The beautiful man

The beautiful man

Sunday, 27 June 2010


I went over to MMU as I wanted to see their end of year show as I don't have much to compare as to what is good or bad and I desperately needed a tutorial with Melanie to sort out what to do next. I hadn't been able to bring myself to read the learning record I had written until Sunday and still kept filling up when I contemplated the whole scenario, so had no way of creating a new pathway.

The tutorial helped a little through unsure whether to share right now as need some more percolating....

The exhibition work was very good though a few of my highlights


A slightly manic day of teaching and ensuring that the first year's were ok and excited by the prospect of the 2nd year, I pray that i achieved this. A visit from the Sales manager of a hat company to talk through whether any of the graduating students would be able to do freelance work for them, I contemplated it myself for a nano second then realised that the prospect of cut and sew was far too traumatic, unless I went and did some tailoring.

Then went to Leeds City Museum to meet with a curator about a potential project with  a new exhibition opening next month. Similar idea to the Revivals workshop, which is exciting as one of the requirements is a day of cpd at the V&A my idea of heaven! Also good for my battered esteem, the curator mentioned that she had been talking to the other curators and mine was the first on their list as a potential contact and that if she could get me that would be perfect, thank you..........

Still got some more great feedback as to the girls exhibition none from my boss yet, need to tour round the rest of the college.

School work

Was over to Burnley for a primary school nurture group session. I get so nervous about these sessions as I feel that I have no past experience to model on. So key stage 1 in the morning, making flowers,  key stage 2 in the afternoon doing silk painting. Even though it was a really tight time schedule it worked well. A lesson for me is to keep it really simple!!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Another day..........

Opening Night LCA Exhibition

Mad panic day as ever thankfully booked of Huddersfield work.

Began by forcing tree trunks into my car, and lugging them into college, grappling with prizing the lid off a plinth to insert them and then doing pruning to ensure Health & Safety covered, then deciding if it was going to work or not before I began painting them white..........

Laser cutting names on mount board, courtesy of the fabulously helpful woodwork technicians.

Collecting decals for the floor.

Forcing shredded paper in perspex plinths to see if it would work hamster bedding and hats! It didn't so back to tissue paper.

Scrubbing floors, sticking up blurbs, rubbing decals on the floor, getting concerned expressions from maintenance, tidying up. The time until 6pm went ridiculously fast, which was perfect as I had no time to think. The girls work looked amazing and feel like a proud mum again. Excellent feedback from visitors.

The decals worked brilliantly I would definitely do this again, maybe with their names next time.

MA Results certificate stage

I am still  bit too raw on this, basically I did appallingly in my practice module. I am still unsure why and how I wasn't made aware earlier that I was going wrong, I feel really obliterated and unsure what t do now......

Exhibition Week

Started the week optimistically. I had booked the building staff to put up boards on the Monday, anticipating that I could paint by Monday afternoon, finish painting Tuesday, girls set up Wednesday, mmmh. Not quite, three boards up on Monday, nearly all up Tuesday night, me painting until 7pm Tuesday, but thats the way it goes really. Most people mucked in and the day was all good. The images from Lynne and Suzanne were on the walls around the college, all the plinths maneuvered upstairs, slight panic when the lift didn't work, but we got there.

Whitwell and vintage patterns

June 11th
Shappo Hats is closing down so brought over silks and vintage patterns for sale some really gorgeous 1930's and 40's patterns, so all these items getting me into the idea of making soft hats once again.

Also a weekend away in the camper van as it was my turn to take Connor off racing only a short hop away to Rutland for the weekend, I had forgotten how blissful it was to be in the camper and do everything on a small scale, still not able to read normal books busy exploring more feminism and fashion, maybe this is the path forward.

Connor did really well and finally managed to succeed in the Rutland Marathon and won it for his sail size, maybe it was the millinery by design advert on the sponsored t-shirt,  not really, he is very focused to getting the result he wants.

This was all the chilled calm before the storm of more GCSE's for both boys, though Connor finished on Wednesday and John had his dissertation to present and hand in, me just pending results and the end of year show to get up............

Revivals Closing Ceremony

A hat has always been the ultimate expression of personal style and attitude. Who can think of Fred Astaire without a topper or Madonna without a cowboy hat, Justin Timberlake and his trilby or the wonders of the hat wearer of the moment Lady Gaga. "Her hat is a creation that will never go out of style. It will look just as ridiculous year after year" Fred Allen.

Fashion is a kind of communication, a language without words, as milliner Stephen Jones states a hat is the cherry on the cake, the dot on the 'i' of the exclamation mark.

It has been an honour to be involved with Lotherton Hall, Ruffled Feather exhibition and school's competition; when you look at Natalie Raw's curated exhibition it truly shows that hats have the power to evoke a lifestyle, a time period and an attitude, the hat is the crowning glory of any outfit and can be created from a range of materials, yet feathers are always the perfect foil.

I would like to thank Mrs Baker at Carr Manor High School, Mrs Joslin at Tadcaster Grammar School, Mrs Patchesa at Parklands Girls High and Mrs Makin at Farnley Park for letting me into their classrooms to make a mess with feathers, sinamay and glue. Thank you to all the students for your wonderful exuberance, questions, willingness to experiment and having seen all the results when judging the energy, passion and hardwork you have all put in to the project. I was astounded by the innovation, creativity and design development that I saw, congratulations to each and every one of you.

Hats are often seen as just a fashion or frivolity but as can be seen from all your work, a head adornment is often a piece of sculpture or 3D art it is no wonder that many artists past and present have been inspired, from the Surrealists & salvador Dali working with Elsa Schiaparelli on the first lobster hat, to Eileen Agar's Angel of Anarchy, to present day designers such as Philip Treacy creting iconic head sculpture.

Any material or technique can be used, it is a skill area that can embrace many disciplines from woodwork, photography, jewellery design, textiles, fine art, print making to 3D design, sculpture and fashion so within any area of the curriculum in art & design it has potential. I would like to finish with a quote from the Bedside Guardian 1962 "In making the right choice of millinery you have nothing to lose but your head" Thank you and I hope that you will alll continue to embrace the wonders of headwear"

That was my speech delivered with my knees trembling, people did at least laugh and I think they enjoyed it. The prize giving was lovely and the student who won Anna Batiste very much deserved it her passion and work ethic were phenomenal.

The whole project has been a unique experience that i would never have undertaken if not for the MA to explore what i could do with hats and how community work could develop,though funding is now even more of an issue so I will just have to be pro-active if I wish t do more.

I talked to the lady at the bird garden and she was very keen for me to do some work with her so maybe this could be the concise MA project.


Amazing to walk round the corner at Earl's Court to see Beth Hirst's hat on a huge bill board promoting UCLan degrees. The hat had been in Beth's final year collection of the HNC last year and she had used it in a styling shoot with one of their students. She is having an amazing week also just finding out that she made it to the last 12 of the Who wants to be a Milli-naire Royal Ascot competition.

Went to see the college stand was good but I wonder when they will begin to take it to the next level as some of the other colleges do, must be very daunting for the Fashion team. Some really strong college collections though, loved the shoes at de Montford and the fabric textures at Newport, Edinburgh and Northumbria are always the high point from me and didn't disappoint as the work is always innovative, exciting and highly polished.

Lunch at Brompton Road Cemetery lots of creatures trying to share lunch, the crows were seriously cool though.

The River Island style stand was really interesting and followed the ideas that I had had for Bankfield Museum of  style gallery to capture the way people look a little like the different street style blogs. Would be good to do in college just need some prepping.
After collecting loads of leaflets went over to Somerset House to see the Martin Margiela exhibition very very inspiring. Holistic, exciting beautifully conceptual and exquisitely made, fashion for snobbish intellectuals only those in the know comprehend the meaning of what is being done, the perfect paradox and interpretation of fashion identities. Wonderful. 

London 07.06.

7am train never a great way to start the day but very excited anyway. My yearly trip to Kensington & Chelsea and Graduate Fashion Week, never sure what to expect but added bonus that I get to meet Agsie before getting the train home.

Tube to Chelsea and the walk to the college,  hats as sublime and interesting as ever, not so daunting as i have felt in the past but still streets ahead of what I can inspire others to do and what I can do in some cases. Kirsten's strength really is in developing the students design potential and where they can take the ideas of headwear with some really exciting concepts to start the process. They hadn't put the biogs up, two of the girls that i spoke with mentioned their themes and they ranged from the development of Narcssus to a muse buried in Brompton Grove Cemetery. Beautiful work. Though I also think that my girls have managed it this year to with their own constraints.

Hayling via Luton

4th June

had to collect Connor from camp at Hayling Island, so Kai and I did a road trip with Kai playing the tunes and us singing our heads off, poor Kai putting up with my tone deafness!Perfect tunes though. Incredibly hot and frazzled from the last few weeks. Went by Luton to get some materials for a hat for Alison H, much easier to match the colours in person for the hat, now to make the hat after she has chosen the design.

Post Presentation

Presentation went ok, I think, though it was a terrifying experience. I have never done crits like this before, so I am still really unsure how to pitch it and have real difficulties talking about my work as it seems so indulgent and also inherently I am unsure whether my work actually has any value. A weight off my shoulders finishing it though daunting that i was last of the day so both assessors looked ready for sleep, though maybe that was just me.

Home to tidy up, all the books still to be read.........