Sunday, 6 June 2010

Millinery Apprenticeship

Millinery Apprenticeship

I worked part-time for 18 months at Hat Therapy in Hebden Bridge, a small shop and atelier on the high street that designs, makes, sources and sells unique hats and accessories. I trained alongside the owner, Chrissie King, a warm and generous person who encouraged me to be creative as well as think practically about selling the designs.

Shaping is done by hand, which is tricky but leads to great shapes

Pinning the felt to a hat block

Steaming the felt softens it ready to be moulded and pinned

Once the felt has been given a few days to dry, it can be removed from the block and the shape is set.
Small bulldog clips are so much easier than pins and prevent any holes in the delicate fabric
Pinning a brim to the block

The brim and crown are attached and finished
Bead embroidery on the crown
Attaching the bias silk to the brim using the life saving bulldog clips with the machine


Then the brim is attached
2 adorable sinamay cloches with hand-made roses

I called this the Dior At Tiffany's hat. Divine.

When you live in Yorkshire, waterproofing accessories isn't a luxury. And who doesn't want to look fabulous as they're being washed away?

Killer silk clutch... pret-a-porter!

Monday, 26 April 2010

Drop The Needle

Dear Written World,

Good morning! I've just been speaking to a friend about Nature and birds. I live in quite a suburban village and it's close to a Nature reserve so we get some beautiful creatures and lots of green, which always makes the two of us feel so calm. We both agreed that, no matter what happens in our own lives, things are always the same outside - the sun rises and sets, the birds and animals go about their business. This adds an interesting dimension to the argument about purpose. I realise we are more than animals, we have a consciousness that animals are without but I wonder how much I can cultivate that slowness and stability in my own life that I see outside. Despite the hierarchy, humans are still Nature beings and I suppose it's equally valid to recognise that, coming from humans, technology, computers, mobiles (...) are still Nature, or at least an expression of it. An expression of our Nature, human nature, one that wants to progress, advance, understand, express, conquer. Where is the line? Who, if anyone, draws it?

My new phone reminds me that a man has only two arms, only 1 brain. That's to say, regardless of how many accounts I'm attached to (Facebook, Twitter, email), the truth is I can only do one thing at a time. I can only concentrate on one thing at a time (and that's a real challenge at the best of times). Perhaps there's a danger of rationalising it and killing the joy of the end result - ultimately this technology exists to facilitate the processes in our lives and I appreciate (and am often bedazzled) by its marvellousness. If we were all back in the Neanderthal days, there's no doubt we'd be having to make the most of the resources around us - getting water, finding shelter, hunting for food, foraging for berries, spending time with people we love. At the risk of sounding naive, has anything really changed? Of course, the way we do these things has and there are a thousand or more moral and ethical arguments, but essentially, we're the same creatures.

I find myself recently longing for simplicity by appreciating the calmness that it brings. How can I make a living while holding on to it? Is it a valid way to live, or just an opt out clause from challenges that I stumble across? If a life represents an alphabet, Z being the place we finally see, then do the letters naturally unfold? Is it important not to get caught up just on the curvature of the lines and the colours of the letters? Most days I still feel like I'm still perfecting the triangle of A.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Sunday 25th April 2010

Dear Written World

This is the first entry of my blog! It's rather exciting as I feel I have much to say and I hope that readers can really connect with the themes. I assume my writings will mostly be of a philosophical nature related to purpose, direction and will but who knows... we'll see where my mind wanders! I hope by writing that I'll have more clarity and also simply enjoy the process. On y va!

I've recently discovered a programme called The Light At The Edge of The World, the title of which fascinated me as it is very similar to a painting (The Light of The World) which has always haunted me, which I originally saw it at a friend's house. On listening to Wade David's presentation, I'm simply bedazzled by his delivery - an incredibly articulate and engaging guy who tells of the tension between the fragility of indigenous cultures (including rituals, language...) vs. the modern world, its ruthless ploughing toward homogenity.

Whilst I agree that there's much wisdom to be gained by looking to these tribal peoples, I wonder what's possible here. I've spent time amongst alternative thinkers and stayed within alternative communities but the feeling I've always left with is misty-eyed nostalgia for a passed age. I've realised recently that there is no perfect way - the world changes, weather changes, people change, moods change, opinions change... so truly to be present, we must ride the current tide and enjoy it. What, then, guides us? How do I arrive at a sense of purpose?

I ask these questions because, at 29 years old, I still wonder about my calling. (I also wonder if the notion of a calling is a limited and dated one, too.) The type of wisdom that Wade Davis (presenter of said programme) explores is something I yearn for but in a modern context. For me, knowledge and ritual brings meaning and purpose to my day and the tasks I undertake. Without it, I'm full of apathy and the world I'm surrounded by has an emptiness. For example, when I go to prepare something to eat, I think about the growers, I think about the process; that connection brings me joy and also meaning. Otherwise, the food'd be nothing more than an object or ornament, or fuel (as a friend at dinner said the other night).

Speaking of which, it's lunch time and I'm peckish - I'm making a chapati wrap which I'll fill with dhal, bhuna gosht, steamed nettles and yoghurt! Yum yum.


Saturday, 20 March 2010