alla_turca_-_Google_Art_Project
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.

800px-Lady_Ann_Somerset,_Countess_of_Northampton,_attributed_to_Jean-Étienne_Liotard_(1702-1789)
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.