March 3, 2017


I've always wanted to felt up a wizard hat. Something different ... not your every day kind of hat. This one is called 'Merlin's Fantasy' and it was a pleasure to make.  It is decorated with colourful silk fibres and curly locks which were hand felted right into the surface design. I finished it by adding hand sewn beads to give it a bit of sparkle and a wizard like persona! I think it works. 

Altogether it took about 3 days to finish this piece and afterward another day (or two) to rest my weary, aching hands. I'm learning to bead and, as with all new skills, I started off as 'all thumbs'.  Bent beading needles, finger pokes, adjusting the thimble, using varied stitching angles and general awkwardness soon gave way to smoother, more even stitches and well spaced beads.  Thankfully felt lends itself well to invisible stitching and the effect of the beads is very pretty. The beads catch and reflect the light which compliments the matte finish of the wool and the luminescence of the silk. This creates a very interesting surface design on the finished piece.  

My lovely friend Mags very generously stepped in to model a few new hats for me while Gabby is away. I think the wizard look suits her well! I took these photos last weekend when it was an unheard of 12 degrees Celsius (above zero!) in February.  That was lucky because today it has dropped to minus 10 and we are all back in our winter coats.  I had to get the photos done before taking the hats to Gallery One Twenty One in Belleville last Monday for a show that opened on Tuesday.  Saturday March 4th is the opening reception between 2 and 4pm. I've posted the invitation below so if you are in the area please drop in to the gallery. My friend Tara Wilkinson is also showing her beautiful photographs from Italy. The show runs until the beginning of April. 

Here is a shot of the initial laying out of the fibres in the making of 'Merlin's Fantasy'

This one is called 'Conquistador' because the shape is similar to a helmet once worn by Portuguese or Spanish soldiers and explorers. It's a little theatrical and that was not my plan but this particular hat seemed to have a shape in mind which I decided to work with. Not being a fan of war or exploitation I thought I would adorn the hat with flowers as a symbol and statement about peace and love. This allowed me to be really creative and make something very different from what I usually make. I realize I am not going to sell this hat to the usual lovely lady around the corner in town for every day wear.  This hat would be destined more for someone very unique, creative and self assured who likes to stand out in a crowd (or hang out in a forest or dance by a woodland stream)!  I know you are out there. 

This hat is called 'Snow White' and it was made from natural colour merino combined with pure white merino and some creamy parchment coloured locks.  It's hand beaded on both sides although it may be hard to see the surface design details in the photos.  The pattern of the beading follows gentle curving lines which radiate into various spirals.  Spirals are such a natural and soothing shape for the eye to follow and I find them very intriguing. I created this hat to represent a crown and show off the majesty of the wearer who, once again, would most likely be a somewhat theatrical kind of being!  It's not meant to be a sailor's hat although someone did suggest that idea. To each his own!

All three of these hats along with a selection of others will be at the gallery from February 28th until April 4th, 2017.  

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