Over the last six months Luton has been celebrating the Year of the
Artist with an exciting millinery project emphasising the town’s
role as the centre of the British hat trade.
The project has been organised by Luton Borough Council
Museums and Arts Service and supported by a grant from East England
For the ‘celebrity’ side of the project, milliners Sharon Morgan and
Dagmara Childs created
a collection of hats for singer Faye Tozer of the chart-topping
group STEPS. A recent
photo shoot resulted in some stunning pictures of Faye wearing her
new hats, and we hope that they will soon feature in some leading
fashion and music magazines. The milliners drew inspiration from the archive collections
at Luton Museum and also benefited from a work placement with local
hat manufacturer J Albert and Co., which enabled them to improve
their knowledge of the industry.
The ‘community’ side of the project has seen milliner Caroline
Morris leading a series of hat making workshops for elderly people. Participants
were drawn from five Luton residential homes and a day centre.
After creating design storyboards they learned to make
artificial flowers which they used to decorate a number of hats. A number of people had formerly worked in the hat trade and
they were able to tackle more demanding tasks and revive old skills
and memories. To round
off the project, Caroline Morris gave a millinery demonstration at
Luton Museum which attracted several hundred visitors.
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