July 13 - 17 2009
First some background information
As an instructor of millinery off and on for over 15 years, I am
mostly self taught. Sure, I took the one day classes at local sewing
establishments such as The Sewing Workshop in San Francisco where I
learned straw hat blocking, and G Street Fabrics in DC, (my family was on
a 3-month tour there) where I first blocked with wool. I even studied with a series of buckram hat making from mail order kits by "The Wonderful World of Hats". But mostly I learned from books. I
devoured any kind of millinery or hat-making books I could find. My
first was a book by Denise Dreyer of the Guthrie Theater, with others
soon to follow. Sure there was millinery instruction at FIT in New
York, but I had a young family and could not re-locate across the
Along the way I met other women who wanted to learn how to make hats as well, so I started teaching what I knew. Just by teaching I learned so much. It is true what they say, "If you want to learn something, teach it". During this time I was making custom bridal veils and hats for clients all over the San Francisco Bay Area. And then in 1998 I open Rose Mille in San Jose's Willow Glen area. But that's another topic, lets get back to France somehow.
When I learned about the hat week following Kaari's week at Chateau Dumas, even though many years had passed since my hat-making days, I knew I had to stay on. Taking a class from a milliner to the Royal Family in England, someone who had, I'm sure, much more formal training than I, would be the finishing touches to my knowledge base. Even though this was set as a "beginners class" I knew I would learn a lot. And I did.
Dillon Wallwork is a very talented and gifted artist. Hats and their decor literally come out of his hands perfectly molded as if by magic. Every hat made in class during that week has a bit of Dillon's magic in it. Working on staff with Philip Somerville, a well known milliner in England, Dillon is more than ready to break out on his own.
This week there were 9 students. Any more would be way to many. And as it always is with hat-making we worked anywhere and everywhere. It is really hard to contain work areas with this particular craft. We soon learned that whenever Dillon was demonstrating a technique to a student, we all gathered around with our full attention.
We even received a visit by Carole and Nigel Denford from The Hat Magazine, "the voice of the hat trade, and unceasing in the promotion of the making and wearing of hats, worldwide"!
Claudia, from Germany was new to hats but definitely not new to working with her hands. She has amazing skill.
As you can see in the following photo's gorgeous hats were made by beginner and established hat makers alike! What fun we had wearing our creations to dinner on the last night.
This is Naomi, a soon to be famous movie star! Isn't she beautiful? And what a voice! She entertained us all week.
And Gabrielle, fashion designer extraordinaire!
Cathy D. was an angel, complete with wings. Which explains her amazing talent for making this masterpiece, her first hat no less.
Oh, and watch out for this one, Joe, the sleeper of the group who did not even take the course!
As the finishing touches to my new classroom are being made behind my shop, I am developing a class schedule which will include resurrecting my hat-making courses with elements from this weeks course with Dillon. Send me an email so I can make sure you receive the latest information.