Monica Ruth Consiglio-Wyman

Millinery

 
                              Measuring out some veiling.

                             Measuring out some veiling.

 
 

I love graphic design and all it's intricacies, but another passion of mine is historic fashion/costuming and millinery.  For those who may not know, millinery is the art of making hats. An old millinery how-to book I read while initially learning the subject stated that a hat should look as if all its components gracefully fell in place. That bit of info made me fall in love with the trade, and still resonates with me years later. I keep in the back of my mind every time I'm trimming a piece.

That quote is very telling, however, and makes one realize that the art of millinery has parallels with graphic design: taking the essence of something and creating something beautiful - sometimes with discipline.  In addition, creating a hat uses the same ideas as design: cognizance of the negative space, form/shape, scale, color, etc.  It's easy to slam a lot of visual information into a logo, or pile trimmings on a hat; but the most successful designs are those that are understated yet sophisticated. Think of the IBM logo and Jackie O's pillbox hat; both designs that have held up for decades.

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After years of pondering whether I should open an Etsy shop selling hair accessories, I finally took the plunge and did so in 2013. I taught myself the old trade by reading many vintage books on the subject, deconstructing old hats, and playing trial-and-error with fabric manipulation. Hat making is half crafting something beautiful, and half engineering. 

My favorite eras are the 18th century (specifically 1750-1790), the couture styles of the 1950's (Dior's New Look), and Victorian mourning fashion. I also have a place in my heart for bats, bones, and coffins!
Most of the pieces I craft feature vintage or antique elements such as beads, veiling, and flowers. Using vintage elements takes me back in time and most important of all, puts 'a new use to the old'.

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If you want more info on Across Lots and I, take a peek at this interview I did in 2016 with Cats Like Us, a local retro shop: https://catslikeus.com/blogs/blog/what-is-across-lots-adornments

If you want to work with me on a customized piece, please don't hesitate to contact me! You can shoot me an email at monicaruthcw@gmail.com.

 
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