We proudly present the prizewinners of the 2017 Milliners & Hatters Open Competition
FIRST PRIZE: ‘In an English Country Garden’ by Louise Clark
Taking the top spot was Louise Clark, of Kettering in Northamptonshire, who won the £500 first prize with her dazzling entry, an entirely hand-made headpiece entitled ‘In an English Country Garden’.
Louise was unable to attend the competition’s judging and presentation at Bridport Town Hall on ‘Haturday’, September 2nd, but she finally made the trip and was presented with her cheque by festival founder Roger Snook and his wife Monica who, as owners of Bridport’s renowned hat shop T Snook, sponsored the prize.
Louise says: “I started making hats a few years ago when I couldn’t find a hat to match a wedding outfit, so ended up making my own. I got the millinery bug, and taught myself from books for a while, but have since undertaken some millinery courses at Morley College in London with Jane Smith and Philippa Gentle. I sell my hats via Etsy, and have made hats for garden parties, weddings and Ascot. I love making bespoke designs – the more unusual the better!
“My hat is called ‘In an English Country Garden’, and I was inspired to make it by my love of nature and gardening. I recently learned some beading techniques on a tiara-making course at Morley College, and I used these to create plants and flowers, including pea pods, cow parsley, blackberries, ears of wheat and poppies, as well as a spider and snail. The ferns are photo-etched from brass, and I have then silver-leafed them. The flowers are made from hand-dyed silk, which has then been stiffened and shaped using a small iron. The base of the hat is made from buckram, which I then wired and covered with fabric. The edge is bound by hand-stitched petersham ribbon, and I also made the headband from wire, and then bound it with thread. The feathers are hand-shaped and sprayed with silver paint, as a final flourish.
“I love combining traditional millinery techniques with model-making to create unusual and flamboyant designs, and this hat is an expression of that.”
SECOND PRIZE: ‘Posies and Persuasion’ by Rebecca Cantrell
Rebecca says: “I have been interested in millinery since 2013, when I first did a course in felt hat-making with Milliner’s Guild in Bristol. I am very much an amateur, but I love making hats when I get a chance. I am particularly inspired by history, theatre and story-telling and the thing I like most about making hats is the opportunity to be creative in three dimensions. The thing I like second most is being able to do some detailed hand-sewing while listening to the radio or sitting quietly. When I am not making hats I am working or looking after my two-year-old daughter so sitting quietly is luxury indeed!
“My Regency-inspired bonnet, ‘Posies and Persuasion’, is a tribute to Jane Austen. My aim is to capture the decadent side of the Regency period in a way which is fun and also draws inspiration from the English countryside.”
THIRD PRIZE: ‘Fairground’ by Jennifer Rowley
Jennifer’s hat is inspired by rollercoasters and the hall of mirrors at the fairground. It is made from natural pinok pok, mirror tiles and wire.
London-based Jennifer also shared fourth place in the ‘Best Family or Group’ category in this year’s ‘fun’ public competitions and took the second prize in last year’s M&H.
PUBLIC CHOICE: ‘Scarlett Twist’ by Natasha Mobey
Natasha, from Broadstone on the other side of Dorset, entered a black and white jinsin headpiece on a black sinamay base, finished with biotechnology feathers that have been curled over.
Her hat received the most votes from the visiting public and she won a year’s subscription to The HAT Magazine.
Thanks again to all the prize sponsors and of course to our M&H judges – Graham Eckersley, MD of leading UK hat designers and manufacturers Whiteley Fischer, and Denise Innes-Spencer, creative director of the British School of Millinery.
The winning hat, and indeed the other ‘M&H’ finalists’ creations, will feature prominently in a special HatFest spread in The HAT Magazine, out in November 2017.
The HAT Magazine‘s reporter, Katy Mackenzie, commended all the finalists, adding: “What a great Festival, so well organised and on many levels a really superb event”.
For the full competition results and photos of all 24 finalists’ hats click here.