Every Thursday, the Archives will feature artists, musicians, and makers of all variety, entered for your approval here in the Archives. With so many talented individuals to choose from, we know it is a challenge to feature every clever creative worthy of note, but perhaps we might endeavour to introduce to you a new name in our community of steam and cog, or perhaps remind you of one artisan’s successful efforts to bring the past that never was to the here and now.
This week’s Æther Feature for October 12, 2012, submitted for your pleasure:
The fashion of hats has been a long and beautiful history for both men and women. At the turn of the century it was unheard of to leave the house without donning your hat or bonnet- it was as much out of practicality as it was fashion. Hats spoke of affluence, grace, of military ranking, social status and leisure. Often women in high standing would change her hat several times a day to match varying daily activities. Milliners and Hatters were highly sought after and well paid for their services, each hat specifically tailored to suit the customer. Time has changed the hat, after the First World War fashion took a back seat to functionality.
Hats have not since regained their once high held popularity, many milliners and hatters are working to change that. In a time when hats can be found in department stores for a little as twenty dollars, hat makers have to contend with a mass produced product. Taking your business to an experienced private designer may often be somewhat pricey but the time and dedication that goes into a hat made by hand makes it well worth the cost. An experienced artist will make a hat that will be sturdy, well fitting and often will make special orders to match a particular outfit. Knowledge of the old techniques and history of hats will be at your artists’ disposal to create the best and most avant-garde head wear.
Modern hat makers still follow either a free form style or use wooden hat blocks to create their own unique styles. There are also “hat shapers” using a wet felt method layered to create a shape atop a hard vacu-form structure, a fun alternative for an aspiring hat maker. Having worked for years time has not caused much deviation from the original production technique. Each artist has their own method of creation and varying tools and accoutrements to suit their needs. Despite individual variations buckram is often the underlying structure to many of the stiff hats such as top hats while a bowler hat will rely on chemical stiffeners to give it structure and weight.
With steam punk and cos-play becoming ever more popular hats are starting to become in-vogue again. Customers are looking for well made creative hats that set a new and bold fashion statement. The steam punk movement has sprouted enthusiastic costume makers who often will make hats to match their own creative outfits. Learning how to make your own hat is rather easy if you have a little sewing talent and creativity. There are many online tutorials the do-it-yourself top hats are the easiest to start out with for a novice hat maker.
Terms often misused when talking about hat making; Milliner is a maker of woman’s hats, Hatter is the term often used for a maker of men’s hats. Haberdasher is not the word to use- it is an old word meaning a seller of small sewing items tho in Americanized terms now is a seller of menswear.
Faithfully presented by Bunny Greene.
Bunny Greene is a milliner, aspiring hatter, make-up artist and occasional crown maker (as in teeth tho the head kind would be fun too) She can be found running around various comic and steam punk conventions in costume- often selling hats. Owner and maker of Green Bunny Hats : http://www.etsy.com/shop/comicbookbunny
Do you have a steampunk musician, artist, short film, designer, or maker that you wish to see in our Ministry Æther Feature? Contact our journalists at tee (at) teemorris (dot) com and pip (at) pjballantine (dot) com, and they will labour to feature you here. If selected, the artist-in-question will be notified. Thank you for your continuing interest in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences.