" The United States' premiere millinery education event, designed and planned by milliners
Jan Wutkowski and Diane Shagott... "
was sold out almost immediately.
In June 2014 I implored Diane to place me on a wait list
and every month I emailed asking if there was an opening ??
October 8th I got the call that someone had canceled and I could go.
Start date of Millinery Meetup: October 18, 2014.
So I scrambled my schedule, booked a red-eye to the lovely state of Tennessee and arrived in the early AM to Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts for the first day of a wonderful four day utopia;
The four instructors were fabulous; from the far right is
- Wayne Wichern from San Francisco ( who I have taken classes with )
- Daria Wheatley from Washington State
- Lina Stein from Ireland ( a recent move from England )
- and Eugenie van Oirschott from the Netherlands
Unfortunately each class was one entire day so the schedule only allowed three classes.
I did not get to take Lina Stein's class Silks, Satins, Sinamay
The first day was devoted to arrivals and the Millinery Marketplace.
The big names were at the marketplace including
Hats by Leko, Judith M, Louise Green and many more.
It was so hard to resist the gorgeous vintage hat model heads.
But, I was there to learn; not to spend ( okay, just a little )
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts ( http://www.arrowmont.org/ ) is a beautiful campus in Gatlinburg, Tennessee that was founded 100 years ago to promote education in the arts.
There is a constant schedule of different art events and classes;
I just was fortunate to go to the Millinery Meetup
Students stay on campus in dorm style rooms so it's just a short walk
to the dining hall and all the classrooms.
My first all day class was Who's Afraid of Straw Braid ? taught by Eugenie.
I don't think I'm afraid of straw braid but,
it was my first time ever working with it so I was definitely intimidated.
As with most European craftspeople Eugenie was highly skilled at her craft.
It is so nice to have a experienced person tell you the little tips and nuances that make the difference between success and a mess.
Or as Eugenie tried to say
" Your hats are all domed "
What Eugenie said;
" Your hats are all doomed "
This is my finished first-ever straw braid hat.
It was an interesting and educational experience but, not really my style hat.
In addition to the classes many of the approximately 50+ milliners brought hats for a hat contest.
I was so last minute that I didn't know about the contest or I would have entered one of my hats because I actually have a few that I'm not embarrassed by :)
The hats were as diverse as the milliners.
I think the theme was suppose to be Autumn...
Everyone got one vote and then there was a hat parade and this was the winning hat.
The girl said she almost didn't bring it because it wasn't very " Autumn "
It is much more attractive than the photo.
My second all day class was A Circle, An Oval, A Rectangle-Flat Patterning for Hats
with Daria. I was really excited about this class because I most enjoy sewing hats.
And my table mates were really hilarious.
Again, the voice of experience can simplify concepts.
And Daria was great at explaining and demonstrating how to manipulate basic shapes for a plethora of hat options !!
She brought in boxes of her own designs made by the methods she taught us.
I really liked all her hats.
And you may learn techniques but, good designs and fresh ideas are harder to develop
This is my finished felt hat from one of Daria's shape manipulations.
Her approach definitely lends itself to lots more experimentation.
I'm always just glad to finish a hat.
Last half day of class for me because I had to leave early :(
was Amazing Scrap Trims with the wonderful Wayne Wichern.
I try to take classes at Wayne's whenever I am in San Francisco and often I go just for his class.
Wayne is so incredibly generous with his knowledge, so skilled and just so nice.
This bow was one of my favorites from the dozens of trim ideas Wayne showed us.
Of course he let me dismantle it so I could see exactly how the cute droopy bow was made.
Right before I had to leave a professional photographer came by to take a group picture.
Wayne lent me a cool scrap flower to pin to my not-quite-finished class 2 hat for the photo.
And then Millinery Meetup was over for me.
Whenever I am around milliners it's like I find my tribe.
Our humor and common interests makes everyone a new friend...
and I did spend a little on ALOT of great stuff.
Time to get busy making hats!!
One final word about Gatlinburg, Tennessee;
there are at least 4 stores making fresh carmel corn.
Carmel corn is my personal kryptonite.
I know I left the gorgeous Smoky Mountains of Tennessee a little bit bigger.