London Hat Week, a week long international millinery event of exhibitions, workshops and hatty get togethers, was staged across central London in March 2018.
I was delighted to have three of my pieces featured in this year's London Hat Week, with two pieces included in The Great Hat Exhibition. This year's theme was to create a hat or headpiece inspired by a country. I submitted two pieces seen below is "In Celebration of Alnwick Garden" - is new piece showcased and some totally new techniques for me. I was delighted when this pieces was selected as one of the top 30 (out of an exhibition pool of almost 300 hats & headpieces) to be shown at the press launch!
In Celebration of The Alnwick Garden was inspired by the landscaping of The Alnwick Garden and the handcrafted decoration by the garden's world renown and stunning springtime Tai Haku cherry blossom orchard.
The other piece selected was "An English Country Garden" - a riot of floral freshness summoning up images of our Northumberland country garden.
The third piece featured at London Hat Week was "Aureole". One of the UK's leading millinery suppliers organised a competition with a theme of Inspiration - entry to the competition was by purchasing a basic materials kit from them. Seventy five milliners from all over the world applied, using the kit materials to create a truly unique and individual headpiece. My entry (below) was inspired by the work of the Austrian milliner Adele List.
Imagine my surprise and delight when the Queens' milliner Rachel Trevor Morgan in conjunction with the organisers, judged my entry Aureole to be in the top three. During London Hat Week I was delighted to visit the supplier's millinery trade fair stand where they created a special exhibition of the winning pieces for the many Hat Week visitors to view.
I am also including a couple of other images of pieces that have been featured in earlier exhibitions - London Hat Week in October 2016. The focus of these three pieces was recycling & up-cycling, Heald - seen below - was selected as being in the top 30 pieces and was featured at the press preview.
As you can see when designing a millinery collection I often make dramatic pieces - and I thought you might like to know a little more about the creative process behind the pieces that have been exhibited; in hat exhibitions at museums and galleries. As with most creative stuff it all starts with inspiration!
Inspiration is a key part of millinery and you can be inspired by a new experience or draw on an older one you have recorded. It could be the tree patterns observed on a woodland walk, a morning sunrise; a visit to an exhibition, gallery or a cathedral; a meeting with friends; a new technique learnt, a book read or an overseas trip. From such an encounter I create a new themed collection based around the source of the inspiration. In the case of Heald Wires (above) & Weft (below) the inspiration was a visit to a Bradford woollen mill, and seeing the weaving process producing beautiful Yorkshire tweed.
Once my creative juices get going and usually after a number of false starts, it's a very exciting and busy time. Then at long last the piece or collection is finally finished, & packed ready for despatch. Once the installation is set up at the gallery or museum, there is a the press launch to attend, and it's great fun meeting the other milliners involved. After the launch I normally go back to meet family, friends and customers, and together we walk the entire exhibition admiring all the wonderful examples of creativity.
So if the millinery on this page has inspired you too, and you are interested in the possibility of working with me to commission your very own couture headpiece too, please do drop me email at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact page at the end of my website to get in touch, so we can start planning how together we can design your own totally unique couture head piece!
I really look forward to hearing from you and enjoying making your special event even more memorable with a headpiece by The Northumberland Milliner - Margaret Woodliff Wright
Images from the top -
In Celebration of Alnwick Garden - small emerald silk drum with a dark emerald silk wrap and hand formed cherry blossoms; An English Country Garden, four individual feature flowers on a wired headpiece; Aureole, red felt large button with a buckram brim; Heald, interweaved loom spokes set on a grey felt segment, wire headband; Weft, grey felt crown with a woven stylised brim. POA