Exploring the Potential: vegan leather

One of the most interesting things I did in 2017 was a project with Jane Wood, a textile technologist from Manchester Metropolitan University. Jane’s research concerns the development of sustainable bio-fabrics and I got the opportunity to experiment with sheets of vegetable leather she had grown in vats of kombucha tea.

It was so exciting to be working with a new material particularly because it is grown and therefore has a very low environmental impact in its manufacture. Not only is 100% bio-degradable but can also ‘come back to life’ if submerged back in the vat and fed!

I happily spent hours applying the principals of millinery; steaming, stretching and blocking to see how this wonder fabric behaved. Out of this a workshop session was born and we offered the general public the chance to have a go at Hat Works Museum as part of Manchester Science Festival. And the participants did not disappoint! They really embraced the element of play to explore exactly how this fabric could be manipulated and created some amazing sculptural headpieces and brooches.

The general feeling among the milliners who attended was that this fabric definitely has potential as an alternative to traditional millinery materials – I can’t wait to do more on this.

Follow Jane on Twitter: @fashfutures

 

 

Sharing Hatting Success – Part 2

So following on from my post earlier this week, I wanted to mention the first ‘Hat Share’ hosted by Hat Works Museum of Hatting that took place last Saturday. This was a celebration of the achievements of all the people who have undertaken a millinery course at the museum in the last year. It was a great way to finish off the ‘school’ year and say thanks to our tutors Lorna Young, Marie Thornton and Sue Carter who have given so much of their creative energy to the programme since it began 2 years ago.

Over 90 people have undertaken a  course at the museum in that time – myself included. They offer a mixture of evening classes and weekend courses as well as Open Blocking where you can use the hat blocks and work room for the day. You can read a great write of of the Open Blocking sessions here by Sohpie of Imogen’s Imagination. The event also launched the new programme starting in September which has been inspired by style icons.

Everyone was invited to bring along a selection of hats they have made using their new found skills and an impromptu exhibition was created. It was fantastic to see how everyone is developing their own style and experimenting with the techniques they have learned at the museum.

It was great talking hats over a glass of fizz! Hopefully this will be an annual event!