Two weeks ago in my blog, I shared a couple of in-process photos of practice 'hats-to-be' for The Alice Springs Beanie Festival, an upcoming hat celebration in Australia.
This week, I managed to finish all four of the 'practice' hats and create listings for most of them in my shop. Hooray!
However, in the slow and meditative process of feltmaking, instead of the hats being inspired, as planned, by the Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road", I instead became inspired by my memories of the wonderful, golden light of California (I lived in San Francisco for 13 years of my adult life). From this experience, I became fascinated by the wide variety of beautiful plants that happily grew in the Mediterranean climate. On the west coast, there is a type of oak called Live Oak. Unlike north east coast oaks, they are not deciduous.
So I present to you, the tallest of the completed hats.
Two Oak Trees
Both hats are rather on the tall side because I needed/wanted a 'large canvas' to show the trees. Having narrow, curving brims, the hats fit like cloches. Yet, they also resemble English Police Officers' Custodian Helmets. You may be more familiar with this type of hats being called "Bobby Hats."
Usually, traditional milliners block fur felt hats onto wooden blocks. However, I don't block my wool felt hats. Instead, I push and pull the damp felt with my fingers (and use household items like wooden spoons and plastic bottles!) to get the hat shapes that I want - or think that I want. Consequently, a hat's shape develops and evolves as I work on it.
On the hat above, a thick, woolen cord is sandwiched between layers of wool fiber. This cord doesn't shrink much as the rest of the wool. This difference helps to create a sculptural dimension between the edge of the trees and the rounded blue sky. (To see a really good example of this technique, visit my Candycane Witch Hat). For an excellent explanation of how this works, see Soosie Jobson's video).
One Big Tree
This big tree hat is rather abstracted and looks more tree-like when seen in the round. Hopefully, I will soon figure out how to do 360 videos of my newest hats! Check my Instagram or Facebook to see.
If you would like to see both hats in my shop, they are 'parked' in my 'Other Hat Styles' section. They are not quite exaggerated enough to be considered 'Wizard Hats' right? There is (of course) a section of Wizard Hats, too!