Here we offer you a closer look at what we do, some tales out of the workshop, some of the creative process, and perhaps (gasp!) some of the shockingly modern images of our actual everyday life.
I ask questions. I questions things. Maybe not everything, but sometimes it feels that way. Even in museums, whose info we should be able to trust completely, sometimes things are phrased in a way that might lead to an inaccurate conclusion. Or dates need to be revised, for example. Over the years, I’ve looked at various websites, and find myself wondering if “they” really, actually make the things they seem to say they make, or if their “They” is a lot bigger than they let on, or they send their prototype “overseas” to be made by replaceable factory or production workers. Sometimes it seems as if ‘factories’ are masquerading as artisan workshops. Yes, “hands” may have made the item, making it “hand made”. But does one set of hands make each item from start to finish, from idea to design to finished, packaged product? Most importantly, is there one person, without whom the product would not exist? Is there any one person who is irreplaceable? For my criteria of something being “artisan made” the answer needs to be that yes, there is a person without whom the items would not exist or be at all the same. On these pages, and in the shop, I do speak in the “We”. I could not do this without the support and help of my husband and my associates.
That’s him, above, in a wonderful portrait by Rebecca Clarke, showing you how we like you to think we look, as we discuss ideas for the Millinery. My associates are throughout the pages. Hats off to all of them.They un-pick seams gone wrong, they snip threads, they lug heavy stuff across acres of cement, they help to fold and to put things on display cards. They give me feedback and opinions and ideas. And sometimes I even follow what they say! They show me other ways to wear the things I make. They give me perspective, and hope. But, (and it sounds very vain to say this), if I were not involved in the making, there would be no hats. I am the milliner. Sometimes I look at a display of hats, or even a single one, and wonder that I really made it myself. So for my fellow skeptics who are compelled to question things, and for the curious, who want a peek behind the scenes, I offer you these little glimpses into the making of some of our (yes, our) products.
We like to keep the illusion of being an old fashioned shop, though we never for a minute expect you to believe we use horse and wagon, or only treadle machines. So, in our Facebook feed, as with or images here, we tend not to show the modern side. We did once, and even I found it jarring!