Each Christmas season and into the new year, I spend about a month thinking about what I’d like to accomplish during the year, be it new skills, or direction in selling my wares.  This year was no different, thinking about shows in 2016 and the inventory I’ll need to produce for said shows, down to ‘how many hats I need to make in a week’, to keep myself on target.

*Yes, I’m that planned.  Most people don’t know that about me.  I think behind a relaxed and fun exterior, I have some pretty rigid habits, and a stubborn need to achieve far-reaching goals.  BUT what I do though, is set goals, shoot for them, and then see how it all plays out.  Oftentimes I end up in an unintended direction, and I love it every time.

However, this year, along with flipping the calendar and planning for 2016, the New Brunswick Craft Council put out a call for exhibitors in their 2016 show entitled “Spectrum”.  This show features color, or the lack of color playing a significant role in a piece.  In seeing the exhibit, the viewer will experience not only the piece, but the challenge that color presents in the piece, and in the overall exhibit.

Naturally, I would be drawn to color, as many of my pieces are lively and colorful.  Instead, I’m challenging myself with not only the lack of color (black), but understanding the dimensions that black can have, and its meaning in the piece.  This is a big challenge for me, as it draws on skills I learned in Ireland, on block-making, and occupational therapy skills of working with thermoplastics.  Truly, this experiment has pushed me and my design and execution confidence.  I would love to show you some shots of the process thus far:

Forming the shape of the top of the hat.  Molding clay is messy, but fun and rather easy to work with.  The hardest part in forming the shape is the even-ness of the hat, and of course, its size.


Once dry, I thought I could manipulate the form a little…aaaaaand I lost half the mold.  No worries though, a little kinesiotape and I was back in form!  Nothing like rummaging through junk drawers to find something to work to hold it together!


The felt.  I’ve had sequins on my floor for a week now.  I truly don’t mind it though!  🙂


Half the thermoplastic blocked.  Next time I will do this in a WELL ventilated room as opening your windows in January in Canada is ridiculous…


And…last.  Me with the structure of the hat on.  I have tried it on several times, to ensure that it will fit the RIGHT model (not me).



I’m having a LOT of fun designing and executing this piece.  I am not making a lot of other hats at the moment, as I seem to be obsessing on this for now.  Indulging and loving it.  I think that is my reward for another great year!

Stay tuned!  I will be posting more shots of the hat soon.