Inspired by Walls
Ireland is known for its rolling hills, its green landscapes, and its gorgeous stone walls. These walls are not just barriers but an integral part of the country's history and culture. My most recent collection of felted hats has been inspired by the walls' lovely colours, rich textures, sinuous patterns, AND the locally raised Irish wool!
What to Name
Initially, for want of a better name, I called the hats The Stone Collection. A local feltmaker friend shared that 'Cloch' is Irish for stone. That was a possibility!
However, Irish pronunciation is challenging; it's different from the languages I've been exposed to via earlier schooling and travel.
Instead, I'm going with 'Celtic Stone Crowns' . I LOVE when people refer to my hats as 'Crowns'. It transforms a hat into something treasured. Additionally, the 'crown' is the main part of a hat; it covers the head. So, Celtic Stone Crowns is double-good!
The sculptural Stone Toque - a piece of Wearable Art
Colour + Texture
Obviously, the colour palette for the hats is inspired by the stone walls and the happy mosses and lichens that grow upon them. Hence, there are shades of grey, with touches of anthracite, cream, peach, yellow, and mossy greens.
For the feltmakers amongst you, these textural details come from various felted-in fibres. These include wool nepps, hand-dyed silk throwsters waste, viscose, and undyed ramie fibres. In addition to luxuriously soft Merino wool, there are 'faux felted stones' made from Jacob Wool because it is crucial to utilize Irish-raised sustainable wool.
Did you know that the shearing from most sheep in Ireland is NOT being used? That is because it is not the super-soft Merino wool that customers expect. Instead, the wool is considered a waste-by-product. While the government is encouraging using wool for insulation, it would be lovely if fibre artists used more Irish wool. This collection and my GLO Collection, are my attempts to use Irish-raised Jacob wool which I get from Kerry Woolen Mills.
The Hat Collection
The collection currently has five hat styles, ranging from hats you could wear to the shops to hats for more special occasions.
There is a round crown beanie, a jaunty beret, a sculptural toque, a brimmed hat and a pixie hood. The fanciful hood may fall under the latter category -- depending upon your shops.
Very easy to wear, the Brimmed Hat has a soft fedora-esque shape, with rocky outcrops on one side.
While hats certainly have my heart, I've started brainstorming on other felted accessories because hats are typically size-specific. In the past, I made kiwi and strawberry-inspired neck warmers, which proved popular.
So far, I have made one stone-inspired felted neck warmer to accompany the hats in the 'Celtic Stone Crown Collection'.
But, I am thinking about a second accessory for another 'zone' of the body. Maybe felted fingerless gloves or felted bracelets? I prefer the idea of cuffs. Really, I am less of a fan of fingerless gloves, and they are probably not one-size-fits-most!
So stay tuned.