Friday, December 30, 2011

Featured Crafter: Kathryn Myers {Year of the Milliner}

Why did you choose to pursue hat making?

I have always been fascinated and a little in love with hats. "Hat" was one of my first words. Appropriately, "I'll do it myself was my first sentence." I have always spurned the current trend of ultra-casualness. Why are people wearing their PAJAMAS outside? Up until as late as the 1950's MOST people who were outside of their homes were wearing hats on their heads. I want to see this trend return. I believe that a large part of the unravelling of social interactions is that we don't try to look as though we are making an effort when we meet one another.

What materials do you prefer and why?

Well, my first hats were based around the idea of military garrison caps (AKA "cunt caps"). They are a beautiful and universal form. I would trick these out with all kinds of feathers and trinkets that I had been collecting since I was a teenager. Feathers and Vintage buttons. Veiling and chains.

Then I started to get REALLY into the dead animal stuff...I always had a fascination with the hides, bones and skulls of animals. I found a man who had faces and tails from various animals. I found a tooth dealer. This became my second style. I learned more about hat forms. Currently I am very into fox faces and buckram as the form. I love rhinestones and embroidery floss.

What is your process like?

It isn't always real easy. I spent 8 months traveling an epic journey to find a new home (from Oakland, CA) and a lot of my hats were made in the back of my '87 Subaru station wagon or in my gracious friends' living spaces. A lot of my process is in my head, trying to work it out before I actually use my resources. A lot of times I'll go to sleep with a hat obstacle in my mind and dream the answer. Weird, but true.

What do you hope to achieve with your work (professionally and personally)?

Well, originally I was just trying to make some hats to impress a girl. She was impressed and supportive. We don't talk now, but it got me going. Made me realize how passionate I was about all this. I just want to continue to make pieces that blow my mind; that I am proud to wear and see others wear. I want to to become better at my craft. Millinery is like taxidermy... real hard to find heroes, harder to find mentors. It's a lot of figuring your own game out.

What advice (if any) do you have for other aspiring artists/crafters?

Fuck DIY. DIT (do it together). I think we forget that this is how we keep craft alive. Learn from one another.

Do you consider yourself an "indie artist/crafter"? Why/why not?

Eh, i guess. That means "poor," right?

Are you originally from Baltimore?

Nah, but I love it here. It took a long time traveling to figure out this was the next spot that I would call home, and I am real glad I did.

Some little tidbit about you that most people don't know.

I'm a pretty nice, normal lady. You know, the whole bark vs. bite thing. Um, also I can fit my entire fist in my mouth.

Wanna see more? Visit Year of Milliner on Facebook.

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