Thought for a lifetime

Einstein made the very important observation that " Imagination is more important than knowledge ".

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Vista Fiber Fiesta

In my pursuit to understand and control
all aspects of creating my original felted hats
I realized another important component
is the wool roving I use to create my hats.

This train of thought led me to my newest adventure...

my very first visit to a fiber arts show.

These shows are extremely popular all over the WORLD!
Luckily there was one just 30 minutes away in 
San Diego County. 

Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum in Vista, CA has a barn FULL of looms.

Fiber arts encompass many pursuits including spinning, weaving, knitting, animals, shearing, dying AND felting.

I was hoping that the vendors would have unique fibers and reasonably 
priced roving and batts...

I was not disappointed!
Lots of fleece from numerous different animals in all stages of preparation.

And after reading about how fibers are carded there was a gentleman that was using a carding machine and explained the process to me.

There were many demos ongoing and just think...
spinning fibers is the FIRST STEP in creating textiles.
It was like journeying back in time.

Was hoping there would be numerous animals but, there were just these Alpacas.
They are sheared once a year and  yield 5 to 10 pounds of fiber that can be spun into yarn;
or felted.

 The best thing about using animal fleece for my hats is that the animal is not harmed.
They just get an incredible hair cut!

My ultimate goal is to source my fleece from local herds 
and even know which animal the fleece is shorn from.

I felt because knitting isn't weird enough.

Amazing British Milliner Jane Smith

Last year I heard that a hat block carving class would 
possibly be offered at Fullerton College.
I instantly began emailing monthly asking for details and updates...

Finally the dates were decided and the details worked out and I signed up

This class was just beyond everything I hoped it would be.

Students from all over the country were greeted with cute British bags 
full of supplies and our safety gear...

Looking at the supplies and exciting and intimidating at the same time.
Learning to create an inexpensive hat block 
was a vital link in my millinery goals. 

The British milliner Jane Smith is a very accomplished artist 
and you have probably seen her work in numerous films, most recently 
Far From the Maddening Crowd.

Jane is very practical and her advice was strong and based on decades of experience.
That is the greatest value of classes with experts; they save you from many, many beginner mistakes.

For three days, 8 hours a day every student cut, carved and sanded their creations.
And not one student ever left early. 



The last day I worked up the courage to blindside Jane with a selfie.
She is a lovely individual with great British dry humor.

I am hoping to take another class with Jane Smith...
and I'm really hoping to take it in England!

Class 3 and final class of the Summer of Hat Classes.

Wayne Wichern Embellishment Class

 After waiting all summer it was finally time to travel to Seattle
 and attend the amazing Wayne Wichern 
Embellishment class in Seattle!

Four of my original naked hats traveled with me looking to be embellished.

The class had a few locals, two students from out of state and one woman from Canada.
All hoping to wring Wayne's mind of 29+ years of millinery experience.

The challenge was fitting decades of experience into a 3 day class.

Wayne had so many great tips and techniques to deal with all sorts of materials.

No request or hat was too great a challenge.

But, what he really stressed was experimenting and manipulating/combinig your materials 
as many ways as you can imagine.

Wayne makes very beautiful, formal hats and mine are much more funky.
But, the class was still eye opening and greatly expanded my ideas index.

Of course outside of class time I did manage to make it to 
downtown Seattle and have a lot of fun.

Pikes Place Market is a smorgasbord of colors, textures and excitement.

 Didn't make it to the Space Needle but, spotted it in the skyline :)

  And finally found the famous Fremont Troll!
There is a real Volkswagon under his left hand,

But, the long weekend was all about 
improving my hat embellishment skills.
I truly struggle with this final step of creating my hats.

Dozens of techniques were demonstrated...

by the amazing Wayne Wichern. 
He was my first millinery instructor
and a genuinely sincere soul.

Class two of the summer of hats was a great success!